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DANIEL: Where Does Your Passion For Gaming Come From? - Exploring Arcades


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For me it all started with Pong, then Atari 2600. I lived in a small town so there were no arcades. Instead I rode my bike 3 miles round trip with 4 quarters to play Kangaroo and Dig Dug. Video games have been my passion my whole life. Not to mention every old hand held games, D & D, and Magic The Gathering!

 "Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime."

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I think my passion for gaming comes from some adhd part of my brain where I get in the zone of flow and have to keep going and those brainwaves going for as long as they want to. I tend to play 80s / 90s arcade games that require constant response and keep my brain going to where I almost zone out. Whether it's Robotron, Gradius III, Out Run, Space Harrier, whatever, it's a constant GO! GO! GO! where you just cannot stop for one second. I'll play other games, adventure fighter games like Golden Axe, but those games are relatively calm. You walk around, attack a few guys, take a break to collect some power-ups and wander forward. Not to say that those games are easy, but your brain is operating on different waves. So for me it's always been about getting into the zone of flow and triggering that state of mind as if it were a nutrient for my brain.

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1979 and at my cousin's birthday party.....after the party we played the game "Adventure" for hours and I was hooked!

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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When I was 7 I played space invaders on a 2600. I got so good at it I flipped the score and the I flipped it twice. I then found that there was a need to be around anything game related for my entire life.

Will mod for food.

Atari 2600/7800/5200


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I remember playing some Pong clone when I was five or six ('78/'79) (the plastic revolver light gun is a very distinct memory, I just wish I remember what system it was). That was fun but not nearly as fun as the 2600 was.


Arcades were sparse in my area but the few times I visited one or hit a pizza place/bowling alley that had some cabinets, it was like a trip to Disneyland.


From there the passion grew exponentially with the NES, then the Genesis, N64, Dreamcast, PS2 & finally to the Xbox era. It's just as strong now, if not stronger, than it was 30+ years ago.

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Mine was definitely the 2600. I had a ton of family (aunts and ucnles) and every single one of them owned an Atari 2600. Guess who didn't own an Atari 2600? My parents haha... Pitfall and Q*Bert were my absolute favorites to play. So yeah, out of my entire family, everyone had one with the exception of my parents because they just weren't hip to the technology at the time, which I always joke about being switched at birth to this day since computers/games excited me from day 1 and my parents are just clueless, even to this day.


I remember seeing commercials for the (Atari) as well when I was like 4 and remember begging my mom for one but it just never happeend, I'm sure mostly because of the price at the time... being 4 and asking for an expensive Atari - the odds are against you my friends! lol... plus my entire family owned one so on the weekends when my parents went to play cards, I had access to an Atari almost always anyway... It wasn't but a few years later when my parents finally moved  and in the garage of the house they purchased, was an Atari 2600 with the game center storage unit and about 30 games just sitting there, left behind from the other owners - the only thing missing was an RF switch, which we picked up from Radio Shack for like $12 (I remember that being expensive then and even now it sounds expensive heh).


I can't remember exactly which model I had but it did have the vents open on the top that looked like it was intended for speakers. As a kid, I always wondered if there was just something wrong with my system and why they didn't include speakers with the Atari since that's what it looked like it was for. It wasn't until I was an adult when I learned that those openings were actually intended to be used for included speakers.... much to my surprise ;-) Anyways, I got an NES shortly after and the Atari collected dust before realizing how much I missed it.

7800 - 130XE - XEGS - Lynx - Jaguar - ISO: Atari Falcon030 | STBook |STe


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Probably from Pong. The first time i ever watched a videogame in action was in mid 70's. It was a Pong arcade machine in a cafe in southern Sweden. Then several of my friends bough Pong consoles. My first own console was a Fairchild Channel F. My first Atari product was Atari 800 XL early 1985. Since then i have been a gamer, but mostly retrogamer these days. ;)

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For me, because I'm younger, the first game that I really remember playing was pinball for the Windows XP. Then I remember playing Diablo with my Dad when I was younger. Then as I got older, I got into Toontown Online. Then I got into a game called FusionFall. Then Minecraft. Then Team Fortress 2. Then Half Life. I was getting tired of the noncollectable feeling of games after Toontown closed and it took forever for the fan project to surface. I decided to go back to the time of the Atari and Nintendo. I was looking for an NES at first, but now from being on this forum, I started with the basics, the 2600. 

young Atari lover

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My grandmother loved taking me and my brother to the Mall (about 30 mins away) to buy toys, books, etc.   She loved to people watch.    When I was old enough to reach a joystick, there were already some "electronic" and early video games.   So my passion comes from my grandmother's quarters.  She would give me handfulls to go into our Mall's arcade (called the Gold Mine) while she sat outside people watching.   My early favorite was one of the light based games, mechanical...you shot a harpoon gun at manta rays!   I was good at that. :)


My first home system was a pong system, followed by Intellivision, Atari, Vic-20, C-64, NES, Sega.....and on and on and on to this day where I probably spend as much time playing PC games as I do console.

