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Hey "old timer" gamers.


Derrik Draven
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On another thread on this forum, someone just happened to mention that one of the cool things about being an "old timer gamer" is that we saw the dawn of our hobby. I kinda like that!!! How many hobbies can one have that they actually can say they were around for THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING?

 

Anyone ever remember playing this "suedo" videogame called Blip? It was a VERY early handheld. It was before, I believe, even the football handhelds that were the absolute rage, back when I was in like...4th or 5th grade. That was....1977/78? My buddy Mike had one and that was THE 1st handheld video-ish game that I can remember. Key word, handheld.

 

There was a picture of some guys playing Space War on this machine with a little tv screen in the middle of it. Can't remember what magazine I saw it in but, I do have that foggy memory of my 1st glimpse of that game. Wasn't that like, THE 1st video game?

 

I honestly can't remember the 1st time I actually saw Pong. I'm sure it was in some department store lobby, ya know...next to the overpriced coke and hotdogs vendor? Although it wasn't long before the home models came out and mom/dad got me one for Xmas.

 

That old black and white tv it was hooked to had the nastiest damn burn in line I can recall on any tv we've ever owned! :lol:

 

The dawn of Atari, I can still remember. Saw it 1st at Sears. Was like totally fucking entralled! It was all I wanted that year from Santa.

 

I gotta admit, the fast bastard delivered that year and a fresh new 2600 was gently resting under the mistletoe, basked in the soft glow of electric sex coming from the window. ;)

 

Buying games, back then, was hoping that mom would be nice enough to get one for me. I remember wanting "Adventure" for the 2600, soooooo damn bad but she was bitching that it cost $30 new. Now, I have to use my own restraint!

 

...any "old timer" memories?]

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I think my first encounter with a video game was a coin-op Pong machine that my uncle had in his house (I really don't know the circumstances that lead to him having this at home, but he was a projectionist in a movie theater and I think there's a connection there). I was completely taken with it (as was my brother who was there too). I was probably 8 or 9 at the time.

 

After that I remember playing Space War (which would place this at 1977) ironically at the theater my uncle worked at (in Hayward, CA.). Space Wars was a huge leap beyond Pong having vector graphics and amazingly, a keypad on the front that let you configure the game prior to playing. You put in your quarter and then selected options on the keypad that set gravity (there was a 'sun' in the center of the screen), inertia and combinations thereof.

 

It kind of gets blurry after that, probably because video arcades exploded at this point, popping up everywhere. Asteroids was the big game by now, although I was never good at it. And if I'm not mistaken the first first-person game comes out around this time, Battlezone, which I truly adored...and was also never terribly good at.

 

The milestone game for me was in 1981. I kid you not that I absolutely remember vividly the moment I first saw Tempest. It was in the bowling alley ("Granada Bowl", in Livermore, CA - where I grew up), I was walking down the very familiar aisle of games when I saw this new one that was unlike anything I'd seen. I was captivated even though I hadn't the slightest idea what the hell was going on. I stood there with my best friend and stared, for probably 10 minutes, as this guy played, mesmerized. It took quite some time to decipher how to play, it was the first highly abstract game I'd seen, making almost no reference to anything real. I mean Pong was "tennis"; Asteroids was "a space ship shooting at rocks" but what the heck was Tempest? I ended up getting pretty good at Tempest, flirting with the world-record, but hitting a wall that I could never get past.

 

Anyway, that was the beginning of my love affair with that game that is still quite strong, kept alive via MAME and a USB dial controller. In fact, my avatar is a pic of me playing Tempest when I was somewhere around 13 to 15 (I'm guessing).

 

Arcade games came out at a furious rate, other favorites were Star Castle, Zaxxon, Pole Position, Gyruss, Q-Bert, Robotron, Tron, Pleiads, Galaga, Qix, Track and Field, Xevious, Ms. Pac Man, Tutankham, Sinistar, 1942, Centipede. Oh and then there were the games I hated: Missile Command, Donkey Kong (that's right), Crazy Climber.

