I, Gamer pt 1: My first gaming system

Posted by HaroldoNVU (591 posts) -

The year was 1987... no no, it was 1989. Wait, It was definitely 88! I mean forget it. I don't quite recall how old was I, except that was about 5 and counting the passage of time did not matter so much then. At least not as much as expanding my Lego city. But I digress.
 
When I was five-ish year old, some time in the late eighties, my family when out on a trip to Manaus, which is the biggest city in the Western Amazon region. Oh yeah, I neglected to mention I live in northern Brazil. Anyway, during this trip we did a lot of shopping and my favorite among  what we got was my first video game system: the Atari 2600.

 Oh, good times. Kinda.
I think it was an Atari 2600 at least, I don't remember exactly which model was it. We just called it Atari. It's not like my parents were geeks or something and I was barely old enough to realize Santa wasn't real (though I never bought the whole Easter Bunny thing). I mean, 2600, 5400, etc. Those sound like something you add to the name of a crappy product you're planning to sell on a infomercial. "Buy now your AB-surd 7200 exercise station and get in shape TODAY!"  
 
So as I was saying, my parents got me an Atari 2600(?) and a few games. I remember Enduro, Pac-Man and Space Invaders among them. Enduro was definitely my favorite as it was probably the most simple to handle with the crappy controller and my yet underdeveloped hand-eye coordination. Turn left, turn right, try not to crash into one of the other cars for Pete's sake. I could do that. Pac-man was my second best game. I suck at it, but who cared. I was so young at the time that dying after 10 seconds of gameplay still seemed fun. I mean, "wow, did you see that? 8 full seconds. I could win a rodeo with these skillz."
 
I don't know much about the other games I had because at the time my parents were always arranging play dates for me, and we always borrowed and lent games from other kids. And we were always playing together anyway. Which were mine, which where theirs, I don't know. I remember those two brothers I used to play with that had Frogger and Pitfall!, among a hundred other games.  But I only cared about those two. I never finished a level of frogger but I still liked a lot.
  "The victory cry of the bull ape!"
Pitfall! was even greater, the first platformer I remember playing it. I actually called it "Tarzan", because of the vines and alligators. We rarely referred to games by their proper name at the time. Foreign language, little illiterate kids... do the math. I wish I could say we made some cool names for all those games, but even if those translated well to English (and they don't), most of them were silly like "Airshippy", "Balls", "Race".
 
The best part of playing over my friend's houses was that games ran in color. I think my console was a PAL European import because my games were always in black in white in my TV. I did not matter for most games, but as far as graphics went back then the number of colors was the impressive figure, as frame-rate and resolution are today. To this day whenever someone mentions a Atari 2600 game, I always picture a monochromatic screen. I only learned in high school that the motion pattern of the ghosts in Pac-Man was dictated by the ghost's color. Well, I guess I would never noticed that playing the flickering Atari port, but still.
 
I don't remember exactly how many years I spent with that Atari console. I guess two or three. At the time I had a console but didn't really care so much about games. They were cool but I had a bunch of cool toys and I loved TV. So my gaming memories from that time aren't very clear and well... memorable. I only know that some time between 1990 and 1991, my parents got me another console. But that's the subject of my next blog post.
#1 Posted by HaroldoNVU (591 posts) -

The year was 1987... no no, it was 1989. Wait, It was definitely 88! I mean forget it. I don't quite recall how old was I, except that was about 5 and counting the passage of time did not matter so much then. At least not as much as expanding my Lego city. But I digress.
 
When I was five-ish year old, some time in the late eighties, my family when out on a trip to Manaus, which is the biggest city in the Western Amazon region. Oh yeah, I neglected to mention I live in northern Brazil. Anyway, during this trip we did a lot of shopping and my favorite among  what we got was my first video game system: the Atari 2600.

 Oh, good times. Kinda.
I think it was an Atari 2600 at least, I don't remember exactly which model was it. We just called it Atari. It's not like my parents were geeks or something and I was barely old enough to realize Santa wasn't real (though I never bought the whole Easter Bunny thing). I mean, 2600, 5400, etc. Those sound like something you add to the name of a crappy product you're planning to sell on a infomercial. "Buy now your AB-surd 7200 exercise station and get in shape TODAY!"  
 
So as I was saying, my parents got me an Atari 2600(?) and a few games. I remember Enduro, Pac-Man and Space Invaders among them. Enduro was definitely my favorite as it was probably the most simple to handle with the crappy controller and my yet underdeveloped hand-eye coordination. Turn left, turn right, try not to crash into one of the other cars for Pete's sake. I could do that. Pac-man was my second best game. I suck at it, but who cared. I was so young at the time that dying after 10 seconds of gameplay still seemed fun. I mean, "wow, did you see that? 8 full seconds. I could win a rodeo with these skillz."
 
I don't know much about the other games I had because at the time my parents were always arranging play dates for me, and we always borrowed and lent games from other kids. And we were always playing together anyway. Which were mine, which where theirs, I don't know. I remember those two brothers I used to play with that had Frogger and Pitfall!, among a hundred other games.  But I only cared about those two. I never finished a level of frogger but I still liked a lot.
  "The victory cry of the bull ape!"
Pitfall! was even greater, the first platformer I remember playing it. I actually called it "Tarzan", because of the vines and alligators. We rarely referred to games by their proper name at the time. Foreign language, little illiterate kids... do the math. I wish I could say we made some cool names for all those games, but even if those translated well to English (and they don't), most of them were silly like "Airshippy", "Balls", "Race".
 
The best part of playing over my friend's houses was that games ran in color. I think my console was a PAL European import because my games were always in black in white in my TV. I did not matter for most games, but as far as graphics went back then the number of colors was the impressive figure, as frame-rate and resolution are today. To this day whenever someone mentions a Atari 2600 game, I always picture a monochromatic screen. I only learned in high school that the motion pattern of the ghosts in Pac-Man was dictated by the ghost's color. Well, I guess I would never noticed that playing the flickering Atari port, but still.
 
I don't remember exactly how many years I spent with that Atari console. I guess two or three. At the time I had a console but didn't really care so much about games. They were cool but I had a bunch of cool toys and I loved TV. So my gaming memories from that time aren't very clear and well... memorable. I only know that some time between 1990 and 1991, my parents got me another console. But that's the subject of my next blog post.
#2 Posted by LordMaiden (168 posts) -

I bet it sucks to put all that work into a blog post and nobody comments on it. Except me of course.

#3 Posted by Emilio (3380 posts) -
@LordMaiden:  
Yeah, so neatly written and spaced. 
 
I always wondered what Pac-Man on Atari 2600 played like.
#4 Edited by HaroldoNVU (591 posts) -

Not really, I posted those on old platform forum which are almost ghost town, so I wasn't expecting any comments.  
@Emilio: About Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, there's this little video review which gives you a very good idea of how it (not) worked. Augh, flickering ghosts!   

#5 Posted by NorseDudeTR (427 posts) -

Yeah! 
Nice writeup on the Atari, which I am becoming worryingly interested in. And it's cool to read about how people not in the States or in the UK experience gaming.

#6 Posted by TheNotoriousKDV (4 posts) -

It wasn't the first gaming system that I owned but if memory serves me, the 2600 was my first gaming experience. My uncle had one of these until he upgraded to the 7200 and then an NES but this was the one that he had when I first got hooked on games. It was mostly Pacman and Pinball and Asteroids I think. I was too young to remember that well but that's what I do remember from that.

#7 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

Your console trail is similar to mine in places, although it started about ten years later :)

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