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(Gamasutra)   Video games turn 40, still living in parents' basement   (gamasutra.com) divider line 101
    More: Hero, home console, first sale, Odyssey, basements, What's My Line?, TV games  
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2293 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Aug 2012 at 5:14 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-30 07:40:15 PM

Nem Wan: Before there was Apple v Samsung there was Atari v North American Philips

In terms of graphics and gameplay, and some original alterations to take advantage of playing at home instead of in an arcade (custom maze builder!), K.C. Munchkin totally owned Atari Pac-Man, and came out several months earlier. But Atari had the license from Namco and used it to crush what was in every way a superior game.

[videogamecritic.net image 150x97]


One of the best games on the o2. Only game I remember besides UFO and the Donkey Kong wannabee failure.
 
2012-08-30 07:45:29 PM
videogamecritic.net

At 6 I did a three hour marathon and wound up with so many extra lives it took two minutes of straight kamikazes to finally get a game over(had to go to church).
 
2012-08-30 07:58:25 PM

Nem Wan: Before there was Apple v Samsung there was Atari v North American Philips

In terms of graphics and gameplay, and some original alterations to take advantage of playing at home instead of in an arcade (custom maze builder!), K.C. Munchkin totally owned Atari Pac-Man, and came out several months earlier. But Atari had the license from Namco and used it to crush what was in every way a superior game.

[videogamecritic.net image 150x97]


God, I used to spend days (it seemed like) programming the mazes in K.C. Munchkin. That game was awesome.
 
2012-08-30 08:11:45 PM
I thought that video games were invented in 1975, by John Videogames.

art.penny-arcade.com

/entered at the $100 level.
 
2012-08-30 08:17:59 PM
www.pinkgorillagames.com

Played this in the local headshop, when it was the only video game out there. Get off my lawn.

/hot
 
2012-08-30 08:35:31 PM
Meh...you kids. My first game 'system' :

t0.gstatic.com

/Still have a Vectrex in the closet
//And a Virtual Boy
///Don't forget the Mattel Handhelds
////Neither of my kids think these toys are fun.
 
2012-08-30 08:36:34 PM

Ed Finnerty: This is what I cut my teeth on.

 

That's right. Controllers molded into the system.

/Hardcore


And the sound was in the console as well. I remember playing the games with the TV off for an extra challenge.
 
2012-08-30 08:43:03 PM
i.imgur.com
i.imgur.com
i.imgur.com

My first home video game. I think I was 5. The game is still fun to me.
 
2012-08-30 08:47:05 PM
www.trs-80.org

What kept me off the streets ca. 1980. Complete with scratchy voice goodness.
 
2012-08-30 08:47:20 PM
fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER

/GIVE ME YOUR MONEY
 
2012-08-30 08:52:08 PM

miss diminutive: [www.atariguide.com image 185x218]
[www.consoleclassix.com image 256x224]

The first game I remember playing. Having three older brothers made this the perfect way to spend rainy summer days.

Three of us would gang up on the oldest and he'd always ragequit

/good times


Preach on, sista! That was a damn satisfying game. Nothing like sliding it in, killing the prince, and the added shame of watching your walls wrecked from the inside, with your ghostly image flickering.
 
2012-08-30 08:56:17 PM

K.B.O. Winston: We had Intellivision on our house growing up. The Dungeons and Dragons game had creepy sound fx. You could hear a snake or dragon before it bit you, but had no way of knowing what direction it was coming from.

I suppose that's why I love sound cues in films/games. You get this shiver of awareness and your first impulse, to look around, is useless.


www.rockpapershotgun.com

Eyes and a lit match, and the ghost of the last owner in a locked mansion. Let's rock until the Twilight Zone theme plays.
 
2012-08-30 09:05:19 PM

spman: Maybe it's just a generational gap, but I grew up with my NES, and I can't see the appeal of the Atari 2600. My parents had a 2600 and I still have one at home with several dozen games, but for me to name even 5 games on the 2600 that hold up in any meaningful sort of way would be quite the challenge.

