Set The Wayback Machine to 1982 Sherman

I have to admit it was Daughter who insisted I hang onto the video game manuals I uncovered in The Great Purge of 2008 (see post below).

Having grown up on Nintendo and Wii, she nearly collapsed in a fit of hysterics at the descriptions and screen shots inside the 1982 Atari Game Catalog.

What? They were pretty cool... and the high-quality graphics were JUST like the advertisements. No?

As we were in the middle of Star Wars fever in the early eighties, space adventures were all the rage. Which is why "Berzerk" looked to be quite a thrill. At least from the "Artist's Interpretation" and game details:

"Trapped on a planet called Mazeon (because of all the mazes on it) you are relentlessly pursued by a gang of robot thugs. The leader of these mechanical heavies, Evil Otto, takes a real delight in your predicament. You must race through the mazes, dodging and shooting, as Otto and the others chase after you. Conquer one maze, and you'll find yourself in another. It's enough to drive you...crazy!"

Ohhh!!! "Evil Otto and Robot Thugs!" I can't wait to play this!

Okay. Maybe not so much.

Well, I remember playing Baseball. Or rather "Home Run". The write-up sounded great!

"You're waiting for the pitch. The crowd cheers as you send a deep drive to center field and score the winning run. Now you're the pitcher. You mix up your pitches with your even-handed control over fast, slow or curve balls. But be careful. Balls and strikes count. So do double plays, triple plays, force outs, tag outs and sacrifice flies."

Oh, yeah. Just like the REAL game.

Um. No.

But "Skydiver"! Now there was an action-filled game.

"You're ready for the big jump. The longer you can wait to open your chute, the more points you'll score. Steer your chute against varying wind velocities as you guide yourself to the landing pad. Land on the bull's-eye and get more points. But, if your chute fails to open - SPLAT!

Wow! "Velocities" and carnage. What fun!

Maybe not.

Not only were paddles and joysticks required equipment, apparently so was a healthy dose of imagination...

Oh. My.

But still, I really want to get our console repaired and working again... I mean nowadays when video games are so complex they are becoming nigh unbeatable, I need these old ones that I can understand and follow.

And I still have my paddles, joysticks AND imagination, so I'm all set.

27 People would rather be commenting:

Heather said...

It's amazing how far video games have come. I'm still a Pacman fan...they'll never beat that one! ;o)

Babs (Beetle) said...

Ha ha! Did we really think these games were fantastic! Yes, I remember playing tennis on my TV screen. Just a green screen with white paddles and a square block for a ball ha ha!

Now I can't be doing with the latest games - far too hard ;O)

JoJo said...

Oh Lawdy Lawdy Lawdy....I forgot how rudimentary video games were "back in the day". I used to love "pong" too. No wonder your daughter was hysterical.

So were these old games yours? Did you play them?

AshPup said...

I remember playing Atari at your place!! It totally beat our sucky intellivision in extreme graphics and futuristic game design! I agree with you on the newfangled systems being unplayable though, we still rock the supernintendo at my apartment and that's about as complicated as i can handle.

Maureen said...

Heather: Yes, it is amazing when you realize how far we've come. I loved Pacman too!

Babs: I know! We had Pong. Damn. I wish my parents had kept it. But we still have the Atari!

JoJo: Yes, we still have our Atari and all the games; probably near 40 games in it's own cabinet with the accessories and everything. We just need to get it repaired. And yes, hubby played Space Invaders all night. Literally. All. Night.

Ashley: Ha!! That's great that you remember!! I watch the teens play the new games and I am totally lost. I have no idea how they can figure them out. Geez. I am old...

Ann(ie) said...

I don't get the new ones. They stress me out. I am def an old school gamer! I kicked some frogger butt in my day. :)

Webradio said...


Tu aimes beacoup les bandes dessinées... J'aime aussi...

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hee hee, I used to love Killa Gorilla. I bet that looks really old now. :D

Ed & Jeanne said...

Great post Maureen. That's just so funny. But consider that those were awesome compared to earlier games. I remember "golf" where you had a "P" represent a person and the an "o" to represent the golf hole and then you typed in how far you wanted your putt to go. Each number essentially represented a space between you and the hole. Pathetic. And yet we played it incessantly. I actually own full vintage standup arcade games of Tron, Nibbler, and Crazy Climber right from the early 80s. I was a Pac Man nut too. I hit a million on it. I knew where to leave him so the ghosts couldn't find me allowing me to use the bathroom and play another four hours on a single quarter. Good stuff...

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

My son actually bought one of those recently so he could experience the "retro" gaming systems. Isn't it cool to know that we're now considered retro? Yeah, I'm going with that.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED my Atari games console!! But eventually, of course, it fell into disuse and I gave it away on Freecycle. Well, I had the computer by then and an Atari simulator so I could still play Space Invaders and Frogger.

You know what? My older son was SO MAD that I'd given it away without asking him first! He was furious, and almost tearful in his disappointment. Turns out that he wanted it!! He was about 23 years old at the time.

As a parent you just never can get it righ. *Sigh*

Jill said...

Recently I've realized how amazing it is that people didn't give up on some inventions way before they became useful. Like early vacuum cleaners - those things look like WAY more trouble than they're worth. But if people hadn't accepted and even *enjoyed* those early video games, there wouldn't even be Nintendo or Wii. In my mind, it just shows to go 'ya what amazing creatures people are. The sales pitch/picture difference between the real thing is pretty funny though! :-)

Janet said...