 

The next big milestone game for me was the original Star Wars vector game. True story; first time I played it, totally loved it, after my game was done, I moved back to let my friend play, and I said "I'm going to get good at this game" - really the only time I've ever said that about any game. I proceeded to play the hell out of it, and I remember watching players that were better than me to pick up ideas.

 

My experience with that game culminated in a marathon 8-hour game, during which my friends went home and brought me food! The final score was something like 52 million, and at the time it was better than the official world record.

 

I ended up working at the arcade where I played that Star Wars game, and I'll tell you, it wasn't a very good place to work...even with the free games. You had to deal with unruly kids and watching over a rather large (at least when you're 17) stash of change that you made for people with paper money.

 

I was a complete game addict as a kid. My mom would never buy me a console when they came out, they were too expensive (single mother, 3 kids). I had a friend that got an Atari 2600 which I was pretty jealous about!

 

Wow, this has turned into a really long post. I've probably bored everyone to death, if anyone's actually read this far. It's fun to recount those days, it's amazing to me to sit back and think about how far games have come in some ways...and yet how the tried-and-true concepts that made a good game back then still ring true, even if they've been refined.

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I got the radio shack version of "pong" when I was a lad. It had a light gun, and I quickly realized that if I turned up the contrast full blast, and turned the lights off in the room, I could score a hit with the light gun no matter where I aimed.

 

I got some tank battle game shortly after that, and it promptly caused a phosphur burn-in on my moms expensive curtis-mathis tv. Not sure who made that tank battle game.

 

Then I got my 2600. Man that was cool. I did the modification as outlined in "Atari Age magazine" that let me convert it to left-handed.

 

My fondest (worst) memory as an old-timer is when Pac-Man came out. I was so anxious to get it. We were poor back then, and that kind of money was way more than my parents could spend. But I begged and begged, and my mom took me to Woolworth's to pick it up.

 

You can imagine my devastation at how badly that game sucked. But I HAD to pretend I LOVED it. I just couldn't admit to my parents that their hard earned money had went to purchase the shitty-est game ever made. I spent many hours sitting there playing that game, feeling totally betrayed by Atari, while my parents sat and watched thinking I was in gaming heaven.

 

Many consoles later, I find myself still enamored with video games. Now I get to live vicariously through my sons as they discover gaming bliss. And as they get older, I get to discover that their skills at age 10 and 8 are way beyond what mine were at the same age. I mean, they can master a controller with more than 10 buttons, while I at their age was only able to handle a joystick and one button.

 

At the arcades, I remember paying a "Space Invaders" machine at our hotel when we went to Six Flags over Texas. That was my first ever exposure to a video game. I popped a quarter in and was hooked ever since. I got to witness PacMan at the arcades, watched the masters of "Asteroids" spend hours on a single quarter. (many true masters would leave just a small asteroid on screen and thrust vertically, killing the little UFO for many, many points).

 

The first game I mastered was Donkey Kong. I would ride over to the local 7-11 on my bike, buy, a slurpee, and play Donkey Kong for hours in their makeshift arcade.

 

Nothing can compare to the days before the phrase, "Insert coin to continue" entered our lexicon. There was a time when you played until the game just got too damn hard for you, and if you wanted to go again, you just pumped in another token and tried again from the start.

 

When I entered my teenage years, my mom would complain that I spent all of my allowance money on Video games. I always replied with thes same line:

 

"Well, you know, It's cheaper than Heroin!"

 

And to this day, I stand by that line!

 

Carlos.

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You can imagine my devastation at how badly that game sucked. But I HAD to pretend I LOVED it. I just couldn't admit to my parents that their hard earned money had went to purchase the shitty-est game ever made. I spent many hours sitting there playing that game, feeling totally betrayed by Atari, while my parents sat and watched thinking I was in gaming heaven.

