Atari to Reissue Scores of Old Games / “Well, they were great 20 years ago…”

As reported by the Associated Press, Atari has ?plans to reissue scores of its classic titles from yesteryear on a single disc that can be played on the game consoles Xbox and PlayStation 2.?

All this fun stuff reminds me of an old blog entry I wrote a while back…

Well, they were great 20 years ago…

Pong, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong…

If you were born between 1965 and 1975, you were fortunate enough to experience the Golden Age of Video Games. Those of us of this generation were post-Baby Boom and pre-Generation X; we were the first computerized, video game generation. We were the first electronic generation. We were Generation V-G. It was wonderful.

Asteroids, Super Mario Brothers, Pac Man…

What brought me to this? A simple article on the Web edition of Electronic Gaming Monthly, aptly entitled Child’s Play. This article is a synopsis of what happens when a bunch of 10 to 13 year-olds (who probably can’t program their way out of the box without 3D acceleration and 256MB of RAM) try out those video game classics we grew up with: Pong, Donkey Kong, Mattel’s Handheld Football, Tetris, Super Mario Brothers (the NES version), Space Invaders, and E.T. (for the Atari 2600).

Track and Field, Centipede, Lunar Lander…

If you thought the attention span of the modern child is short, put them in front of a 16-color highly pixelated 2D Super Mario. Reading through the article makes me think of three things:

  1. Kids like video games where things blow up.
  2. Kids are not nostalgic.
  3. Pre-teens know what a hooker is.

Rather than cry about the plight of the next generation (don’t worry, I plan on taking very good care of myself so as not to be a burdern on you), I took a look around the Web to find those places that hold true to the nostalgia of days gone by.

  • PONG-Story: A site dedicated to Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the first video game, PONG. After going through this site, I realize that PONG was not the first video game – but it was my first video game.
  • RetroGames: It’s more about game emulation than about the games themselves. It include links to the best tool for playing the games of yesterday on your PC, MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), the greatest and most comprehensive arcade game emulator, and some very popular message forums (with a horrible interface).
  • Classic Videogame Ads: It’s not about the games, but about the game marketing. After seeing the BurgerTime ad, I wonder how I ever forgot it. Oh, and whereas today kids argue about who has more expensive P. Diddy sportswear, in my day we argued Intellivision vs. Atari.
  • Intellivision Lives: Yes, it does live, and I’m amazed that it kept such a following. Actually, I’m not amazed. I was so excited when the handheld Intellivision game that plugs right into your TV came out that I bought it promptly opened it as soon as I got home. Let me say, it sucked. It had 25 games but none of them were quite the same. Even the sounds were wrong. I simply can’t play Night Stalker without the distinct heartbeat sound (even the robots never changed, unlike the real game), or Skiing without the distinct swoosh of the skis or the crack when you hit a tree. Yes, all this stuff was rudely missing. Fortunately, you can play the Intellivision classics on your PC – some offered as free downloads, and the larger collections from Intellivision Lives (includes all Mattel Electronics games), Intellivision Rocks (includes all Activision and Imagic games), and Intellivision’s Greatest Hits (retail collections).
  • The Killer List of Videogames: It is the killer list – as of this writing, 4,174 different arcade games. An incredible collection of information, screenshots, and 3-D models of the machines that ate every quarter that fell in your pocket.

I’ll try to throw more your way in the future, but until then…

Time Pilot, Defender, Pole Position, Missile Command, Robotron 2084…

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