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Thread: Confessions of a 1982 video game junkie

  1. #1
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    Plaid Stallions Confessions of a 1982 video game junkie



    When I think about 1982, my mind drifts to three things, action figures, Doctor Who novels (mostly written by Terrance Dicks) and VIDEO GAMES.

    My then eleven year old brain had Pac-Man fever bad, I was a total junkie. I bought terrible magazines about video games where even i could point out the grammatical errors, drew pictures of them, pretty sure I even bought that weird "Atari Force" comic book that DC comics made.

    My parents were not shelling out for a home system and they forbade Grandma to help in anyway but my dad knew of a job opportunity in printing that only a kid would take.

    So, the winter of 1982 was the year i toiled for weeks tearing misprinted sheets out of 35,000 Ottawa tourism booklets for exactly one penny each.

    Nights, weekends, I spent the entire March break tearing watching day time TV and tearing out that same page out of that damn booklet.




    The above page was my spirit animal, I stared at it during this period so much i probably bore holes into it.

    Eventually, I raised $300 from my endeavor and my dad took me to Pinocchio's toys in the midtown mall to purchase a system. He would also help me buy a game as well. I remember pressing my face against that Jeweler's case and picking out Activision's Kaboom!


    All was right with the world, I was so proud about owning this thing and played combat until 2am with my dad (who was also a big arcade enabler to be honest).


    However, i would encounter one little problem the following Monday, a problem by the name of George Plimpton.





    Mattel had launched a competing system called Intellivision and used Plimpton to snobbily tout it's superiority to Atari. This ad campaign was especially effective at my grade school where kids would quote the man (who probably never visited an arcade in his life) to mock the 2600 and my choice.

    Me, filled with incredible pride of ownership (after all, i earned the money) took it all too personal and often challenged the other kid to a fight, this was despite my 40/60 success rate in playground scraps, never tell me the odds or the stats.


    BTW I attribute my prodigious ability to snore as an adult to these pointless donnybrooks.


    Happily, this lead me to my tribe of the other Atari 2600 kids and we would happily swap games, occasionally, I would get a cartridge that totally reeked of cigarettes, causing my mum to have kittens but how else was I going to play Atlantis?



    While the rivalry existed between 2600 and Intellivision kids remained, we both looked our noses down at the Odyessy 2. This weird disdain totally disappeared if I was a kid's house who had it though, mostly because I wanted to play it of course....











    And then there was Leisure Vision, the system that you get when you send your dad to the store but don't come along to supervise. It's low priced and looks like the Intellivision and Atari had a baby, so you can't blame frugral parents and grandpeople for surrendering to it's siren song.


    My obsession with video games would last until about 1984 until I got caught up in the world of Home Computers (more on that later) and well, girls but i always think fondly of this weird little era where I had the fever...




    BrAiN


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  2. #2
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    Great story. My mind boggles at the price of the Atari system. It's about the same price an XBox One or PS4 go for today! So in 1982 money, it was probably the equivalent of at least $500-700 today.

    Somehow, we got one at Christmas, and yes, Combat was also the game that bridged that generation gap. My dad still talks about playing "tanks and biplanes".

    George Plimpton didn't dog me, but Ladies Home Journal or one of those other Mom rags did. They convinced my Mom that if we plugged the Atari up to our big color set, our TV would be ruined by the game pattern. Of course if you leave it sitting on for days it WOULD do that, but my usually indulgent mother wouldn't budge. I never played my Atari on anything but a small black and white TV.


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  3. #3
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    I've never had gaming fever--I was the library/old movies kid that got mocked. But that's a well-told story that I can empathize with. Thanks for sharing, it made me smile.
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  4. #4
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    Intellivision Family here. I was mostly proud to be different than most of my buds, but maybe just a little jealous of not conforming . Any time a friend would come over, they'd complain about the disc controller, and I'd try to defend it. Really, once you got the hang of it, it was fine, but I wonder if there was a legal reason Mattel Electronics didn't use a joystick.

    I know what you mean about staring at those pages. The simplicity of the main screen graphic, along with the fanciful box art, played the perfect psychological trick on me too.

    I honestly barely remember Odyssey 2 and Leisure Vision. Those look fantastically cheesy. I wonder if they offered any real play advantages over the big two.
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    We were also an Intellivision family. There were so many awesome games released for Mattel's fantastic faux-wood & gold box... I still collect the cartridges today.
    Later on, I bought a ColecoVision when all my friends were getting caught up in the home computer craze. I didn't regret it. I've always been a console gamer and still am today.
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  6. #6
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    We were an Atari family. But, mine is a different story that I have posted on here in the past.

    Money was extremely tight when I was living w/ my dad and his girlfriend. There were 5 of us kids in the house ranging in age from 16 to 5. There was lots of government butter and cheese blocks and ground beef, beans and rice coming out of my ears. That year, all us kids got together and decided that we only wanted one gift for Christmas; an Atari 2600. We knew my dad and his girlfriend couldn't afford a new one, so we scoured the Pennysaver (a classified ads circular that came in the Sunday paper) and found one w/ 8 games for $150. It included the joysticks and the paddle controllers. We took it to my dad, and he agreed. We had so much fun playing Space Invaders, Pac-man, Combat, Air-Sea Battle, Video Olympics (aka different Pong games), Dodge'Em, Missile Command and Night Driver. Since I had previous experience w/ my old Telstar Alpha, I killed it in Pong games, and we'd often had cake bets (we used to get cheap cake mixes on sale, so the loser had to make the winner a cake!). Pretty soon, we got involved in the neighborhood game loaning with our friends. We also eventually found other games on sale and got E.T. and Bowling.

    Now I have both an Atari 2600 and an Intellivision II, but I love the Atari better. With the combined systems I have 220 games. But I seldom play them these days.
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  7. #7
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    Great stories! I love that your family decided to pool together and the opportunity to get a used one came up.
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  8. #8
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    Excellent story.

    I also am astonished by the prices.

    Activision seemed to have the best video games.

    I think Chopper Command was a fun one, and one with a UFO, if it wasn't the same game. I think that I played Stampede.

  9. #9
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    We had the Intellevision. I would have preferred an Atari.

    - Ian
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  10. #10
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    Colecovision!

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