Not many arcade players noticed, but in December of 1984, the sound of video games changed for the better, forever.
I certainly noticed. I pumped quarter after quarter into that Marble Madness machine, not just because I enjoyed the (admittedly very challenging) game, but because I had to hear that music, one more time. Continue reading →
The first brand feud I can remember is Atari vs. Intellivision.
Note Major League Baseball endorsement. And misspelling of product name in quote. Superior, my Aunt Fanny.
Some kids had an Atari 2600 game console; some kids had an Intellivision. (Some kids had an Odyssey 2 or a Vectrex, but not for very long.) Atari kids hated Intellivision kids, and vice versa. The TV commercials for both brands stoked this hatred; George Plimpton appeared in an ad for Intellivision, which he explained meant “Intelligent Television”. Ergo, kids who played Atari were stupid.Continue reading →
Earlier today, I suffered a terrible tumble from my high horse. During yet another lament about the endless saturation of smartphones, my rose-colored recollection of my own childhood was shattered when I realized that in grade school 35 years ago, my generation was gazing at little electronic rectangles too.
They weren’t easy to get, either; I only ever saw them in the windows of weird electronics stores in NYC, the kind of places you’d expect to have a mogwai for sale. Most of the games didn’t take regular batteries, but instead used the teeny watch kind that you had to ask your grandma for (grandmas always had them). Typically, the sound consisted of high-pitched beeps, and could not be turned off, so play was often halted by grown-ups with more hearing than patience.