Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Long Player with D.R. Adams: Galaxian 2 Handheld, New York City

Long PlayerYou and I, we aren't from here. I know I am not anyway and if this whole universe including me turns out to be a harsh game, well, consider my imagined heart crushed and my fictional breath taken totally away. What a beautifully cruel thing of unimaginable definition and color this place is. What incredible aberrations; what perfect anomalies. I sure as hell don't know what the fuck I am doing here and I am quite certain that you don't either. In fact, I can't recall the nothing I was before. I wonder what the nothing will feel like later. That's how I can do whatever it is that I do and not give a rat's ass, not really, what someone else thinks. That said, I was wrong about Galaxian. I managed to find the handheld of Galaxian (2) and well, it is kind of great in all its simplicity. Like the color blue. Like pizza. Like laughing.

SDFJKLSDFLK:JKLS:DF(Above: your correspondent, at JFK.)

Handheld Video Games were the shit when I was in middle school. They were an almost impossible thing to hide in my day and there was many a backpack modified behind a pawn shop or a 7-Eleven in hopes of silencing the bleeping LCD screens in order for in-class game play. Handheld video games were to us back then what Twitter is now, I guess. Only it had nothing to do with other people really and it was more electronics designed for improving your capacity to handle a version of galactic stress. In other words it was nothing like anything at all including twittering or the internet.


I need coffee. Sometimes I ask myself these questions like, "WTF am I doing writing a column I mean I don't have any business writing a column I mean what am I doing trying to go crazy oh yeah maybe I am crazy ha ha ha ha ha" then it just keeps on going like that for a long time "ha ha ha ha ha." Not really.

TAKE IT BACKFrogger, Q-bert and Super Mario eventually followed the Pac-Man/Mrs. Pac-Man console-type video games. They weren't all that much smaller but they were cool. I am pretty sure they ran on C Batteries which was a bummer if you lived far away from a hardware store or weren't tight with your Grandparents. Grandparents always have too many batteries and tons of C Batteries "just in case." What was all that "just in case" stuff? Zombies? HARDLY! They were worried about space critters just like in Galaxian. They prolly remember listening to the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds or knew someone who did. Space critters are problem. Hey maybe the bedbug infestation in NYC is really space critters. Either way you should pull up your jeans cuffs, fashion people on your week. Or maybe you don't wear jeans?

Like handheld games, I am becoming outmoded. I am like an old rustic garden spot, I only respond to love and maybe I am just too out of the way to even be gratified. Either way, who cares. This whole column is probably about my feelings, my metaphorical galactic battle-zone, the ultimate handheld game.


I found these few handhelds at VideogamesNewYork on a tiny stretch of sidewalk on 6th Street. Just across the alleyway that runs behind that new futureshock building I could hear the rumblings of folks falling out of McSorley's. Oh me! The store is packed with tons of old Nintendo and out-of-stock games. They carry used new stuff too. I found my handhelds on the second aisle all the way in back next to an amazing Voltex LCD screened system which they more than happily plugged in for me. RockBand (some weirdo new game where you press buttons of fake instruments) was on and the imaginary Beatles were on that thing. Some kid made a rude joke about one of the members of that band and nobody laughed but nobody cared either. Most people in a game store are out of touch with their feelings or have too many. Or maybe that is everybody, or maybe everybody is well-adjusted. How should I know?


This city does not have a metallic heart and it does not beat for me-only I imagined that in my swollen hands, beating away the night letters. Those keys opened no doors but to my own desperate need to belong. What a stranger a young man can be to his own dreams. This was me, always.

Handheld games are for people on the go and if you look around you should be able to find some shops, arcade-related-or just places that carry outmoded electronics that can be classic gaming. Even On The Go, we are, as DIO has said we are, "Hungry for Heaven." But remember, only a scuba-instructing minister can be a Holy Diver.

The Shit: RATS [© The Shit / Ryan Adams, 1' 24"]

P.S. Danzig.