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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My #1 gaming passion is arcade games. First one I played was Pong in 1975. In the late 70s/early 80s I would frequent the mall arcade or the bowling alley game room. I would play video games, projector games, electromechanical games and pinball. Plus the mall arcade environment was electric. You can't get all that from a home console. Which is why when I got my Atari 2600 in 1980 it was simply a gaming fix for when I couldn't get to the arcade.


My favorite games are those released in the golden age of arcade gaming which IMO ended with the laser disc games. I think the only arcade game I played beyond 1984 was Arkanoid as I began playing a lot of pinball in the mid to late 80s.


I have no interest in console gaming beyond the NES or Atari 7800 with the exceptions of Crazy Taxi, Daytona USA and Pac-Man Museum on the 360.

⚠️ THIS MEMBER HAS BEEN BANNED FOR THE FOLLOWING INCIDENT: http://forums.atari.io/index.php/topic/475-theretrocade/?p=7683

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This is a terrific thread that gets to the thumping heart of my inner gamer. I truly enjoy reading your gaming origins, as the grown manchild I am knows that back then we were experiencing the craze at the same time and I found it hard to get my buddies to rave about arcades and home video games. It soon devolved into jokes and school days chats.

But there was always that...something...beyond the pixels - the very existence of it - that made me a believer.


So this forum - and fellow retro sites - are best thing ever to that neverending gamer life.


That said, my first 'awakening' of interactive game machines happened on a regular basis at our local pharmacy - less than a minute's walk from my family's apartment.

It was this mechanical game where you controlled a helicopter spinning across a plastic terrain, touching posts along the way.

I musta been...4?...5 years old?

Had to stand on a stool to play it. My dad got a kick out of watching me successfully light up the posts. I got a kick out of those moments.

The game was Whirly Bird:



A lotta pinballs with those electric dials in many diners and restaurants and garages on the Trans-Canada highway, along the way.


Then the dust settled with a lifetime's worth of 70s TV, as an older kid who got sick a lot and got to stay home and watch Carson.

So when the Atari 2600 emerged into TV commercials and those Electronic Games magazines I had started to get, it was love at first sight.


The thing about the 2600 is that the basic look of it reminds of the mechanical origins of those first, old arcade gems like the 'Plinko-ish' baseball games, that whirly bird, the odd nickel games which would flash its bulbs randomly behind a bezelled result like a Yes/No Zoltar-ish thing (mebbe I dreamed those up).


So the VCS was a combination of those old games I had played back when we were traveling as a familt unit but no longer. And it also merged with this wonderful idiot-box companion I stared at most of the day (and now would get to obey me by clutching a stick in its direction!).

It was truly the best of both worlds.


Sure, there were other consoles after that: the occasional Intellivision unit rentals (Rental time-limit made me appreciate its offerings, but the subsequent Imagic titles we tried on it made me sorry we weren't rich enough to buy one).

This would earn second place for being of the same generation - and me being of that age of initial wonderment.


Had a Colecovision, which was gifted to me cuz I like video games, and even though there were fun moments on it (beating Miner 2049er on it is tops) I kinda mostly played to make the giver feel good about it.

Impressive console. Truly and undeniably. On retrospect, it is unique and would never say a bad thing about it. Mebbe those controllers killed the mood, most times.


Got an NES, at a point where I was growing out of it (mebbe in an effort to keep me as a child and not grow up - wasn't gonna happen).

Played two things on it: Double Dragon (hella fun! Some of the best co-op with my best gamer bud) and The Legend of Zelda.

This was more than a regular game, played it well into the night, its soothing music creating an atmosphere of comfort unmatched since.

The game wasn't mine, had to give it back eventually. This whole experience made me appreciate my ownership of the VCS and its own quiet realm of aural zen space.


So yeah, as usual, I can't stop typing about stuff I love.

Thanks again to this site for giving us a space to do so.

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