Video Games Then and Now

For the first time in decades I have been playing a video game.

Growing up, we had a state of the art video game console in the house, an Atari 2600. This machine was impressive… For the late 1970’s. Specifications included color graphics, 160×192 pixel resolution, and monaural sound. My brother and I played for hours, eventually beating some of the joysticks to the point where they required replacement. I mastered Space Invaders, I could play through all of the levels, wrapping back to level 1 for as long as my stamina allowed.

Atari Tanks
Atari tanks game, circa 1978
One of the games bundled with the Atari was Combat, there were four games on the cartridge including a tank game. I look back on that first game, one of the first we played on that console, with a bit of nostalgia. Two tanks maneuvered around a simple obstacle course, with a point awarded for each shot that hit the opponent. The audio was similarly quite simple, a basic growling sound meant to sound like engines and a few sound effects for the shots.

In the intervening decades I have seldom played video games with any great intensity. There was an Apple II space adventure game called Elite that I did play for a while in the 1980’s, but little else.

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