Previously: Tron, 1982 (Bally Midway)

David Ryan Adams is a musician, writer, and visual artist. A one time plumber and Hardee's employee, his new collection of original paintings will debut at the Morrison Hotel Gallery's Bowery space on September 23. The gallery will also be featuring a new series of works for auction, with the proceeds going to benefit the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. His second book of poetry, Hello Sunshine, hits the shelves this fall. You can find him in the B.C. Rich section of most guitar stores. He is amazing and much taller and far more handsome in person. Also, he has a new record label all his own, Pax-Americana.

39 Comments / Post A Comment

Bittersweet (#765)

Do they still make C batteries? I never see them at CVS or Costco.

Love 'Rats,' especially how you rhymed 'cats' with 'crap.'

TableNine (#1,104)

No mention of Nintendo's Game & Watch? Outrageous! I still remember the stratospheric rise in popularity I experienced the day I got my Mario's Cement Factory.

Baboleen (#1,430)

R.A. You are such a delight to hear and read. I know that is an old-fashioned word, but it fits. You amuse, confuse, anger, inspire, uplift, and commisurate. What else can one ask of a writer? You are doing what you're doing because this is where you are supposed to be (in the moment!) I hope your event at NYPL is on U-Tube or somewhere. I once was a teacher, and with or without hidden video games or other challenges, I imagine you would have been a very interesting student. Keep it simple.

After that thought-provoking aside on bedbugs possibly being space critters, I am never sporting pants cuffs again.

the_coffeegirl (#1,660)

I nearly stepped on a dead rat this morning on my way to the bus. Grossed me out.
As to C batteries,Bittersweet, you can get them at the dollar store, 4 pack for a dollar. I probably have them in my kitchen drawer since I stocked up in case of zombies – I either got C or D for flashlights and bought waaaay too many. If you don't find them at the dollar store, however, it is likely that the local adult bookstore has C batteries at inflated prices…

SuspendedBelief (#1,371)

I loved this column. 'Rats' was fun to play several times until my boss came into the office. Ah, Q-Bert.
The C batteries and grandparents thing–so true–must've been about flashlights. Mine were very big on having working flashlights. I never saw them use one, though. Hope your NY jaunt/painting is going well.
Thanks for brightening up the day.

Is that a handheld Defender game? I WANT ONE!

I'd probably break it when I hit the "smart bomb" button though. On the arcade version, I'd smack that button with a lot of force.

ratsonparade (#1,433)

ZOMG! I had a Mickey Mouse handheld game when *I* was a kid! Funny how you just skipped over that one. Where you have to balance on a ball and move to the right and the left to catch a baton? Yeah, that's the one.

That said, I'm totally checking out that place on 6th while I'm there next week! I don't recall seeing it in my eat. shop. book but maybe it was just an oversight.

Oh, and I personally am rather sick of the 'Rats' song. I was offended (not really) the first time you posted it, and I'm just as offended (not really) now. I happen to like rats. Kind of. Okay, so squirrels are better, but you know, they're like rats, only with furry tails. Mayhaps you should take on a song about squirrels next. I would definitely appreciate that one.

You're not the only one full of nonsense.

theDRA (#1,108)

yes but I get larger print- see ( column)

HiredGoons (#603)

I assume you'll be hitting up Barcade in Williamsburg whil'st in NY? I would challenge you to a game of Pac Man.

Baboleen (#1,430)

Put your library interview on Fuzzy!

Baboleen (#1,430)

I mean Foggy. Fuzzy-Foggy, you get my point.

M.R.Roboto (#1,436)

Suddenly I'm feeling all existential all over.

TTroncone (#1,662)
theDRA (#1,108)

suckerpunched. old news. Danzig still ruling mortal plane

angieshu (#1,544)

When I was younger I had the old hand held arcade looking Pac Man and Frogger games… Wish I would have kept those.
Love the Rats!!