Perhaps it was simply the case that in the 70's and early 80's it was all anybody had, and it was enjoyable, but even when thinking about it by those terms, I just don't see it. The technological differences between the NES, and everything prior, are huge, and in fact may be the biggest technological leap in the history of home consoles.


I had the 2600. Unlike every other game system I have, I've never been interested in nostalgia gaming atari games. What little fun could be had has better versions of the same simplicity.

Meanwhile even newer action games don't make something like castlevania seem like crap.
 
2012-08-30 09:06:13 PM
Am I the only kid who figured out how the hell to play ET?
 
2012-08-30 09:09:51 PM

Twitch Boy: Am I the only kid who figured out how the hell to play ET?


I also puzzled it out, and thought Raiders of the Lost Ark was not bad.
But did you solve Earthworld or Riddle of the Sphinx?
 
2012-08-30 09:14:34 PM
I feel so young now. This was the first video game I ever played. Haven't put down the controller since. I do recall watching my dad play Ultima on our Commodore 64, and I still have one of the cloth maps on my computer desk.
 
2012-08-30 09:15:16 PM
PISS!

upload.wikimedia.org

Stupid URL.
 
2012-08-30 09:16:10 PM

Pokey.Clyde: Gonad the Ballbarian: i2.photobucket.com

That's the Atari I had! My grandmother got it for me for Christmas, and my mom biatched for months about her getting it for me. I played the hell out of it. I played it for so long that I actually bought games for it at Goodwill.


The wood "paneling" is what made the "a" cooooool!
 
2012-08-30 09:18:01 PM

Fano: Twitch Boy: Am I the only kid who figured out how the hell to play ET?

I also puzzled it out, and thought Raiders of the Lost Ark was not bad.
But did you solve Earthworld or Riddle of the Sphinx?


Didn't have those.

Dad brought home a grocery sack one day with like 70 cartridges, including two ETs, two of that abomination that was Pac-Man, and a bunch of others. This was in 1987 when Atari briefly revived the 2600 as the cheapo alternative to the NES. And I was one of the schmucks who bought a 7800.

/kinda fun being stuck between generations
 
2012-08-30 09:31:49 PM
atari 2600 - sega master system - genesis - playstation - ps2 - psp - ps3

radioshack tandy computer - apple IIgs - apple Mac plus - mac IIfx - powermac 8100 - power computing (mac clone) - compaq pc - windows PC's (various custom builds) windows 98 - 7

brother had nes - snes, cousin had n64
 
2012-08-30 09:43:11 PM

miss diminutive: [www.atariguide.com image 185x218]
[www.consoleclassix.com image 256x224]

The first game I remember playing. Having three older brothers made this the perfect way to spend rainy summer days.

Three of us would gang up on the oldest and he'd always ragequit

/good times


That game was the best multi-player for the 2600. One of the oddities of that game I remember is that you could actually "kill" your own king if you get the "ball" caught behind that shield-thing.
 
2012-08-30 09:58:33 PM
www.gooddealgames.com

The first video game system I ever owned.

/yes, I'm old
/my lawn, kindly remove yourself from it
 
2012-08-30 10:02:50 PM

RoLleRKoaSTeR: miss diminutive: [www.atariguide.com image 185x218]
[www.consoleclassix.com image 256x224]

The first game I remember playing. Having three older brothers made this the perfect way to spend rainy summer days.

Three of us would gang up on the oldest and he'd always ragequit

/good times

That game was the best multi-player for the 2600. One of the oddities of that game I remember is that you could actually "kill" your own king if you get the "ball" caught behind that shield-thing.


Yes! That happened to me more times than I care to count. I think that game caused more fights than anything else we ever played growing up (with the possible exception of Risk, which pretty much turned violent each time and most games ended when someone flipped the board in a rage)
 
2012-08-30 10:24:13 PM

Ego edo infantia cattus: Heh, Guess I'm kind of young by comparison...

[4.bp.blogspot.com image 483x344]

My first love, and still a favorite.


Yes, you are young... I think it's hard to appreciate it without having played the others :)
But it's funny.. the "96 levels" thing on the box is a lie. There are 96 level *endings*. All the red levels and ghost houses have multiple endings. I had all 96 (it shows a star next to the 96 on the title screen) but since, in my adult years, I haven't been able to do it again. It's the damned mole level with the 3 endings that gets me...
 
