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My Atari 2600 Wasn't Really Mine


Museum Matt

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No matter what I want to think or believe, my first Atari wasn't really mine. No, it didn't belong to a neighbor or one of my parents.

 

Believe it or not, it belonged to my grandparents. Sometime around 1981-82, they wanted something to entertain the grand kids and bought the system.

 

I was the third grandchild. I had two older cousins, one born in 69, the other in 73 (I am a 77 baby). So, they decided to buy the hottest thing on the game/toy market at the time, the Atari 2600.

 

I can remember watching my older cousins play Asteroids, Centipede, and Pac-Man, or was it Ms. Pac-Man? Those were great games. They let me play sometimes, and I can vividly recall getting excited when Grandma would let us buy new games. I bought Pitfall when I was about 6 and played it until my wrists and fingers hurt.

 

And there were other games too. I can't even remember them all. What I do remember is summer days spent at my grandparents house. Grandma made breakfast every morning. I would swim during the day, watch the news with them when my grandfather came home from work, and then spend the evening in the back bedroom, on the "second TV" playing Atari. Sometimes with my cousins, sometimes with the kids from next door, but often times...just by myself. I was hooked on gaming, and the Atari 2600 was my gateway drug.

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My first Atari wasn't an Atari at all, it was a Coleco Gemini. For those of you that don't know, the Gemini was a 2600 clone that came with combination paddle/joystick controllers and Donkey Kong and Mouse Trap packed in. It played all 2600 games and was a bit smaller than the 4-switch Vader that was out at the time. I wish I still had it.

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My first Atari was actually my parents' 2600. We had Pac-Man, Space War, Outlaw, Night Driver, and Dodge 'Em as our first games. The Atari collection eventually got bigger and we started getting games like Frogger, Crystal Castles, Popeye, and Taz. Those were the good old days. My father got tired of the Atari collection and I asked him if I could have it. He conceded and let me have it. Thirty-three years and almost 220 games later (not to mention collecting other games for my other Atari systems and computers, which I will go into at a later time), I still have it and the collection is still growing. By the way, almost all of my Atari 2600 game cartridges still function (my Taz cartridge was damaged). So, I guess I am a real Atari junkie.  :rofl:

 

P.S. By the way, sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been quite busy in my working life. Being a professional artist and video editor is like that. Thanks for letting me share

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Yeah oddly, my first 2600 playing back in the day was on a friends console. Oh, I had many of my own loose cartridges but I spent more time looking at them in the little plastic storage case then actually playing them since I had to take them to my friends lol. The thing though, his mom was weird, very strict and on top of that like many adults back then believed having it running to long would end up wrecking the TV. But it was not only enough to simply turn off the system, no, you had to disconnect, wrap everything back up and store it back in the box, like I said, weird. So needless to say playing it usually took place after Gord's mom went to bed and of course we had to be quiet as well. But between my carts and his I still managed to play a lot despite the circumstances and it usually resulted in Gord falling asleep while I continued playing into the wee hours, some favorites were Cosmic Ark, of course Space Invaders and Breakout. It was not until some time later I got my own Vader model finally.

I am Rob aka MaximumRD aka OldSchoolRetroGamer and THIS is my world http://about.me/maximumrd

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Thanks for sharing MM!

I know my first 2600 experiences came from my uncle. I can vividly remember going down into his basement, seeing the TV with the Atari hooked up and just staring at the Home Run cartridge artwork. Plus he had an air hockey table, so it was just the coolest thing ever to be there visiting. (That probably helps explain why I LOVE basements)

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