What generation of gamer are you?

You remember when hardware expansion was VERY literal

Buying a new console every time you want more power? Wasteful. Wasteful and lazy. Back then you could slowly evolve your machine into a next-gen rig with a few small hardware additions, minimal fuss and only a modest amount of scaffolding.

You're a... Gaming grown-up

You hit gaming during the tail-end of the first-wave, just as 2D was being polished to perfection. You appreciate the sparkle of the HD generation as being the modern equivalent of the slick, creative, colour-drenched 16-bit era. You're sad about the current fate of the Wii U, but secretly glad that it did at least launch with the Super Mario World sequel you've been waiting for since 1990 (whatever Nintendo decided to call it).

It's got to be you soon, right?

You remember when DRM was a physical object

To obtain the code necessary to load this game, rotate the enclosed riddle wheel to the correct answer to the question on page 47 of the manual. Turn over the wheel and record the co-ordinates displayed. Travel to these co-ordinates with the enclosed sundial. Face north at 2:57PM. Record the code word indicated by the shadow on the sundial. Return to your computer and enter the code. Press play on your tape deck.

You know that the most important hardware maintenance tool is your own lungs

The Xbox 360 overheating problem would have been fixed overnight if everyone had remembered to blow on their consoles. Noobs.

You understand how to fix a software failure with one of these

The pencil was the original software patch. Game refusing to function? Never mind hacks, mods or POKEs. Just insert your leaden scribing wand into the left-hand spool-hole, rewind the crumpled fun-ribbon and start again. Theres every chance itll probably work.

You refuse to classify any standalone console capable of polygons as retro

Super Mario 64 happened two whole generations after you got into gaming. It changed everything, It was the future pulled into the present, and the foundation of everything that came after. The stuff it did will always have a tinge of impossible dreaming about it, and will thus remain ageless forevermore.

The first time you heard the internet connect, you immediately thought of Manic Miner

To you, that scratchy symphony of clicks and screeches means not the impending might of 56k internet, but something older and unimaginably grimmer. Something ancient. Something primal. The warm, dark stirring of a timelost engine forged by the old gods. The awakening of a dread machine of forgotten legend, a mechanism of indiscriminate pleasure and pain.

Yeah, its basically the sound of a Spectrum loading. Hold your breath. The slightest vibration could bring about the apocalypse.

You're a... Gaming Elder

You probably started out with a NES or a Master system. Alternatively (particularly if you're European), a Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum might have been your first gaming machine of choice. You've seen the entire post-crash games industry birth and grow, and probably view it with a combination of pride at its achievements and curmudgeonly "Kids these days" nostaligia for the simpler, cheaper days.

You probably laughed off Hotline Miami in a weekend and didn't even break a sweat.

This time, surely. We're running out of history

Andy Hartup