2012-08-30 10:24:29 PM

KidneyStone: Buncha young whipper snappers in here. I remember going to the arcade and playing electro-mechanical games like this one.

[segaretro.org image 725x600]

/Is Bowcraft still around on Rt 22?



static.gamesradar.com

used to love those "matchbox car on a barrel" driving games
 
2012-08-30 10:28:06 PM
40? Awww crap, you mean I am older than video games?
My 11 year old needs to know this (he can't imagine anyone in the world who doesn't know the complete biography of the nameless Italian plumber from his earliest days an amateur barrel jumper).

oh
csb time

I was chatting games with the boy at the father in law the other week. The boy was amazed as I showed him GIS for Oil Panic and Octopus and that one where Popeye has to catch spinach while rowing a boat, without Bluto punching him in the face. Classic game and watch stuff.
I was bemoaning the death of mine (I took them apart to see how they worked, after which point, they didn't work any more. Still, a skill learned doesn't go to waste. When the boy's DS borked I was able to pull it apart and repair it).
Anyhew, the farther in law looks at me and says "Oh I have all of those in the cupboard at home" Yep, the FIL has Donky Kong and dozens of others all in their original packaging sitting there waiting for me to steal them and put them on ebay. (provided I get down to see him before anyone else hears the same story.

Seriously though, looking forward to having an old school game and watch day (or three) when we fly down in a few months. (another reason I chose well marrying his daughter).
 
2012-08-30 10:40:14 PM

Twitch Boy: [fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net image 850x637]

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER

/GIVE ME YOUR MONEY


Nice, I spent lots of quarters on both of those.
 
2012-08-30 10:46:18 PM
My first non-pong videogame system was the Atari 2600.

I have several 2600 variations and over 350 cartridges. I think the most played cartridge on it now is Paul Slocum's SYNTHCART.

a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

Just made a few sample sets for my Korg MicroSampler using my 2600 as the sound source.
 
2012-08-30 10:52:19 PM
I remember when my mom bought me my Atari 2600. It was the greatest day of my pre 10 year old life. I didn't even understand half the games I played, but dammit, I played em.
 
2012-08-30 10:57:51 PM

Twitch Boy: [fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net image 850x637]

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER

/GIVE ME YOUR MONEY


Dude, while I own most of the console being discussed in here, I bow to the awesomeness of the pinball!

/still trying to con my mom out of the original Black Knight machine in her gameroom.
 
2012-08-30 11:05:15 PM

KidneyStone: Buncha young whipper snappers in here. I remember going to the arcade and playing electro-mechanical games like this one.


/Is Bowcraft still around on Rt 22?


Yes it is...They have a roller coaster now. Killed off the mini golf, though. Spent many days as a kid with friends playing Daytona USA and TMNT there. Plus they had a hell of a good pinball selection when I was a kid. Living within walking distance allowed all that time spent there. Not sure if they have an arcade anymore.
 
2012-08-30 11:08:51 PM
My first game was Megabug on the TRS 80

We gotcha! Or, as it sounded like to 4 year old me - bean dasha!
 
2012-08-30 11:17:59 PM

theorellior: Cythraul: This was my introduction to video gaming.

Man, that photo is a hardcore fake. Someone should have gotten sued for that travesty. The 2600 Pac-Man was just a flickery blob moving around a light-colored maze making plucked rubber band noises.


Dude, that is MS. PAC MAN on the 2600, not Pac Man.

Pac Man did suck on 2600... they did much better (as you can see) on Ms Pac Man.
 
2012-08-30 11:23:14 PM

dletter: theorellior: Cythraul: This was my introduction to video gaming.

Man, that photo is a hardcore fake. Someone should have gotten sued for that travesty. The 2600 Pac-Man was just a flickery blob moving around a light-colored maze making plucked rubber band noises.

Dude, that is MS. PAC MAN on the 2600, not Pac Man.

Pac Man did suck on 2600... they did much better (as you can see) on Ms Pac Man.