So Defender is next up, I hope?

Because there are mere arcade games, and then there is … Defender.

One Game to rule them all
One Game to find them
One Game to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them

ddgabes (#1,429)

Mattel Electronic Football

Mattel Electronic Football II

ddgabes (#1,429)

Ahhh, yes. With the added option of being able to run in any direction. CLASSIC. I want one…NOW!

CMHarris (#1,663)

I had Galaxian2! I begged my parents for this for Xmas and they didn't want to buy it for me because it wasn't girly enough. But I broke them down. Sure enough, I would dress up as Han Solo and run around with my laser pistol. When it came time to fight the empire I would hunker down in my closet (?) and go to war with my Galaxian handheld.

OMG how pathetic.

Good game though.

HiredGoons (#603)

"I would hunker down in my closet (?) and go to war with my Galaxian handheld."

Adolescence is a troubling time.

mgmt. (#1,497)

sometimes i find those handheld games at monk thrift store on ave. A. since you're in NY, you should check there. like most stuff there though, it's prob. a little broken.

Hez (#147)

"Most people in a game store are out of touch with their feelings or have too many" is a sentence positively frothing at the mouth with insight… it's practically Cujo. Also, I will be using "fashion people on your week," because it reminds me of being "on" one's period, and, well, look at THAT fucking love connection right there.

theDRA (#1,108)

total smartness

Mullen (#1,672)

Unreadable. Who gave this self obsessed man-child his own column?

Alex Balk (#4)

Oooh, I can answer that! Me!

etsryan (#1,501)

where is yours?

Risen Lord Jesus' Peace!
e.t./sue > *:D (: +

theDRA (#1,108)

YAY! A + You can do it Mullen, YOU CAN FLY!!! : )

theDRA (#1,108)

Fell Better Soon

Tyais (#1,604)

…."I am like an old rustic garden spot, I only respond to love and maybe I am just too out of the way to even be gratified. Either way, who cares…."
ahhhhh …..feel that. I wish I had the writing eloquence to say in a "smart" way how great it is that you exist in my harsh game…. glad you're here…gush..gush..gush…ha!

glitterufo (#1,533)

man, that black & white pic up there of the game that's sorta shaped like a spaceship… i had that game in like '80 or '81. i still remember the smell of it. did you actually find that one or is that just a pic?

theDRA (#1,108)

got it. its horrid, love it so much, makes noise too. RUFF

glitterufo (#1,533)

dude, i will trade you an awesome kix t-shirt for it. plus i'll copy glenn danzig's "less than zero" for ya. seriously…..

fairest (#413)

Come pick me up
Fuck me up
Sleep with my friends
Steal my Galaxian (2)

allmyfriends77 (#1,659)

I don't know if you played those handheld football games but I was totally into that one made by Mattel. Basic functions, up and down, left, right. just had to get by those little lines.

Remember those handheld, almost looked like a full size pac-man game you see at the arcade? I was a pinball guy. Favorite hands down is Frank Thomas pinball. Loved collecting those baseball cards in the game. Then there was this one pinball game about magic. It might of been called "Magic". You had to break the box open with the ball. It had some magnets in it to hold the ball in place. I use to ride my bike to the mall to play pinball. I would spend all my money playing pinball at the arcade. I miss those days.

OldBillyBaroo (#1,697)

"That’s how I can do whatever it is that I do and not give a rat's ass, not really, what someone else thinks."

I disagree.

/Jim DeRogatis

toadvine (#1,698)

"Ain't no use in complainin'
When you got a job to do
Spent my evenin's down at the drive-in
And that's when I met you yeah

Standin' on your Mama's porch
You told me that you'd wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of 69"

He said, earnestly.

WiLL1975 (#2,741)

Man, I wish I knew about this column before I went to NY! I SO would have checked out that place on 6th! I regret that as much as NOT going to Frank's on 2nd! That Galaxian game looks so familiar, I think one of my friends had that.

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