Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Video Games

A brief break in the action to announce that my first post for xoJane went live yesterday. Check it out if you get a chance!


This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:



No retrospective of the 80s would be complete without a mention of video games. It was, after all, the era in which the medium came of age. But would you believe that video games can be traced as far back as 1950?



Bertie the Brain was an electronic game of Tic-Tac-Toe displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition for two weeks, then disassembled. There were many other games over the years, but the first commercially-available arcade game was 1971's Computer Space.



True 80s video game fanatics think of the Atari as the true beginning of gaming. When the Atari 2600 released in 1977, it definitely made an impact. Believe it or not, this seemed pretty advanced for the time.



What really popularized gaming in the 80s, however, was the arcade. Playing games became an event. You left your house and went to the mall or a nearby shopping center, where you could play whatever game you wanted for a few minutes for the cost of a quarter. The first arcade game was Space Invaders and it remained an arcade staple through much of the 80s.



Then came this game...which captured the interest of even total non-gamers like me.




There was even a hit song, Pac-Man Fever.




The industry "crashed" around 1983, with multiple video game equipment/console manufacturers going bankrupt. Arcades remained around for a few years, though. My friends and I always thought of it as "the place where all the cute boys hang out." Of course, they were too busy playing games to pay attention to us.



Arcades are still around (Dave & Buster's, mostly), but somehow it isn't quite the same.



Have you ever played an 80s-style video game?

65 comments:

  1. I never played in an arcade but I played a couple of video games at home... it has been years since I've played any online or video games. ;-)

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    1. I play SongPop on my smartphone but I'm behind right now...this week is chaotic! I don't like the pressure of feeling like I have to keep up with a game.

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  2. Played? I lived them!
    Arcades now are so different. The games are interactive and many involve fighting or driving.
    Our family started with Pong and then moved up to Atari, and I spent many hours playing those games. Pac Man as also a favorite of mine, so I wasted many a quarter playing it in the arcade.

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    1. I did love Pac Man in my day. That was the one game I'd play at an arcade without someone having to make me!

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  3. All the time! My uncle had an Atari. We couldn't afford one:) So we saved our quarters and went to the arcade in the mall. Gotta love the 80s! I remember playing Frogger and, of course, PacMan.

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    1. We had one of those handheld Pac Man games at one time. I felt like we really had something special. I can't remember who had it--it wasn't mine. I just remember having to share time on it with my sister and stepsister.

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  4. nope, never played any game, we never had them.... and I only played one computer game in my life too :)

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  5. Played them a bit at my sea, but by then the nes and snes came out and that was where I sat, playing away. Kept my quarters that way haha

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    1. It is amazing to think that at one time we had to pay a quarter every time we wanted to play a game. It's no wonder arcades went away. Dave & Busters is outrageously expensive, but it's something fun to take kids to if they're bored.

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  6. we had our own 'space invaders' arcade game that my husband loved to play. it finally died.

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    1. I've known people who had arcade games in their home. Seems like fun!

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  7. I remember waiting in line at a bar to play "Pong"

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    1. I think I remember people playing pong when I visited homes as a kid...but I can't say for sure it was pong.

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  8. I had an Atari in my house, just like everyone else back in the 80s. But I wasn't as into playing video games 24/7 like my little brother and all his friends. They barely went outside anymore, and that's just not me. I needed the fresh air and the sunshine or life is too depressing. I'm still not much of a gamer for the same reasons.

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    1. You knew at the time that was a bad thing so you went outside and enjoyed life. Those video games can be way too addictive.

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  9. I've been to these arcades many of times. My son loved them with a passion. So, I'd go with him and supply the money. I wonderful memory. He'll be 45 in August.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I still remember getting to play free video games if you brought a report card in and showed you got all As!

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  10. I used to love this game called "Haunted House" that was played on an Atari. I didn't know the industry crashed in '83! I bet a lot of people lost their shirts when that happened.

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    1. That sounds like a fun game! I think the industry crashed when people realized, "Hey, we're wasting a fortune in quarters at the arcade. We could just get a home gaming console and play all the games we want for free!"