Actually reading on, I'll go with the other guy... I think that was 5200 Pac Man.

But, Ms Pac was better on the 2600 than pac man (although, not as good as that picture)....

www.consoleclassix.com
 
2012-08-30 11:37:05 PM
3d pacman at the arcade was where it was at.

I always wanted pacman to become a breakout franchise. Pacman rpgs and shiat
 
2012-08-31 01:46:49 AM
First you had to unplug the steering wheel controller...
...and then plug in the standard controller in the same port in order to move the guys during a pit stop.
assets1.ignimgs.com
When they were done, you had to unplug the standard controller and plug the steering wheel controller back in to get back in the race.
Worst... pit crew... ever.
 
2012-08-31 02:06:45 AM
Don't make me pul out my TI-99 4a and kick all your asses at Munch Man, TI invaders or Birdbrain.

1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-08-31 02:11:12 AM
Also, Tunnels of Doom was the absolute shiat!

ridingthecrest.com
 
2012-08-31 02:27:17 AM
I have had the majority of these systems over the years except for the Colecovision. They all had their own moments of beauty and awe. But I purchased one of these from a pizza place that was closing down recently and I have to say it was the best money I have ever spent. I love watching my friends lose their shiat on it.

encrypted-tbn1.google.com
 
2012-08-31 03:49:26 AM
s15.postimage.org 

Approves.
 
2012-08-31 04:08:57 AM
most important letter of my life

2 years later, went from tech to arcade game designer.
Fond memories
 
2012-08-31 04:20:14 AM
I played my first video game on a touch screen ... in 1973.

www.library.uiuc.edu

/Torchlight 2 please
 
2012-08-31 06:06:46 AM

BKITU: spman: My parents had a 2600 and I still have one at home with several dozen games, but for me to name even 5 games on the 2600 that hold up in any meaningful sort of way would be quite the challenge.

Pitfall -- nearly endless replayability, even if you knew where everything was
Asteroids, Berserk, Defender, Missile Command, Space Invaders -- all fun, reasonable ports of the arcade versions
Yar's Revenge -- insanely fun space shooter

7 off the top of my head.

/Combat and its... 116?... variants had lots of replayability, too.


Throw in River Raid.

That one was playable not that long ago. Out of nostalgia/alcohol I bought one from a neighbor's kid about a year ago only it was a new one which didn't take cartridges. I guess it is one of several with each one having different games on it. I don't recall how many it had and I'm too lazy to Google it. I specifically purchased it because it had River Raid and Combat on it as well as a few others. (I was an adult 40 years ago, I had *all* the Atari games it seems like, as in way too many.)

Anyhow, it was very playable - amazingly so. More than once has it been pulled out and happily enjoyed by people that span the ages. It is simple enough so that kids today just jump on it and go. It's difficult enough so that there is a challenge, especially in single player mode - I'm not "up" on current gaming but I'd wager that the actual difficulty was higher than many games today are simply because of the technological limits. Cheating and saving weren't really all that reliable though I remember a few cheats were available.

It has since been given to another kid, he's 11 and has the WII and a PS3 and a PS2 with a stack of games for all of them. He also has some portable (I think it is the DS__? Again, I'm not up on current gaming though I sometimes long for the dedication to get good with the new controllers and have a stab at something new.) The remarkable thing is, he plays it. He absolutely loves Combat and, of course, River Raid because I can still beat him at it even though I've played less than a dozen hours in 30 years or better.

He's the neighbor's boy, he's not mine, and they don't have much but they're good people so I make sure the kid is taken care of pretty well. It *is* remarkable to me that they are indeed playable to the point where they're still selling those titles EXACTLY the same as they were before (in function) without even updating the graphics. What I probably should have done was hunt down the rest of them and purchased a couple of each of them simply to store one and play one. Then again, what I should do, is build a damned MAME system finally. So little time, so little room, so little initiative. Hell, I'm retired and still don't have time enough to get to it. But I digress...