 

That's a pretty sad story :|

 

I remember that game on the 2600, it was really strange looking, almost nothing like the arcade version. I wasn't really much of a Pac-Man fan arcade or otherwise, but my friend loved it on his 2600. He could play it for hours.

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Yes, you could play it for hours, IF you didn't die of boredom.

 

The sound effects consisted of a "bonk" sound every time PacMan ate a dot, or in the case of the 2600 version, a dash, and the sound made when you ate a ghost, and that was it.

 

It was absolutely NOTHING like the arcade version. I think I remember reading somewhere that Atari rushed the development of the game and totally accepted the first draft that the programmers came up with, just to rush it to the market.

 

By the time Ms. PacMan came out, the programmers got their act together, and it was awesome!

 

But at that time I was totally engrossed with my Rubik's Cube, but that's a whole different story, altogether.

 

 

Carlos.

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Yep, I've been a true console gamer since 1977, and arcade games since 1975.

 

Ack! I am old!

 

I got a Blip for Xmas. My siblings got it as well. It was a HOT item, everybody wanted Blip.

 

Anybody would lose interest in Blip after an hour or so. The pattern was very easy to learn, and quickly repetitive.

 

You had to wind up Blip to make it play, the batteries only powered the LED of the 'ball', not the movement.

 

Pac Man for 2600 was the biggest most disappointing piece of shit ever. Within 10 minutes, we all hated it.

 

I know Pac Man, I played Pac Man, and let me tell you, that was no fucking Pac Man.

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Well, I lived in a trailer court where my mother is manager and everyone is like a big extended family. I beat the Starfighter Video Game in the laundromat to the applause of everyone in the court and later that day found I had been turned down for a scholarship to college.

 

Depressed, I met Centauri, an alien with a proposition, and take the skills I showed on the video game into real combat to protect the galaxy from an invasion. I returned to the Starfighter base to find all the pilots have been killed and I am the galaxy's only chance to save itself from invasion and to defeat the invaders who are paying the hit beasts to stalk me.

 

Needless to say, that taught me the value of videogames.

 

-j

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I do remember Blip - I remember trying a friend's game & thought that it was nothing like real TV Pong. So - my parents ended up getting me Mattel's Football handheld instead.

 

I also remember pestering my mom to take me downtown so I could look at the display of these "video game" thingys. I was instantly in love :)

 

Since my parents were divorced - I also had the best of both videogaming worlds!

 

I got some tank battle game shortly after that, and it promptly caused a phosphur burn-in on my moms expensive curtis-mathis tv. Not sure who made that tank battle game.

 

My dad owned this - it was Coleco's Telstar Combat . I played this every time I went over to his house, till one of the joysticks broke & he was forced to upgrade to an Atari 2600.

 

My mom & stepdad waited a bit longer to go the full console route. I was finally able to put away my Pong system when we got a Tandyvision (Radio Shack Intellivision clone) for Christmas 1981.

 

I remember being sooo disappointed because we didn't get any games for it other than Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack. I really wanted an Atari. But I ended up playing the crap out of that game - & when I got some more games for my birthday - I became one of the first generation of "fanboys".

 

Classic gaming can be a lot of fun. There were no Gamesharks back then,no hidden cheat codes,no online websites where you could get gameplay help. It was just you & the game. Getting a bunch of people together to play a game like Activision's Decathlon was mighty fun back in the day :green:

 

Also,for anyone who likes this thread - go & visit the boneyard forum! (Yes,this is a shameless plug). There we discuss any & all things classic. One of the advantadges of being an "older" gamer is that I can remember most of the things that get brought up. So go take a look!

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Depressed, I met Centauri, an alien with a proposition, and take the skills I showed on the video game into real combat to protect the galaxy from an invasion. I returned to the Starfighter base to find all the pilots have been killed and I am the galaxy's only chance to save itself from invasion and to defeat the invaders who are paying the hit beasts to stalk me.

So you're the one! :D

 

Man, I haven't seen that movie in ages.

