I’m a child of the eighties, and it was as amazing as it seemed living in those times. What a time to grow up! I was seven when Star Wars came out. I was ten when Empire Strikes Back was in theaters. I was eleven when Indiana Jones was released and thirteen when I saw Return of the Jedi. I was fourteen when I fell in love with Ghostbusters and fifteen when I watched Goonies and Back To The Future, all of them are in my category of some of the greatest films ever made.
TV was terrific as well. My love of Sci-fi started with my dad because he loved Star Trek, and we would always watch it. I loved to watch The Six Million Dollar Man as a child. When I was eight, Battlestar Gallactica, The Incredible Hulk, and Mork and Mindy TV series launched. The following year it was Buck Rogers. Saturday mornings were filled with HR Puff and Stuff and the fantastic Land Of The Lost. ABC’s Sunday Night Movie and After School Special were always a must, along with The Wonderful World of Disney. My favorite reruns of Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, Batman, Twilight Zone, I Dream of Jeanne, and my favorite The Munsters were always on.
When I was 11, it was The Greatest American Hero, at thirteen Knight Rider was born, and I was all over the ATeam and Amazing Stories each and every week. I loved it when my dad would let me stay up and watch late-night prehistoric fantasy films on TV like One Million Years BC, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, and Creatures The World Forgot. I loved the dinosaurs but also loved the women that were half naked running around. My dad would always fall asleep, and sometimes The Benny Hill show from England would come on, and you were guaranteed to see a girl in her underwear every time you watched. It was glorious!
Who couldn’t forget all of Tom and Jerry’s cartoons, The Roadrunner, The Flinstones, The Jetsons, Looney Tunes, Heman and The Master Of The Universe, The Transformers, Inspector Gadget, Scooby and Scrappy-Doo, and the classic Fat Albert.
The one cultural phenomenon that has stuck with me more than anything from the eighties is the wonderful world of video games. I played Pong on our TV when I was five. I grew up with video games. I remember going to the FV roller skating rink and playing Missile Command, Asteroids, and PacMan. Then arcade games were put in the liquor stores. I remember when Tempest showed up one day. I played a game and had to play more. I rode my bike home, and mom put her purse in a cabinet in the kitchen. I went to it, took out one quarter, and went and played. I needed to play again, went, and got two quarters this time. I still needed to play more, came back, and took more quarters. The next day I got in trouble as she realized all of her quarters were gone.
When I was seven, the Atari 2600 came out as a home console, and it changed everything. All my friends had it, so I would play with them at their house all of the time. I got the Bally Astrocade when I was eight. It came with cartridges, but it was a mini-computer as well. You could program your own games with Basic. They had game cards with what you need to enter to program a game. It was kind of cool, but it didn’t have a full keyboard, just a number pad, so it took a long time to program a game to play, if you didn’t have the cartridge. When I was ten, I was playing Intellivision at my friend’s houses all the time. Nintendo came out when I was fifteen, Kennie Orris and I wasted a lot of hours in his room playing “Punch-Out” and “Tecmo Bowl!” I mentioned I had the first Nintendo Game Boy with me when I went to combat. I played a lot of “Super Mario Land” on that war float! Before we had kids, we always had a “Game Boy,” and I would game a little on the PC.
In my early twenties the first-person shooter PC game “Doom” came out, and that changed everything. A similar shooter game came out that I really loved called “Duke Nukem 3D” in 1996 when I was twenty-six. I loved it so much because it was the first multiplayer game that I could play with someone in separate homes over the phone line. When my friend Brian was in med school, we would call each other late at night, then call each other back with a modem connection on the computer. We spent hours late into the night doing one-on-one matches, trying to kill each other.
All good times until Kymbry would wake up without me by her side and come yell at me like I was doing something wrong. When we started having kids, we had every new version of the Nintendo, Playstation, and Xbox game consoles. I was like a kid in a candy store. I played video games with my kids all the time! When I was thirty-three, “Call of Duty” came out on XBOX, and it was another game-changer. It was like playing in the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” It was therapeutic to me for some reason. When the kids went to bed, I would play, and for the past seventeen years, I play almost every night for a least one or two games or longer. I mostly just play Multiplayer – Hardcore, where I’m going against people just like me, and we are fighting each other in real-time.
When I was twenty-four, I started playing Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games on the computer. It’s like playing “Sim-City,” but you build up your city and army by mining, and when your army is big enough, you attack the enemy. I started playing Blizzard’s RTS “Warcraft” before World of Warcraft (WOW) even existed. Then “Command and Conquer” and Blizzard’s “Starcraft” RTS’s came out when I was twenty-eight. When I was forty, “Starcraft 2” came out, and it was a game-changer for me. You could play with other people just like you in real-time. It’s a strategy game, so you really have to think about defending and attacking while mining for resources to continue funding your army. It’s a futuristic version of chess with a lot more action. I’m a Gold Starcraft 2 player and play a few times a week.
I’m a gamer, and I love to game. In fact, my whole family loves to game. On Sunday evenings or holidays, you would often find the entire Munck family at “Howies Game Shack,” all seven of us lined up in a row with each other. Laughing, shouting, and screaming as we play “Team Fortress 2”, “Killing Floor 2”, “Day Of Defeat,” and “Gary’s Mod.” The family that prays & games together stays together! Howies is no longer around, and my family is seriously bummed. So the next project is to convert our garage into “Muncky’s Game Shack!” Don’t judge me, like your hobby is better than mine?
Maybe you’re not a gamer, but what random things do you do in your life that occupy more time than you care to admit?
However awesome your hobby is, it does not provide sustainable joy, it is not the meaning of life. The brilliant Blaise Pascal who was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer said it best:
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”
From personal experience, I can say we spend a lot of time trying to fill the void in our lives with stuff that can only be filled with a relationship with God. Of all of the voices in our culture today, I lean on the words of Jesus the most. Here is what He has to say on the matter.
Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:7-14 NLT
Jesus offers us something better than any game, movie, sport, or hobby. His words are the truth we can put our life and trust in!
*For more crazy stories about my life please read The Guide: Survival, Warfighting, Peacemaking.