I actually made my parents buy me the ET game (at full retail!). I played the hell out of that game. It was a bit of a shock to me to later come to learn that that has been deemed the worst game ever made, and a large underground mountain of unsold cartridges is buried somewhere in the desert. I guess I was easily amused as a kid.
Of course, I’m hanging out at Meh late at night… I’m apparently still easily amused.
@shahnm@tinsami1 Hey, I had one of those also! I did not have the fancy cassette recorder cable to save my work until later; that meant when you turned it on you had to type in a couple dozen lines of DOS code manually to make it do anything. Could not afford the game cartridges at first either.
@tinsami1 I still have one, and a briefcase full of cartridges. My kids still love to play A-MAZE-ING, Hunt the Wumpus (The TI version is different than the standard version of that game), and Hang Man.
I’d like to go back and play Parsec, but my joysticks don’t really work very well anymore.
@Barney Yeah, multi-ball games were the best. There was a video arcade in the shopping center a block from my school, and i dropped tons of quarters there. I could get 9 keys on Pac-Man eventually just from memorizing the patterns to run.
Those skills stick with you. Even today, as long as whatever pinball machine I find is fully functional (no dead bumpers or weak flippers), I can usually win a game in two or three tries (including specials and matches).
Never got a video game system, until i was old enough to save money earned doing chores for people and buy the original pong. I didn’t realize it at the time, but our family was really poor. i do remember one year at christmas my parents apparently had no money, but my dad taped newspapers all over the garage windows and locked the door for weeks. He made us all our presents, including a wooden pinball machine. That was going on 50 years ago; I still have the nice wooden spice rack he made my mom that year out of reclaimed pallet wood.
Digital football game with the red blinking lights that represented the players for the other team and you could only move up or down one space and forward until “tackled”. Still have it somewhere. Played that thing for hours on end!
I wasn’t allowed to own a console as a child until my uncle found an Atari 5200 with a shoebox full of cartridges at a yard sale for a dollar. He gave it to me and my sister, and we played a lot of Mario Bros., Qix, Pengo, Dig Dug, and Vanguard. I was intensely jealous of my cousin’s succession of Sega Genesis, N64, and then GameCube. When I moved into my college dorm, the first thing I did was buy a PS2 at a pawn shop.
@medz Yeah, that’s the one. I still have mine, but not sure if you can hook it to modern TVs. Those were rabbit ear days, and TVs don’t have those 2 little screws on the back any more.
Our family TV was a 12 in B&W on the table downstairs; when changing the channel with the rotary knob, you then had to move the TV all around on the table to get the best reception, and everyone would have to scoot their chairs back and forth to follow it.
Good news: Everyone in this thread can relive their childhood through the magic of the Internet Archive: The Console Living Room
You can play most of the non-Nintendo consoles mentioned in this thread directly in your browser (on any device).
Afterwards, considering giving a donation to the Internet Archive (tax deductible for those in the US).
First console was the Atari 2600, from which I went to the Commodore 64. Played lots of Pong with my sister at the store display at Sears though. But the oldest console/computer I played with (long after it was considered obsolete, and found at a garage sale for a few bucks) was the Timex Sinclair 1000.
Not technically consoles, but our first electronic games in the house were Merlin and Simon.
Coleco pong game; I think it was a Telstar but it was black and had 4 variant black and white pong type games. Then I got an Apple ][ plus in 1981 and didn’t get back to consoles until the SNES many years later.
I’m 30 years old. When I was about 5, my first introduction to gaming was playing Super Mario World and Operation Desert Storm on my older cousin’s SNES, laying on the shag carpet in front of their huge (to me, at the time) 27-inch console television. Fast forward a bit and I inherit my other cousin’s Jungle Green Nintendo 64 when he bought his original Xbox new in 2001…that N64 was the first console I could officially call my own. We used to play MarioKart 64 and Donkey Kong 64 for hours on end…hell, I still do! I can still remember going up to Target to buy a third N64 controller in Grape Purple so a friend could play MarioKart with us. I still have that controller and all the games! That was the beginning of a lifelong Nintendo allegiance. I’ve now got every console they’ve released in North America (including the ill-fated Virtual Boy) and even some Japan-only ones, like the Game Boy Light. My addiction hasn’t faltered at all; I’m still enjoying Super Mario Odyssey on my Switch.
@PooltoyWolf Yeah, it was a big deal. The Nintendo 64 controller discretizes the thumb stick position using light gates. If you open it up, you’ll see that each of the two axes goes to a half-wheel with a bunch of holes. The light gate counts the “ons” and “offs” to determine position, and you get 32 discrete positions per axis.
Most other analog thumbstick controllers use potentiometers that run straight to analog-digital converters to be discretized. The original Playstation did this and had, I think, 128 discrete positions per axis.
An old “how-stuff-works” article on the Nintendo 64 controller made a point of mentioning how it was “actually digital,” and several people believed that this distinction needed to be called out in the article on the controller, and that it was not a “true” analog thumbstick.
This ignores, of course, the fact that virtually all analog thumbsticks are immediately discretized on the controller before sending the position to the controller. It also ignores the fact that you can buy drop-in replacements for the N64 thumbstick that use the potentiometer method.
The only “true” analog controllers I can think of are some very old dial controllers, which really did just pass a voltage to the console or computer. Of course, this input would then be immediately discretized on the console side for use in the game.
IIRC, the whole article is way different now, and there’s no trace of the argument in the article talk page anymore.
@medz@mike808 I’m not sure the term “verbize” applies here, as it seems to imply the creation of a new or unrecognized word.
