Monday, December 30, 2002
Speaking of the Dark Ages...
I can still remember being eleven or twelve and seeing an Intellivision console for the first time, at a local K-Mart. Oh, the awe with which I regarded this wondrous machine. This, my friends...this was the powerhouse of home gaming at the time (1982?) - edging out Atari console slightly, from a graphics standpoint.
By edging out, what I mean to say is that instead of playing rather simplistic games involving four or five colors and extremely-boxy graphics, the priveledged owner of this new system was instead thrust,headlong,into the hyper-realistic, immersive universe of eight or nine colors and slightly less boxy graphics! After a year or two, they even released an add-on that would give this monster system the power of garbled, computerish-sounding speech. Those wonders, however, were still merely crazy, fanciful dreams, bouncing around in some Mattel programmer's imagination. Perhaps that was for the best, as I'm not sure that my young mind could have bore the weight of such excessive sensory stimulation at the time.
I remember just standing there in the electronics aisle, gawking at it, like some mesmerized caveman would observe a flashlight...anxiously awaiting my turn to play the store's demo model, then, finally, thrilling to the incredible realism of Space Battle's impressive, eight-bit explosions and boink-boink sounds for the ten or fifteen minutes before my mother ushered me away from this astonishing monument to mankind's technological progress. "Could gaming get any better than this?", I asked myself, on the car ride home...
I never did get an Intellivision, but to this day I still resent the kids who did, even though I can play the games on my computer. In retrospect, they kind of suck.
Note to my younger readers: in answer to the question that surely must be running through your minds - yes, we were all morons back in the old days. In fact, before the Intellivision and it's forerunner, the Atari, children simply stood around in circles on a playground, comparing rocks they'd found, sometimes throwing the rocks or rolling them for an added dose of excitement.