• Graeme Mason

Life As A Retro Gamer: David Lyne

Whether it’s the high score tables, challenges, or just forming friendships, Antstream Arcade is all about community and bringing gamers, both young and old, together. With our carefully-curated selection of retro classics as the starting point, there’s a whole new virtual neighbourhood at the heart of what we do. For our latest gamer profile, we present David Lyne, known as CharlieFar on Antstream Arcade. David is a world record holder and one of our exceptional elite gamers on Antstream Arcade – why not friend him up, and throw a challenge his way – if you dare!

Bio


Name: David Lyne


Age: 51


Antstream Arcade Handle:

CharlieFar


First Gaming Love:

Galaxian


Favourite Games on Antstream:

Uridium, Joust, Manic Miner and Asteroids


Favourite Challenge on Antstream:

Any single-life challenges, particularly Galaga, Asteroids and Joust




CharlieFar Falls In Love (with videogames)


Despite a love of arcade games – which we’ll come to shortly – David’s earliest and fondest memories belong to home consoles and computers. “My very first console was a second-hand Acetronic with half a dozen games,” he begins.


“All the games were blatant rip-offs of Atari classics, but I didn’t care one iota!” Like many excitable new gaming fans at the time, the mere realisation that you could interact with the TV rather than just passively watch inspired David. “We take videogaming for granted today, but it was an absolutely mind-blowing concept at the time.” The Acetronic’s games were blocky and aurally sparse – and expensive. “£20 plus in 1980!” exclaims David. “So it was eventually upgraded to a VIC-20 computer, and I’ve been a bit of a Commodore fanboy ever since.”


CharlieFar Fanboy


Despite a love for his VIC-20, its follow-up, the Commodore 64 is the computer that David holds a special affection for today, as he explains. “It was built with gaming in mind – hardware scrolling and sprites made smooth gameplay a reality. Then there was the SID sound chip which pretty much eclipsed everything around it.” David received his first C64 for Christmas in 1984. “I went with my mum to buy it as she didn’t know anything about computers – except for it helping with my homework,” he grins. “I don’t remember the shop, but I do recall that all the computers and games were in glass cabinets like they were priceless jewels!” David was permitted three games to go with his new computer but then had to endure a torturous wait until Christmas Day to play early classics such as Omega Race.



CharlieFar On The Spot


With many C64 games on Antstream Arcade, we impishly ask David to name his five favourites. “I shouldn’t like Bounder as it’s a brutally unfair game,” he reveals, “but it’s really good fun. Andrew Braybrook is a coding genius, so Uridium, which was essentially like having an arcade machine in your bedroom. My love of Llamasoft games started out on the VIC-20, but it was on the C64 that Jeff Minter really hit his stride with Sheep in Space. Spindizzy is a terrific open-world isometric game, and finally, I’m a big fan of fixed shooter arcade games, and Galencia is a class act with stunning presentation.”



CharlieFar Away


But like many gamers of David’s – ahem – vintage, the arcades were blissfully exciting places as he grew up. “We went camping in North Wales every summer holiday,” he says. “And we’d make a few day trips into the nearest town, Pwllheli. While my family browsed the local market, I was in my element with a pocket full of ten pence pieces.” Rather cleverly, David often watched someone else play a game first to avoid making the same mistakes. “That didn’t always go to plan,” he laughs, “but some of the games from there are still favourites of mine today: Up ‘n’ Down, Commando, 1942 and Tiger Heli, to name but a few.”


CharlieFar Fantastic


David is one of our regular top scorers when it comes to arcade games on Antstream Arcade, frequently battling for the top spot with other luminaries such as Ronnie Weston. “I don’t think my reflexes are better than average,” he notes. “I’d say it’s more about having an eye for detail in the enemy behaviours and experimenting with different approaches.” While most arcade games are fast and reaction-based, there’s usually a defined pattern to the enemy attacks. “A good example is R-Type,” explains David. “The enemies spawn in the same places every time – using that knowledge to be in the best screen position can reduce the difficulty significantly.” Sounds easy! “Obviously, that’s easier said than done! In time, though, you’ll find that much of this is converted to muscle memory.”



CharlieFar On Antstream


“I think it’s great as it makes retro gaming far more accessible to many more players. Gone are the hurdles of configuring emulators or buying and maintaining old and unreliable hardware. But I think what really makes it for me are the many fun challenges and tournaments. Some of these make you play in unexpected ways, which breathes new life into classic games.”



CharlieFar on the Future


While David jokes that he’s ‘so old, I’ve played every game before’, he has discovered several new games, including an old C64 favourite at Antstream Arcade HQ. “Tilt is one standout title for me – you have to guide a ball through a maze without touching the walls. Sounds simple, but you don’t move the ball – you tilt the maze!” David suggests including customisable controls and, of course, a certain Namco fixed shooter as future improvements for our service.


You can catch David streaming classic games on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/charliefar.

Our thanks to David for his time – stay tuned for another retro gamer profile soon!


0 views