“Discretize” is a word that has been in regular use for many decades. It’s quite possible that there are uses more than a century old in Applied Mathematics texts, but I’m not planning to go digging for them right now.
@Limewater@medz It applies. It is the act of appending a suffix of “ize” to a noun, thus creating a verb form of that noun. In short, “descrete” was verbized into the “discretize” form used here. When that happened does not change that it did. It is not a portmanteau.
Didn’t have an Atari 2600, but had an Atari 400. Loved that thing! My father subscribed to an Atari magazine and would stay up all night typing in the code for the games included in it. Then, he’d store them on cassette tapes that took about 10 minutes to load each time we wanted to play. Oh, those were the days! The music from Mountain King still haunts me to this day…
@billchase2 I actually went to an Atari computer camp at East Stroudsburg State College when I was about 14. I recall using 800XL’s. That camp was crazy expensive for the era but I had the time of my life. Irrelevant side story - I became friends with a kid there named Faust Capobianco. His name always stuck with me as it was so unique. We stayed in touch for a few years before our contact ended. Later in life I discovered Faust’s father started Majestic Athletic and eventually Faust took over as President of the company. Pretty much wishing I stayed friends with him…
Does playing a Nim game on a teletype console (with hard copy print out!) attached to a Xerox Sigma 6 count?
I wrote the game in the 70’s for an assignment in college. The cool part was that the game incorporated heuristics to learn the best strategies - the more you played it, the better it got and the harder it was to beat.
@macromeh My roomy was an operator at the university; he got to play Space Wars and other games on the console of the CDC Cyber 70 Model 73. We had a lot of games that unpriv’d users could play but not on the console so I didn’t consider them.
But I once used up a roll of paper playing Star Trek on a KSR-33 teletype connected to that same Cyber. And the original Fortran Colossal Cave adventure too. Fun times! I was supposed to be doing homework!
@duodec I spent many hours playing (Colossal Cave) Adventure during my internship at Intel. The version was a port to their standalone workstations, which ran a CPM-like OS, ISIS. It was wide-open, so I figured out how to hack my character to be basically invulnerable and wandered the maze, making a map. (I think I may still have a copy of the map somewhere.) Anyway, once I did that, the game was pretty boring, so I never played again.
@macromeh I’m not certain after all these years, and the fact that I’ve had stuff in storage for 25 years that I really should go through, but I once got access to an operator account and both printed out and punched (on IBM Hollerith cards) the Fortran source and the rather large data file for Adventure. Like I’ll ever be able to read those cards in again… who knew that punch cards would become obsolete so quickly?
technically none, because despite asking for whatever console (sega & sega saturn both ring particular bells) my parents never allowed me to have one. as such i now can’t play any video games because i lack the understanding and dexterity lol. oh well, could be worse! my godmother had an old gameboy with tetris so i did play that on the rare occasion we were at her house, and i do still enjoy tetris.
the closest thing i had to video games were these:
@moondrake I still go back to my Wii too. Metroid Prime is so good! Mario Kart, Super Smash, Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Mario Party 8 (I have 9, but never cared for it), the list goes on and on.
I finally soft-modded mine so I could rip the games I have to a thumb drive I just leave in the system now. I got all my Wii and GC titles pulled off onto a 64GB stick, so, it’s super convenient to play. Not to mention all the classic titles I bought when they started rolling thouse out! The old Super Mario Twins games still get a lot of play too. I don’t play much of the NES games on there since getting an NEC Classic, but the clock speed is off on that for some games, so I still fire up the Wii for some of those.
Honestly, it was such an incredible platform. I should see about getting one cheap now before them become hard to find and expensive so I can replace mine when it finally bites the dust.
Before games that connected to the tv, I had this football game in the early/mid ’70s. It was a box with a light in it. There were sets of translucent cards for offense and defense. Each player would put in their card. They could be shifted left and right for variations. Once in, you’d slide down the opaque top cover and watch the progress of the play. If the progress of the offensive player with the ball hit a defensive player, the play was over. Anyone have any idea what that was?
Interesting anecdote (probably only interesting to me). I got this for Christmas in 1977 and even way back then, the airline wouldn’t let me take it on the plane , because it had a picture of a gun on it (I was shuttling between divorced parents). My brother (10 years older than me – I thought of him as an “adult”, but he was still in college), adamantly debated person after person until he finally talked to someone on the flight crew, who agreed to hold box during the flight and give it back to me upon landing.
Vectrex! It wasn’t the family’s first, (dad bought us a 2600, I got a Colecovision, my brother got the Vectrex). It was cool and self contained and we set it up in our bedroom like an arcade machine. Wish we still had it, my brother went in the Navy and it was stolen in one of his moves.
@lisaviolet I live with his soul brother! Last time I hooked it up the controllers were dry rotting but you can still buy new ones. The hardest thing now is probably figuring out how to hook it up to a TV.
The bags of chips are games. My husband worked for Commodore who made the Atari game chips. The chips often failed simply because they were mislabeled, a win for us. Yes, we still have a Commodore 64 too.
Pretty sure this beauty, the Atari Pinball, was my first, and damn did I play the CRAP out of it. If I were to wager a guess, I’d say it was probably 1977, which made me only about 9 at that time…I really like the feature pointed out on the box “Color (on color tv sets)”
Oh Oh OH!! I just remembered… the Winky Dink & You Interactive tv screen! Not actually a game but hey, it was cool! I begged begged begged my parents for it. So I could interact with Winky. Anyone else remember that?
My family had an Odyssey (and a pinball machine that we rotated out once a year or so). My first personal system was the 2600 until I got my Commodore 64 and the 2600 was pretty quickly pushed to the back of the closet.