By sneenlantern 3 Comments
Back in the seventies, everything was simpler and more complex. Then, one day, in 1977, I was born. I’m not that special, but the Gods were merciful: shortly before I was born, they saw fit to bless the world with the Atari 2600.
I don’t remember the first time I laid hands on this plastic beast, perhaps I put one of the controllers in my mouth when I was but two…. But I do remember watching my older siblingz play it on the third story of our house in Pittsburgh. I think I remember Pac-man or Ms. Pacman first. But what I truly remember most of all was Defender.
I remember watching that dark, frightening world, with my young innocent eyes: the flashes of the laser; the dribbling movement of the aliens; the digital noises that were cries for help.
I was astounded something like this existed. I wasn’t worried about polygon counts, or shaders, or anything like that, no – that world was as real as day to my eyes, and I watched, steadfast, as my older brother and sister did battle against the aliens.
It would be a while before I could brave digital worlds myself. It’s funny because, nowadays I take interaction with digital worlds for granted, but when I watch my young nephews, who are about five, try to play xbox, they just barely get it.
But I didn’t really get into games until later, when I was a couple years older, around 1982 or 1983 or something. My family bought a TI-99 personal computer (you hooked it up to your TV) and I started to play the educational games on that. I started with a difficult game: “Tombstone City”, where you shoot aliens disguised as tumbleweeds so you can repopulate the planet in the 21st century. It was hard and stupid.
There were some educational and maze games too, like a game where you were a mouse and you wandered through a maze eluding a cat. There was also “Munch Man” which was a Pac-Man clone I played and played.
Also, as a young boy, I sampled programming on the TI-99. There was no disk drive, but there was instead a tape drive. I never figured out how that damn thing worked. I guess I was too young.
But for most of the time, I played the TI-99, and then the Atari as new games came out. I remember loving Joust and Pitfall, but being totally perplexed by Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.
Little did I know, the NES as coming……….