Retro Gaming, Computers and Games from my youth, the ZX81, Spectrum and C64

Retro Gaming, my history of a fond gaming youth – Computer gaming the retro years.

I have been a computer user now for a great my years, since 1982, and for most of these years I have played games. Hell, I even used to work for a computer games company, but in recent years I have yet to find a game that stirs up the same emotions and addiction as the games of old.

There was a day not so long ago when home computers and the gaming industry weren´t all about million dollar budgets, flashy graphics, 3D animation and megaphonic stereo surround sound but where more interested in making playable, dare I say “interesting games”. You could say the wow factor was in the game play as the machines used for these games where at the best basic.

This is my brief overview of these older machines and the games which ran on them. Games which used to make my heart race when I played them, these are the games, which made the computers of old so good.

I can remember the first console we ever owned. It was an Atari 2600 console, which my dad bought from my uncle. The games on this machine, where, shall we say primative. Games such as Pong, Zaxxon and Space Invaders.

Atari 2600 console
Atari 2600 console

The Atari 2600 was one of the first games consoles to be available to the home user and brought arcade quality games directly into your home, once connected to your TV.

The Atari was a very basic box, it was black with fake wooden sides, the 2600 had 4 buttons and a slot for you to insert the games cartridge into. Pretty simple huh!

The box also came with controllers in the form of 2 joysticks and 2 paddles. The joysticks were for most games but the paddles where for such games as Pong where there movement of the characters on screen was a simple left or right / up and down motion. Each set of controllers had a fire button, which worked exactly the same as today´s games controller´s. This was the first time I had ever seen a joystick and the Atari joystick port on the 2600 was to become the standard for years to come with later computers using the same shape of port. I even had one of the Atari Joysticks plugged into my Commodore 64 and Amiga!

The graphics and sound on the 2600 where very basic. This was the early 80´s remember, so there wasn´t the state of the art graphics and sound that we´re all accustomed to now. More like a series of blips and bloops.

Frogger
Frogger
Pitfall
Pitfall

The most influential games on the 2600 where Pong, Pitfall, Frogger and Pole Position.

Pong was a computerised version of table tennis but the ball could bounce off the sides of the screen. If you missed the ball and it went behind your little bat on the screen you lost a point, the one who reached the allotted score first, won the game.

Pitfall was one of the first platform games but your character could swing from platform to platform on ropes which dangled from the roof of the game, the top of the screen. The aim was to reach the goal at the end of the level. If I remember rightly, but I´m not sure you had to collect something along the way, not sure though.

Frogger, you played a little frog and your aim was to hop across a stream, off logs and turtles and then cross a road dodging the cars and trucks which moved along this road. You then entered one of the little coves and collected another frog, which you then had to get back across the road and stream. You then repeated this again and again.

Pole Position was one of the first racing games available. This is one of my favourite games of all time (I even have a version which runs on my P800 phone). You first had to qualify and then you got to race. The only problem with the design of the game was that it looked like you where constantly driving over the crest of a hill. I suppose this was to get the animation to look better. Excellent game though, Never have managed to finish in Pole Position.

The next few pages are a mykp history lesson in the computers of Ye olde days. Okay I know its not complete but i have tried to steer clear of machines I know nothing about. I have all of the machines listed and I know stuff about them. I have tried to be as accurate as possible but I cannot guarantee absolute accuracy, so dont go emailing me saying the Spectrums Z80 processor was 3.544234234234mhz!!

Enjoy.

Links
» Emu Unlimited
» C64 Games
» The C64 Portal
» Arnold C64
» Commodore Internet Archive
» World of Spectrum
» Jasper Spectrum Emulator
» Planet Sinclair
» ZX Spectrum Games and Emulation
» Spectrum Magic
» Classic Amiga Games
» UAE Amiga Emulator
» Atari ST
» SainT Atari ST Emulator
» STEem Engine Emulator

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