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Originally posted by Pharmboy@Sep 13 2003, 05:29 AM
I got the radio shack version of "pong" when I was a lad. It had a light gun,

 

Was this some kind of Haitian Death Pong that I haven't heard about? :P

LOL! I guess I didn't make it clear. It was called "Radio Shack TV Scoreboard". It had Pong, with paddle controllers, but it ALSO had a light gun, for use with other games, like SKEET shooting.

 

Basically, the blip used for ping would race across the screen, and you would have to shoot it. I can't find a picture of it, but here's the specs:

 

* TV Scoreboard #60-3061: - 6 games:Target, Skeet, Tennis,

Hockey, Squash, Practice.

- Two players

- Detachable left player controller

- Comes with Light gun

- Internal speaker.

- 6 AA batteries or 9VDC

 

The one for sale on Ebay is NOT this same one.

 

My dad owned this - it was Coleco's Telstar Combat .

 

That's it! It was a fun game, but you HAD to play two plaer, so I was always playing my dad. I had ti let him win every once in ahile, so he wouldn't get frustrated and refuse to play.

 

:shock: I just realized something. I HOPE this is not what MY boys are doing on the rare occasion that I win a SSBM game against them! :shock:

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The sound effects consisted of a "bonk" sound every time PacMan ate a dot, or in the case of the 2600 version, a dash, and the sound made when you ate a ghost, and that was it.

 

 

:lol: Man, as soon as the old 2600 PacMan game was mentioned, that damn "BONK" sound popped right into my head.

 

ARRRRGHH!!!! I can hear that frickin game in my head right now!!!!

 

"Doo-Dee-Doo-Deet....bonk bonk bonk bonk"

 

My fondest memory with the 2600 is a toss up between the 1st time if found the super secret message in Adventure (created by Warren Robinett), or the 1st time I played Superman and won. Literally the 1st time I played it, I had both hard setting on (high speed on Lex Luther and high speed on the kryptonite satellites) and didn't realize it. It took me hours to finally finish it. Put Lois Lane in the Daily Planet, flew back to the phone booth, walked all the way back and got three dinky little musical notes when I walked back into the 'Planet.

 

...it was awesome! :) So easy to impress we were back then.

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Good call on the Pac-Man. Derrik nailed it: Doo-dee Doo-dee... Bonk bonk bonk bonk.

 

A huge let-down. I also begged my Mom to buy it the week it came out. I remember, must have been 1981 or 1982. 7 or 8 yrs. old, begging on the way into Sears. She bought it.

 

I also remember being even more dissapointed in Donkey Kong. What a piece of shit that thing turned out to be. I thought an ape was part of the game. What the hell was up there, anyway?

 

Nothing can touch Yar's, or Defender, or Missle Command.

 

Remember Track & Field in the arcade? Remember using the pencil to cheat? It had to be a ling one, and you could run like the wind.

 

I absolutely love talking about the old days.

 

Soon after, I bought a Vic 20. :( Oops.

 

Then I entered gaming heaven again with my Commodore. Pirating games came second to none. I had everything. Soon afterward, the Nintendo came, and it took a year before my rents would spend the $70 for it. I'll never forget what a step up in graphics that thing was. I was just amazed at Super Mario Bros. Then came the Genesis, the Panasonic 3DO, the Playstation on launch day, the Xbox, and finally the PS2.

 

Growing up with some sort of console always kept my Dad just about as occupied as it did me. He wasted a lot of hours on them as well. Some fond memories. ;)

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The sound effects consisted of a "bonk" sound every time PacMan ate a dot, or in the case of the 2600 version, a dash, and the sound made when you ate a ghost, and that was it.

 

Don't forget the sound that was made when you died. You can hear these sounds today and instantly know what game it is.

 

I broke many of my Atari 2600 controllers. I guess those cheap plastic things weren't meant for 25 hours of daily play. ;)

 

Typically our parents would only buy one system so my group of friends would coordinate. I was the Atari, one friend was the Colecovision, one was the Intellavision, etc.

