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.
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. 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.