Porn Before the Internet: Amiga Adult Games and VCRs | Fanboys Anonymous

Porn Before the Internet: Amiga Adult Games and VCRs

Posted by Graham Roberts Sunday, July 13, 2014
video game Centerfold Squares models
The gateway to pixelated pubescent puerility,
or total and utter disappointment
Do you remember the days before the Internet but after the advent of the home computer—the days when debating about whether the Spectrum was better than the Commodore 64 seemed like a cause you would lay your life on the line for? If so, you will probably remember the wrath of the uninitiated and ill-informed (our parents) when the Internet became a viable prospect in the home.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember conversations being had in the media and across garden fences about how the Internet was both a dangerous and divisive thing, a porn addled wasteland that would corrupt the youth of today (well yesterday) if they so much as looked at it. The Lawnmower Man had just gone on general release, and I believe that this in no small way contributed to this warped view: The Internet was real and alive; it was like HAL. The X Files was airing on BBC 1 and everything was all a big conspiracy.

The thing is, I remember the 20th Century P.I. (pre-Internet), and those were not innocent times for my friends and me. We weren't monsters; we did not go around wielding baseball bats or running across the roofs of New York City like those pesky kids in The Warriors. No, our corruption was all rather more pixelated than that. You see, P.I. was the time when my friends and I used clunky RM networked PCs with no Internet access or Acorn Archimedes machines at school. At home (or at the homes of any number of my friends), we used the Amiga. Most of the time, we played games like Stunt Car Racer and boasted (read: lied) about how far we had gotten on The Secret of Monkey Island. However, when swapping disks and stories of this nature got a little boring, we went on the search for a new adventure…

old video recording equipment Ferguson Videostar unit
This could survive a nuclear holocaust
and came equipped with a
porn insertion early warning siren
disguised as a noisy rewind mechanism.
Now, here is where I make a logical assumption (based upon the fact that most of my friends' dads had these so why not the rest of the UK; that's how most surveys work anyway). For some reason, the years immediately P.I. were also the years in which bed manufacturers decided to offer underbed storage of the most ridiculous nature. Alas, instead of having simple pull out drawers in which to store your "clothes," most double beds came with a lift-and-prop solution. The owner would have to lift the board that held the mattress and bed linens to a 45-degree angle until a spring clicked into place, revealing a cornucopia of clothes, old shoes, and—yep, you guessed it—porn magazines. You know, the ones mum wasn't supposed to know about. The manufacturers of these beds must have been having a laugh at the expense of all the dads in suburban England, in much the same way as the maker of the noisy top-loading Ferguson Videostar VCR player laughed at the generation of teenage lads before us—as Peter Kay epitomizes in his stand-up routines. Essentially, whenever dad lifted up the bed to gain access to his "clothes," the ratchet spring let out an almighty "clunk/dong," the duvet and mattress slid off the bed, and dear Papa would be caught with one hand stuck in the spring mechanism and the other clutching a copy of Razzle. Thus, the only time that one could feel safe cracking open this Pandora's box of porno delights was when nobody else was in the house.

I cannot remember exactly how my friends and I became interested in the underbed storage areas of our collective parents' bedrooms. I seem to vaguely recall that one of my friends said that he had been in his parents' room and happened to see a magazine of that nature hidden down the side of the bed (note, not in the storage space defined above). This led to feigned revulsion from everyone else in our group—"No way would my dad have such things in his possession!"—followed by us parting ways much like the Secret Seven a few hours before a big adventure. However, instead of Seven Catch a Thief, "Individual Children Looked Under their Parents' Beds" would be an apt title if ever a book recounting such an adventure were to be penned (Enid Blyton must be turning in her grave). In any case, this led us to find large caches of adult videos and magazines as well as something else, something new. Thanks to our discoveries, many teenage boys in a semi-rural town in the South East of England never looked at their Amigas in the same way again. Also, never would there be such an aptly named disk duplication program made as X Copy

how to store things under your bed frame mattress
Dad's nemesis. First the Videostar, now this?
When was the world going to give him a break?
In one of the underbed storage cavities, there was a rather innocent-looking disk. However, its saintly white color (unadorned by any label or ornament), belied its true contents. We (as all of the male student population of our school were soon to discover) had found Centerfold Squares, a game in which—you guessed right—you match pixelated picture cards of naked women. In hindsight, why we found this at all titillating is now beyond me. If memory serves, these pictures were far worse than the FMV footage found on a Mega CD game. However, I think the fact that this was considered "forbidden" or "contraband" provided half the thrill. Either way, that is not the point. The point is, some 3 years prior to the Internet going…err…viral, we were corrupting our fragile little minds with relative ease. Food for thought the next time someone decides to wax lyrical about the next game or app that is derided as "certain to cause anarchy in the UK."

Does anyone else have such fond memories of this time? If so, please feel free to leave a comment below.
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY A GUEST WRITER

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