I guess the point is, that I believe you may be mistaken in only two regards... I've never actually been a fan of Pitfall and you missed River Raid which is FACTUALLY the most awesome game on the Atari platform ever. That's factual damn it. Pitfall wasn't ever really appealing to me which I don't understand because I loved the ever living hell out of Mario Brothers so it isn't that I have an aversion to side scrolling. There were some very advanced games as well, I'm a bit high so I'm forgetting but one was a moon landing and the other was the space shuttle? Meh... It has been a lot of years, either way those were hugely advanced and very difficult when you consider the whole 8bit thing.

I think I may have figured it out... Hmm... When playing Pitfall the whole thing stopped between frame changing didn't it? As in you hit the end of the screen and then it stops and loads the next screen? If the way I'm remembering it then I bet that was actually because there wasn't a way to render the graphics from frame to frame. I also suspect that's what bothered me.

Anyhow, yes. I'd certainly agree that they're very playable even today. I'd argue that that's part of the magic, had they not been as successful as they were there may not be a video game industry as large or as functional as there is today.

I had an Odyssey, Intellivision, Coleco-vision (I think, hand held control with a round nob and numbers?), and a few others around that time but it was always the Atari that brought me back simply because the game play was what it was. Hell, my first PC was a PET and then the Vic-20. I'm old and was a geek back then too. You could play the hell out of those and they held their magic for hours. We'd have a blast trying out all the many tank games as we'd sit around doing all sorts of illegal and immoral things. If there was nobody else available you could even play on your own and the games were still challenging, in many (perhaps most) cases they were more challenging.

The fact that you can go to a store and buy a pre-packaged Atari system that plays the exact games, exactly as they were played, with the controller even being the same, give it to a kid today who has access to all sorts of modern games and still plays it, and that we're even discussing them today speaks volumes about how damned good the games were which is amazing considering the technological limits at the time and many flops made by Atari themselves or development houses. Some of those names are still around and I guess some of the games have incarnations to this day. Anyone proposing that they lack playability or replayability probably thinks Farmville qualifies as a game and considers Angry Birds to be about their limit of difficulty.

I'd certainly be prejudiced against any future opinions they may offer on the gaming subject and would consider such assertions to be none less than malarkey. I might even find an original joystick (the ones on the new one appear to be much less durable and are wired in permanently), done some white gloves, whack them with said controller, and then give them the proverbial, "I bid the good day, sir. Good day."

/mostly serious actually
//to think that is absurd
/perhaps they're demented
 
2012-08-31 07:25:38 AM
Private:
Pong
Atari
Coleco

Multitudes of public games...
State champ of Battlezone.

/geek
 
2012-08-31 08:11:11 AM

Ego edo infantia cattus: Heh, Guess I'm kind of young by comparison...

[4.bp.blogspot.com image 483x344]

My first love, and still a favorite.


Not my first (that would be the original SMB, along with Duck Hunt which was on the same cartridge - and the original grey light zapper, not that gaudy orange abomination) but it definitely holds a special place for me. When my parents got me the NES, I didn't know what it was. I guess they'd seen it on TV and figured I would like it since I seemed to like my Uncle's Atari, so they went and got me one and I was hooked instantly. But when the SNES came out I knew what it was, so I was really looking forward to it and the new Mario game, and the anticipation made it all the sweeter. Man, that was a great christmas.
 
2012-08-31 09:39:34 AM
I started with the 2600 and Colecovision.

Fun times.
 
2012-08-31 11:19:51 AM
gamesdbase.com

My first Wrestling game
 
2012-08-31 11:31:56 AM

UnspokenVoice: Then again, what I should do, is build a damned MAME system finally. So little time, so little room, so little initiative.


I put it off for long enough and have the pc built now. Going to put it in something like this. With HLSL an LCD will be fine. Then put it on a cabinet that can have normal stuff put in it. Someone sells a decent looking mini kit.
www.koenigs.dk

HLSL on right.
www.pixelpiklz.com
 
2012-08-31 01:46:59 PM

Shrinkwrap: Commander keen for our IBM


Omg yes! Awesome game. I enjoyed Star Goose as well.
 
2012-08-31 02:14:35 PM
Jungle Hunt on the 2600 was one of my favorites. Jumping the boulders, swinging on the vines, stabbing alligators.
 
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