On Old-Time Video Games

In 1982, my grandfather gave my family an Atari 2600, along with a half-dozen games (like Pac-Man, Combat, and a few others).

It was my first video game system. It’s still around, in the attic of my sister’s house, along with a bunch of games, some of which work, some of which don’t.

About the same time, we got our first computer — a Timex/Sinclair 1000, though that may have been a year earlier. It was an interesting, though rather useless, computer. Using books of BASIC programs, I keyed a few games into the system and saved them to cassette, games like Wumpus. I remember a bowling game, too, which I tried to interest my (other) grandfather in one day, though he wasn’t especially interested. We bought a pre-recorded game for the T/S-1000 — Frogger — though I only ever got it to work maybe twice. That was the problem with cassette storage, it didn’t always work.

Cassette storage vexed me with the next system I had — a TRS-80 Color Computer 2. (This one is also in my sister’s attic.)

What was the first game I played on a computer or a video game console? I don’t know, it was so long ago. I know I played Wumpus and Wumpus 2 on those early computers. I keyed in David Ahl’s “Super Star Trek” on the CoCo, as well. At times, I miss those long ago days; there was something fun about keying a program by hand into a BASIC interpreter and seeing what it did. 🙂 Hopefully, the end result would be worth it. 🙂

I loved Combat on the 2600, especially the later levels where you could fly jets or biplanes. Especially the biplanes. I also loved the tank levels, especially with the shells that bounced, because they would bounce everywhere. And I have a great fondness for the Atari 2600 Pac-Man.

In this age of Windows and Linux and the World Wide Web, those 8-bit (or less!) days seem on occasion like such a simpler, yet more fulfilling, time.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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