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Paul S avatar 9:48 PM on 12.25.2011  (server time)
Giving: My introduction to gaming

The way I figure it, based on my memories and checking release dates, today marks 30 years since I was introduced to gaming.

That, up there is the big gift that awaited me along with my brother and sister on Christmas morning, 1981. The Atari Video Computer System. It wasn't called the 2600 just yet. Sitting on the floor was the big, colorful box surrounded by several cartridges, or "tapes" as my uninformed four-year-old self called them. While there were several games we got that day, the ones that stand out are perhaps the very first video games I ever played: Combat and Space Invaders. I want to say Space Invaders came first, but I can't be sure. I'm not too sure what the other games we got that day were, but I know Warlords was one of them.

Anyway, over the next few years other games would follow. Adventure, Missile Command, Freeway, Berserk, Kaboom!, Demons to Diamonds, Air Sea Battle, Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and so many more. With the amount of love and attention I gave to the games, it was clear that gaming was going to be a serious part of my life. Me and that woodgrain box hooked up to the old "portable" TV in the den.

Even during the dark days of the Crash, I still played. Sad that the world had seemed to have forgotten gaming, but perhaps hoping that things would improve. And they did. The moment I saw the first new 2600 commercial in 1987, I was ecstatic. Games were back on the shelves! There were even new titles! Things were good again! I would endlessly pester my parents to take me to the stores to check out the selection of re-released games that were once again in stock.

Naturally, that only lasted so long, and eventually I ended up getting a NES like everyone else. But the 2600 was still there, and I would still play it from time to time. Hell, I remember when the first 99 cent stores appeared some twenty years ago, and even they had leftover 2600 games.

The system was not without its problems. I can remember it being taken in for repairs once, for what I don't know. Joysticks fell apart and were replaced. The AV selector was phased out. Power cords went fast. But it's still here, and it still works. Never would I have considered selling it or giving it away, it was just that important to me.

With the appearance of used game stores and the benefit of a stable income, I've been able to fulfill some old dreams and pick up copies of games I only read about or played at other peoples houses... not to mention pick up games that my sister took around 1993 to play on her then-boyfriend's Colecovision. Kinda funny how playing some of those titles fire up old memories. I played Flag Capture, and the sounds made me think of the hot dogs and fries from Superdawg that would be brought over to my cousin's house.

So many memories. And to think that its been 30 years now.

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