I Can't Really Complain . . . But I Still Do
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Location: Colorado

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bombs Away!

Here's one for ya . . .

Does anybody out there remember the Atari 2600? I bet if I asked everyone who owned one of these somewhat less-than-attractive, brown on brown gaming consoles to raise their hands in a proud show of nostalgic 80's solidarity, the Earth might suddenly and mysteriously shift a little bit off of its axis.

The fact is that unless you were really cool and somehow managed to convince your unsuspecting parents that you needed a Colecovision, you more than likely wound up just like the rest of us . . . with a beautiful, brand-spankin'-new Atari 2600. And you were darn happy to get it too. I believe, if the decades have been kinder to my memory than they have to my body, that the console came packaged with the appropriately named "Combat" game cartridge. To this day I still wake up, sweating profusely in the dead of night, vainly trying to get those funkified cannon balls to wrap around the TV screen the right way.

No question about it though . . . the best game ever had to be "Kaboom". To those of you who never had the distinct pleasure of becoming hopelessly addicted to this frantic monstrosity of early video-game age paranoia, try to imagine the most obnoxious person you have ever known sitting atop a brick wall ala humpty-dumpty, wearing black & white convict stripes, while non-chalantly dropping a never-ending supply of bombs down on your head. Fortunately you have what everyone in that precarious situation would want . . . some barrels full of water. All you've gotta do is catch the bombs in the barrels. Sound like fun? Oh Little Grasshopper, you are so naive. After about 97 hours, when the stream of bombs is moving so fast that your brain starts to sputter and hiss like a broken-down Ford Pinto, then you'll be sorry.

Try it in the advanced mode where the barrels are thinner than the straps on Lindsay Lohan's G-string. Have you ever seen a grown man cry? You will.

Of course there was "Pitfall" and "Superman" and "Haunted House" and "Defender" . . . the list is endless. These are the games we will always remember with affection. These are the games that shaped us and formed us . . . making us into the proud modern-day computer savvy techno-geeks that we are.

So hit reset, pass me a joystick and stand back, because . . . I'm feelin' lucky tonight.

Ben O.


Blogger Trixie said...

Whoa. I jsut dated myself.

I liked Breakout myself!

Atari rocks!

What was the car one called. I really liked that oen too!

10:39 PM  
Blogger Lingo Slinger said...

I had an Atari 2600... LOVED IT!! Some of my faves were; Dolphin, Frogger, Ms. PacMan, Breakout and of course Asteroids!!

One of the most memorable days for me was when I got my original Nintendo system... The graphics!!! Oh the splendor!! Mario Bros & Duck Hunt... those were my games! Remember the screen would only move forward, you couldn't go back?!

7:14 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

We played our Atari so much, it finally start smoking and burned up. Frogger, PacMan, Asteroids, Pong, DigDug - no better way to waste time!

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How could you write a post about the atari 2600 and not mention the "Quest for the Holy Paddle"? For all those who don't know, which is basically all of you, one day in the late 90's, Ben O, myself (Brother O) and a few friends hit every pawn shop and salvation army store in N. Texas hunting for atari "stuff". I think we ended up with ten or twelve cartridges, a few consoles and a couple of joy sticks. But, we never found the elusive paddles, so no Kaboom for us. Anyway, the best part is that we came home, plugged it in, got through about a half a game of Combat and unamimously declared that atari sucks and there is a reason they sell them for 99 cents at the DAV.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Our Atari was a used gift from a friend (no clue if it was a 2600 or what), but after playing Pong for years, it was a definite treat. My favorite game was Target Fun, essentially because I have zero hand to eye coordination and that one required less so I didn't suck completely at it. Ah, the memories.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Ben O. said...

Hey everyone - say hello to my brother, Brother O.

Yep - we spent all freakin' afternoon hustling pawnshops for their Atari gear. We must have spent a total of $11 and we had just about everything they ever made . . . except those darn paddles.

If anyone has a clean, working set of Atari paddles . . . please send them to the PS home office.

Thanks in advance for that one -

Ben O.

10:53 AM  
Blogger KayseaLove said...

Brother O, I did the same thing with Nintendo NES. There was a rare game called: "Princess Tomato" I totally played it once when I was in elementary school, but was unable to finish the game. So last year I bought it off of eBay, completed it, and sold the system and games for a slight profit. I do not understand why I felt the need to finish that game, but I was obsessed. After completion, I didn't feel any different. No internal fireworks, no fancy bells ringing, absolutely nothing. But my obsession and cravings were finally eliminated.

Today, when darting across four lanes of traffic in my car, my thought processes still project to the past and I feel as if I am in the game Frogger with no restart button.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

I had that and then moved up to the Atari 5200. I was a big dog then! Pole position, Qbert and Pacman....wooohhooooo!!!!

7:02 PM  
Blogger Mrs.T said...

Hmm, you're all old... or I was never priveledged enough to own one of these beauties..

7:11 PM  
Blogger DJ said...

Before the 2600 there was PONG
Yes the bat-n-ball game, tennis, squash, football, "practice"
Now there was a game.
To admit I have about a dozen Pong games, every 2600 game ever, coleco's, intellivisions...
Am I a nerd?
Oh and I have an acrade machine converted to MAME in my entrance hallway of my house.
Yep I'm a nerd.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Ben O. said...

Actually DJ, that sounds pretty cool to me.

Anyone . . . anyone?

Ben O.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

All I remember is Donkey-Kong and Pac-Man... although, did someone mention Mario Brothers? woo hoo!

And yes, DJ, that sounds very cool. I always wanted a jukebox in my house personally.

10:19 AM  
Blogger bsoholic said...

Frogger and Joust were my two favoritee 2600 games!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Breazy said...

Hey Ben O.! You visited my blog and I thought I would pay you a visit as well . My favorite game was Pitfall. Man
I could play that game for hours and never get tired of it . Great blog by the way ! :) I will be back

7:57 PM  
Blogger McSwain said...

Space Invaders rocked! I had a competition going for high score, and would have marathon 6-hour games where my legs would fall completely asleep under me and I would still keep playing. Now I do something like that with blog surfing.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Chick said...

Well...you had to fill the time somehow!

We once had a contest to see who could drink the most water in a short amount of time (we were...like...12...or something)...I lost because the official rules said...no puking ; )

8:56 AM  
Blogger Little Miss said...

whoah,TMI!(somethin' about your joystick feeling lucky?)

; )

btw, i was a Pitfall person myself.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

My favorites were River Raid and Frogger!

9:17 PM  

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