Monday, October 15, 2012

Atari: A Classic

Something you may not know about the Mormon Geeks is that I'm almost 3 1/2 years older than the 2nd oldest geek, 4 years older than the 3rd, and over 5 years older than the youngest of us. If you did....well...meh...don't care.

Does this matter much? No, not really, other than I believe I'm the only one that ever had a house with an Atari in it. 

 "What's that?" you may ask. Well, let me show you.

This is what an Atari 2600 looks like. I believe we had an Atari 2600 and an Atari 5200. As a really young kid, this was an awesome device. I mean, it hooked up to the television and you could sit about 4 feet away and hold that controller with that button on the side. I loved it!

Today, I wanna share some of my favorite classic games. 

Ah, Pong. All you have to do is play pseudo-tennis with someone and get the ball past their paddle/goalie. Such a beautiful game. Look at those graphics! Let's count them. There's the 2 scores, the 2 paddles, the 1 ball, and I'm gonna count the dash line as 1 graphic. All in all...there are 6 things on this screen. Just beyond awesome.

Asteroids here is a little more hi-tech than Pong. You've got some poorly drawn circles that float around the screen and a Star Trek Insignia-shaped spaceship that moves around pinging the asteroids to bits all while avoiding the debris of the mess it's making.

Let's add some color with Space Invaders. Now, this could be the 5200 series game, but still. Space Invaders added some complexity to the game. You're a little LDS-temple-looking guy who goes around shooting amoeba-looking space aliens while using arches as cover. But, to be honest, I really loved Space Invaders as a kid. It wasn't an easy game to play. There was a lot to avoid, especially when the little invaders shot back.

Now, here's everyone's favorite little guy. Before Pikachu, before Kirby, there was Pac-Man. (I used a cartridge pic here because I really remember owning one that looked like that.) To this day, Pac-Man seems to be a well-beloved gaming character, I know he is to me. Seriously, I think there need to be more Pac-Man games today. Eating little dots (being a larger one) while being chased by ghosts and then eating your fruits gives you a bonus while eating the larger dots lets you eat those ghosts. Awesome. 

Pitfall is a game I'm not sure who recalls it and if a newer incarnation has been created re-popularizing the game somewhat. Regardless, I remember seeing Pitfall as the most complex game of the day. Probably wrong, but still, it was the most complex one in the house. My oldest brother got it for his birthday and my other brother and I played it a lot. You went across the screen avoiding, obviously, pitfalls and collecting gold and silver and other things along the line. You actually had to jump and grab on to the vine to swing across the screen. Each screen brought you something different and the game never ended (much like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Asteroids). 

I miss the Atari and it's simple games some day. Give me Halo or WoW and confuse the crap out of me. But give me Pac-Man and Space Invaders and I'm a happy camper. 

What's the oldest video game you remember playing when it was new on the market? Mine's actually Pitfall.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are schedule.