Are All Actuaries Nerds?

By Alan Stone • January 18, 2017 • 0 Comments
I have played golf since I used to take the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn with my clubs in the early 1990s. My handicap is that I am not athletic (I have a 28 handicap, not too good) but always a very yoga-ish, zen time while playing (so I enjoy that). I was playing two or three times a week (hmm, wonder what caused my shoulder to pop out again – that original injury was from a ’95 skydiving accident). 
I had been nursing an obsession with a 1980s arcade game, Robotron 2084, and had been researching where to either buy one or have someone build one for me, and even got kicked off eBay for not paying after confirming a purchase (I decided driving 300 miles with a bad arm to pick it up was a bad idea). I finally found a perfect replication via a video game console, PS3. Robotron came out in the early '80s – it was a rare two-joystick game that I played in the Time Out Arcade at a Long Island mall – one for moving, one for shooting. Ever since 1995 when they started closing the arcades in Times Square, and they sold the nearest Robotron for $1,000 – I wished I had bought it. In the meantime – they now have full size arcade games with 300 old games on them, as well as people who can build a mini-console that hooks up to your TV (with old games). But those are about $1,000-$2,500.
Funny enough, in my Robotron research I came across “‘Robotron: 2084:’ Tribute to the greatest video game of all time,” a 2014 article (updated in July 2016) from a San Francisco newspaper (the Robotron creator was giving a speech there).
From a financial perspective, buying one makes a little less sense than buying a handful of magic beans, or a 1981 Fiat Spider. The repair bills for the Spider alone would require a second job – a conundrum, because that job would seriously cut into my time playing Robotron.

Robotron is, with no hesitation, the greatest video game that I’ve ever played. It is the “Exile on Main Street” and “The Godfather, Part II” of its industry, capable not only of providing me with continued enjoyment over two-thirds of a lifetime, but also ruining for me much of the inferior output that came afterward. I have gotten to play Robotrons 2084 occasionally through the years (at a Disney World gift shop, a hipster retro arcade bar where you drink and play ’80s games, and the Museum of Moving Image).
It was actually just two weeks ago that I saw an ad for a PlayStation3 that had retro arcade games. So I just got it for $150 (the used game itself was probably $5). Now instead of watching TV, I listen to TV while I play Robotron. And perhaps the OCD is starting to kick in. But it is a perfect replica. And like other things I obsess about, I am not allowed to talk to my girlfriend (of 10 years) about Robotron.

…I hope this post does not wind up at my competency hearing.