 

Remember the mini versions of the arcade games? They had joysticks and all. These would really help on road trips.

 

And who could forget handhelds like Mattel's Football game? I know they're selling remakes today but it would feel like buying bellbottoms from the Gap. Them young whippersnappers wouldn't understand. 8)

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Remember the mini versions of the arcade games? They had joysticks and all. These would really help on road trips.

 

I had a galaxian and a donkey kong mini-version. Wish I would've kept them in mint condition. But then I wouldn't have gotten any fun out of them.

 

And who could forget handhelds like Mattel's Football game?

 

The Supertramp song "The Logical Song" has the sound made when you got tackled on the Matell Footbal II (now featuring PASSING plays). I cannot hear that song without reminiscing of the hours spent playing that game.

 

 

My cousin had an intellivision. Oh, the flame-wars that would ensue about which console was better. I could never get used to that floating disk controller they had for that thing.

 

But Atari 5200 gets my vote for worst controller ever. I had to reseat the buttons on the side constantly. The analog stick was good for baseball though. You could swing high or low, and the speed of your swing was dependent on how quickly you moved the stick. For those who have never seen one, here's a pic:

5200_Controller_intro.jpg

 

This joystick was a bitch to use for PacMan, because it didn't exactly self-center too well. So you had to play with your thumb on top, and just make very subtle movements to get PacMan to move with precision. Eventually, I became very good at this, but my friends could never do it well.

 

And speaking of controllers, I remember seeing the tv ads for this monstrosity, and hoping against hope that santa would make us a two console family.

cvsacb.jpg

this "super-action controller" for the ColecoVision was in my eyes the holy grail of gaming. I don't think I ever even got to hold one. I'm sure the ergonomics people of today would have a field day with that bad-boy! If anyone has any stories about actuall USING that controller, I'd love to hear them.

 

Remember Track & Field in the arcade? Remember using the pencil to cheat? It had to be a ling one, and you could run like the wind.

 

A pencil!!? Most people just used the plastic comb that they ALWAYS carried in their back pocket! :D

 

I was born with the gift of tapping my fingers fast, so I didn't have to use the "cheat". Hypersports (the sequel to Track and Field) was the only game I ever owned the high score on for any length of time.

 

Carlos.

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Oh man, Carlucci, thanks so much for posting that pic of that godawful Coleco joystick. :lol: I had totally forgotten about those. I've never used one myself but I remember we used to gather around the Coleco catalogues and drool over accessories like that before we were any wiser.

 

Now that is a total old school controller.

 

I couldn't be any more amused short of seeing pics of the old "board game" versions of popular video games you used to be able to get for free in certain breakfast cereals. I still think I'm the only person who remembers those, but I swear I recall playing Donkey Kong Jr. like that. :P

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Remember Track & Field in the arcade? Remember using the pencil to cheat? It had to be a ling one, and you could run like the wind.

 

Pencil? How low-tech ;) Where I grew up, kids were fabricating 'teeter-totters' out of combs or other plastic implements. I ended up making one too, with a toothbrush handle that I heated and re-shaped over a gas stove!

 

My scores shot up from there. But you still needed good timing for events like long jump (for the angle), javelin, or high jump...but the extra speed never hurt.

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I had two of those Coleco super-action controllers. I always preferred it to the standard Coleco controller (which looked like some kind of controller you see at manufacturing plants to operate the lines). For the Coleco baseball game, the super-action controller was unbeatable. I don't think I have used a better controller for running the bases to this day (done via the spinning wheel at the base of the keypad). And it's still smaller than the original Xbox controller! ;)

 

Atari 2600, Colecovision, Vic 20, Commodore 64, Amiga 1000, NES, Genesis, Super NES, 3DO, Playstation, Saturn, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Gamecube, Xbox, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Pocket, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Advance SP... I shudder to think how much money I have sent spent on this hobby!

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