Oh, Maureen...I'm sure you'd be the Mom of the Year if you got those old games up and running again! lol

Maureen said...

Ann(ie): Hah! Frogger is a classic! Yeah, that was more my speed too.

WebRadio: Merci!

Jo: I never played Killa Gorilla... was that like Donkey Kong?

Wow VE, you really are a gamer! I would love some of the old standup games, but alas there is no room here for one. When I visited Skywalker Ranch in California, Steve's museum had many original Star Wars arcade games, which were so cool to play! And yeah, at least Atari HAD graphics. My very first computer game was the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy text game played on a dumb terminal modemed into the University servers. Very surreal to play back then...

Jeff: OOOh! I am SO retro!

Jay: I know, even with the purge there are some things I won't get rid of. The old games are one. But I need to take it (and perhaps the old Sega) to the local shop who repairs them. Perhaps after the holidays.... hmmm.

Jill: I never thought about it that way before... you are exactly correct. Even looking back at my experience with computers, I cringe at the BASIC programming I had to learn even to get the computer to work. Now it's a press of the button for incredible feats. We certainly are amazing creatures!

Janet: Hah! No doubt once it was repaired, hubby and I would never get time to play as daughter and her friends will probably hog it!

Irene said...

We had the original ping pong set and thought it was great until my 2 year old son shoved his peanut butter and jelly sandwich into it.

Tara R. said...

Pong Ruled!

toners said...

Imagination is all you need...which is just as well when you consider the quality of the images back then! LOL!! :) Our favorites were Pac Man (sigh...) and Asteroids :)

Karen MEG said...

I remember being so excited when we got the Atari console, after "Pong"... we felt so futuristic!

now I cannot get my hands around Guitar hero ... just CAN-NOT! My 3 yo daughter is even singing "Hit me with your Best shot"...and hitting the notes faster than I can.

OM Frickin' G - gettin' up there!

Cupcake Blonde said...

Ha! The side by side comparison of the promos versus what you really got were great! Nowadays I se some of these games and they look more real to me than reality. I think the imagination part was the most fun. And made it more challenging because you had to imagine what was going on. The horror!

JD at I Do Things said...

I've almost got my husband convinced that we NEED the arcade version of Gorf -- a favorite college game. I'll probably never buy a Wii or Nintendo, but I NEED THAT GAME!

JD at I Do Things

Bruce Johnson said...

I have been struggleing through the carnage that is "Medal of Honor: Rising Sun" on my Nintendo Game Cube. By the time it is all over, I will have died about 150 times and murdered the entire population of Japan several times over. What fun!

In the olden days, I was a wizard on Berzerk. I mean the arcade version, not the simplistic Atari Version. One pitcher of beer and 5 quarters were all I needed for a nights entertainment at my old College haunt. Them were good old days.

Anonymous said...

On a totally unrelated subject: I was forced to tag you with a meme.

You're lucky it was just a meme. It could have been something worse, like a battle axe or a nuclear submarine or something.

Anonymous said...

You did trigger some memories. My first computer was back in the early 90s - a Tandy from Radio Shack. Remember how absolutely primitive the games were on those? At the time it seemed like the coolest thing ever. Does anyone remember the original Pitfall Harry?

Stacey said...

I love the old school video games. To this day I get all giddy when I see Galaga.

Phoenix5 said...

I remember those games! (Did I just say that out loud???)

I also remember playing Asteroid on the VIC-20, and my all time favourite, Temple of Apshai (a text based RPG) on the C-64. Good times!

That said, I've adapted... and fragging my kids on the Playstation2 or Gamecube (I'm a "Late Adopter" of gaming consoles)is one of my secret (ok ,now NOT so secret) pleasures! :-)

Thanks for the chuckles...and memories!

Anonymous said...

I used to have the handheld Mattel basketball and football games; remember those? My sister had a Merlin. I grew to hate Merlin. I could never remember the sequences once he got past 9 or 10.

Maureen said...

Wow, being on vacation kept me from the blogosphere for nearly 10 days… it sure feels good to be back!

Lady Banana: Amiga rooled! And yes, patience was a virtue in many of those old games.

Irene: Ha! Poor Pong! I wish we still had ours.

Tara: That’s for sure! We were the only family on the block with one, so it got a lot of use!

Toners: My hubby used to play Asteroids for hours… it made me dizzy!

KarenMeg: Oh yeah. The kids nowadays have amazing reflexes. But I think we had the better imagination.

VP: Thanks! You are right, the imagination was the best part. BTW, is your blog still private? I would love to be added if so… I miss reading you!

JD: Oh, I wish we had an arcade game. But then again, nothing else would get done around here.

Lotus07: Wow, the graphics on that game is really amazing. It is unreal how far we have come from those simple pixel graphics.

Be.Bart: Sorry I haven’t been by! I’ve been in the US, so I need to pop by and see what all this tagging is about.

PaperCages: Welcome! And thank you! I still have my TRS80 from Radio Shack. And all my games. Although I never played Pitfall Harry… It WAS a cool unit though!

WM: Ha! I think I need to either get my old games fixed or play them online…

Phoenix5: My Vic30 is still safely stored downstairs, another machine in my computer museum. And you’re welcome for the memories!

NukeDad: Oh, hubby had the handheld football… and, STILL has it! My Merlin is sitting on my shelf in my office with a lot of my old toys and games. My coworkers think it’s the coolest office… and Merlin? It STILL works!!!

Thanks for all the comments during my absence... what a great thing to return home to!

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