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  11. I remember the arcade games. I even have an old Atari. Can't play it because the controls don't work, but it's still in the top of the closet. We used to play Pac Man on the TV. I loved that game.

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    1. That Atari could be worth money! Probably not... At the very least, it's a good "antique" to pass on to the next generation.

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  12. The 83 crash was pretty much all Atari's fault. Back then it was amazing to "interact with TV" but play a lot of those games and most of them are really shallow. A lot of flash games on computers in the late 90s had more action and game-time. Even the good arcades on Atari 2600 were laughably bad.

    Nintendo made it bounce back in 1985, and that was because the NES had games that are still considered really good today.

    Arcades have taken quite the hit, mostly just in pizza places and Dave and Busters. I guess the fault there is why pay a few quarters when you can play games for free at home with no time limits.

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    1. Great insight into it. Thank you!

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  13. I hadn't even thought about video games as having their beginning in the 80's.

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    1. It was a big part of my adolescence. We had an arcade called Barrel of Fun in our mall...I actually met my first boyfriend there. He was a jerk...so maybe arcades weren't good! But I have good memories of hanging out in arcades with friends.

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  14. Of course! That's one of the key memories of the 80s for me. We had a Commodore 64. That was the good old days of games on a cassette tape that took half an hour to load. I know nothing of the '83 crash, but I only turned 3 that year! Was heavily into RPGs in the 90s, but now, I don't play anything at all. If I only had the time!

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    1. I didn't realize they took a while to load! It's funny how you choose what you remember.

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  15. Bertie the Brain was disassembled? "No disassemble Stephanie".
    Can you name the 80's movie that quote is from?
    Yes, I used to live in the arcade. My game was Tron, Donkey Kong of Qix.
    There was even an arcade here in Milwaukee till just about five years ago.
    Sadly, it finally closed.
    Thanks for the post and the memories.

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    1. Ahhh, Short Circuit! Went to see that on a date with the first boyfriend I mentioned above who turned out to be a jerk. When the robot said, "Beautiful Stephanie" my date said, "Yes she is" very loudly. I was embarrassed...but secretly thought it was the most romantic thing ever.

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  16. I was a big Ms. Pac Man fanatic. We never had Atari at home, just some dumb pong and skeet game that was pretty lame. I loved to go to friends' houses and play games like Frogger, Moon Patrol, and Ms. Pac Man. We had an arcade at the roller rink, which was pretty awesome.

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    1. I remember all the video games at the roller rink. The guys were always over there playing while the girls skated.

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  17. A very interesting post. I didn't know video games were that old. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Pretty old, but mostly from the 80s forward.

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  18. Some bars had video games that were flat tops built into tables. I liked being able to drink and play at once...haha!

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    1. I don't think I've ever seen that!

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  19. I feel old when I realize that pacman was a hit after I graduated from college!

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  20. Galaga was my game of choice, but I use to love watching the experts play Defender. That was the most awesome game ever. I wish I didn't suck at it!

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  21. What about the late 80s when the Nintendo and Sega hit? That was a slower roll than the Atari at it's peak, but it was really more of the start of the video game industry that continues to this day. (I didn't get an Atari until after all my friends got a Nintendo)

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  22. I loved my Atari! Actually, it was my brother's, but he went to the Army and I took the stuff he couldn't take to boot camp.

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  23. This brought back memories; hubby and me in our young married years went to arcades :) (we got married in 1980). I loved PacMan and Centipede :)

    betty

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  24. How interesting - I didn't know video games went so far back

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  25. That's pretty cool that it started in Toronto, Canada at the CNE-I didn't know that. We had Pong! I still remember playing that and thinking it corny. I remember Pacman and never able to play it because other people were always at the game! I recall playing Kashi-I had to fight Ninja's to save a princess

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  26. For some strange reason, I always did well at Ms Pac-Man but was terrible at Pac-Man. Same. Exact. Game. Only difference is the bow. But I would always get further on Ms Pac-Man. Even then I had no idea why.

