After talking recently about modern technology and drones , today I’d like to talk about computers and video games consoles, especially the old classics (remember the Atari?) that take us back to our childhood and give us fond memories of our first real experience with electronics.
I’m not sure exactly why I got thinking about all this really, as old 80’s classics back in the day, while contributing to a fantastic era to grow up in is seldom thought about, especially as the video game industry has grown exponentially over the years.
I was mindlessly swiping through my newsfeed on Facebook the other day and I came across a post from a friend of mine sharing a link to a YouTube video with a corresponding comment saying something along the lines of ‘Hilarious! You’ve got to see this!’ I naturally clicked and it was basically a video of a young man playing a video game in his bedroom. To the viewer, all you could see was his screen and the activity on it and hear the sounds of the game as he was playing. It was what looked to me like a war-based game but with horses and a myriad of modern advanced weaponry and to be honest, the graphics and playability looked the best I’ve ever seen. It was amazing. What was more impressive however was the audio. Some chief or commander gave a running commentary as the bloodshed took place in the form of observations and orders shouted to his team. This in itself, was exceptional. It was no different to watching a modern day Oscar winning warfare movie, with the lead role being performed and delivered superbly. It was only when the boy’s mother walked in the room that I realized what was going on. The commentary stopped momentarily and continued with ‘Can’t you see I’m playing a game here mom?’ It was the lad playing the video who was providing the audio the whole time! At first I honestly thought he had the volume up and was playing silently. Anyway, I digress slightly.
Technology of old
All this got me thinking about just how far technology has come. Video games when I was a teenager were nothing compared to this. I appreciate that it’s all relative but I struggle to imagine now how excited we used to get as kids when new games came out on to the market. Poorly digitized blocks moving around other blocks firing pixels into other blocks accompanied by the most awful bleeps and sonic crashes. The two couldn’t be so far removed from each other. However, when I think back to my childhood, nothing gives me more joy than to reminisce over the early games we accumulated and the basic electronic devices, the consoles we had at our disposal to try and play them. Back then the whole concept of technology was new, and these games consoles, to us, were groundbreaking.
The first I can remember wasn’t a console as such, at least not as we know it today, it was more of a small black plastic box with a power switch, a connector that connected to the aerial socket on the back of a black and white portable TV and two hand-held controllers - each with one (just one) control knob in the centre. This could be turned clockwise or counter-clockwise (like a volume dial) in order to achieve a left/right or up/down combination. These were called ‘paddles’ if I remember correctly. Once turned on, the game had one load up screen with a selection of options. The options were called games but consisted only of a moving ball that was always in motion and one or a series of hard moveable surfaces that you controlled with your paddle. When two players got together with their corresponding paddles the game function as what we know today as tennis. How times have changed. I was possibly six or seven years old back then.
A year or so after I discovered the first real games console that everything else would possibly originate from. It was called an Atari 2600 and to us back then it was something that revolutionized the gaming industry. The Atari had a huge port in the centre whereby you could insert games cartridges. This excited us beyond measure. Games were in colour and it seemed like the days of the paddle were finally over as we finally became acquainted with its successor: the joystick. I don’t think we saw daylight for weeks. I can only assume the chap in the YouTube video hasn’t either. If you're interested in getting hold of one of these classic consoles, there's a great site selling used consoles at great rates. Check out http://www.used.forsale for more info.
Thanks for reading guys! Until next time..