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  27. For some reason I can't bring myself to get rid of my Atari 2600. I loved that thing. It's amazing to see the realism in the games today compared to that.

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  28. I was addicted to Ms. Pacman, back in the day. Hey, I was just wondering if you got my message that you won a $25 Amazon Gift Card last week on my blog. I've been searching back through my email and can't find a message from you. I thought (I hope) I left you a message in one of my comments on your blog, letting you know that you were the winner of my random drawing for week 2 or 3. If I didn't let you know, I apologize. Could you send me and email at sugarlaw13@live.com with the email address that you want me to send you e-gift card? I will send it out right away. I was a little late with the announcement that week, but your name was announced as the winner in my Letter N post: http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com/2015/04/n-ncic-rap-sheet-necrophilia.html

    I hope to hear from you soon so I can send you your card as a token of my appreciation for visiting my blog during the challenge. Take care.

    Melissa Sugar
    Twitter: @msugar13
    Sugarlaw13@live.com
    http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com

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  29. I think arcade games are making a comeback -- at least if yesterday was any indication! Amara celebrated her 11th birthday at Boomers and those kids had a blast playing video games and loved it! Took me back and it sure was loud!

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  30. OMGoodness. I worked at a Pizza Hut Restaurant in the 80's and we could not wait to close so we could blast the juke box (great music) and marathon play space invaders and pac man.
    I was so excited when we got an Atari game for the house.

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  31. Pac Man was really the only one that I played.

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  32. Video games have sure come a long way. haven't they? I remember Pac Man and most of the 90's video games.

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  33. My husband made himself his own arcade...bought a shell of an old game and put a computer in it with all kinds of old games loaded. So you can play Pac-Man to Contra :) I hate it LOL It takes up too much room!
    Katie @TheCyborgMom

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  34. I remember pac-man. They still have arcades in Las Vegas.

    Sunni

    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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  35. Visiting you in these closing days of the #Challenge. Always happy to find another writer. If you have time or energy at this point in April, come and see what I’ve been up to. Love finding good blogs like yours. Thanks.

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  36. Stephanie, the whole video game phenomenon was one of those overnight sensations like gold mines to ghost towns. Astounding how fast technology makes rags to riches to rags of industries. By the way, I loved your xoJane post. I feel like the general public is always on a witch hunt. I make it a rule to never click on any post that goes viral (unless it has kittens or puppies or little babies) because it concerns me that people are being fed opinions. And actually, don't we have better things to do with our time than to cast stones? Great post.

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  37. Everything is so different now! I remember the Pac Man days.

    Precious Monsters

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  38. Ah, the memories! I used to love "Adventure" on Atari although now the graphics are laughable.

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  39. What memories! I'm British and I remember playing Space Invaders and that tennis game where you just knocked a "ball" back and forth in my local pub!

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  40. Dave & Busters doesn't count. It's a gimmick and severely overpriced. It definitely doesn't have the feel of a real arcade.

    Now I'm wondering if the arcade at the mall where I grew up is still there??? I have a high school reunion this summer so I'm going to check. Loved that place. I was an air hockey pro!

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  41. I've never been in an arcade but had to pass by one at the mall. It was full of young kids and very noisy and it never appealed to me probably because it was for a younger generation...

    Stephanie, I love your writeup on XO Jane. There's always two side to a story but when one is the public eye, what has been said can't be unsaid. They were vile words from the heart.

    Have a VICTORIOUS day
    HUGS,
    JB

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  42. I've never been in an arcade but had to pass by one at the mall. It was full of young kids and very noisy and it never appealed to me probably because it was for a younger generation...

    Stephanie, I love your writeup on XO Jane. There's always two side to a story but when one is the public eye, what has been said can't be unsaid. They were vile words from the heart.

    Have a VICTORIOUS day
    HUGS,
    JB

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  43. We still have real live arcades here in Sin City! I grew up with Pong, then Ms. PacMan. I remember the thrill of getting my name on the top of the leader board. Ph, the good old days! Great choice of a post!

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  44. We used to have a Binatone - which was basically pong on the TV - very not advanced considering what the other consoles were doing :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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