Posted Thu Feb 2, 2012 2:43 AM
Warning: I want to wax on poetically, in part because I like writing and love a good excuse to do so. This may be TL;DR material, but there's some questions at the end for a first time owner. If you skip ahead, I don't blame you.
I was at Circle C's, roughly two weeks ago. It was a place that seemed nesseled out of the scope of the crippling reality that surrounds the town of Waverly, Ohio; a town suffering from the vast unemployment caused by the close of a cabinet factory and the oxy abuse that just permates in the scioto valley.
Yet, it stands like a monolith wrapped in an aluminum shell just outside of the town interior, with no less that five cars always parked in its angled, gravel lot. Circle C's Video Games and Groceries. A welcoming sign for three travelers travelling in a tattered Chevy of 100,000+ miles.
The inside is much more majestic than its exterior lets on. The interior seems ever changing, with shelves and items always in some state of flux. One week, a stand-up Golden Axe and X-Men would be up front, the next week its just Golden Axe, now pushed to the lower half. There's an cubby-hole of sorts walled in by shelves. Flat pannel TVs permate everywhere, most of which is locked onto Call of Duty. I usually don't step in there, as it reeks of Axe and slumping Algebra grades.
My place is by the enclosed glass. It always had been since my brother (let's all him E.) first brought it to my attention. Today, we were with his friend (we'll call him S.), paroozing the shop, playing Golden Axe and looking at anything that catches our eye.
My intent had been to get LA Noire. I've been wanting to play it, my desperation waining between that of a drowning man begging for oxygen and flopping trout begging for water. Though, that strange twist a fate, I came out with an Atari 7800.
My First 7800.
He had started to amass a collection of Atari games. Seemingly no 5600s, but their was some 7800s and a slew of 2600s. It sparked my mind-eye reflecting back on that period in late elementary school when I came across a fine wood-pannelled VCS, enjoying bouts of Pitfall! and lamenting ever trying to play E.T, only to be followed by my favorite 7th grade project: The History of Video Games.
"If we only had an Atari, I'd show you how they rocked it in the early 80s," I said to E., "If we had a 7800, we could play all the games."
Ever the salesman, J. the owner stated, "I have a 7800..."
"Really? You f***ng me?"
"I kid you not."
50 dollars. One system, ten games (Pole Position II being the only 7800 in that bunch) and five controllers (two proline, two 2600s and a video touch pad for Star Raiders.)
"One of those  controllers is gimpy," J. admitted.
"At least it ain't a 5600 controller!" Oh, the laughs.
I was on the fence with the idea. I had only came in to buy LA Noire. Yet, everything about the Atari was so handsome. The faux metallic plate, the hard black plastic, the thin rainbow line, even the font on the carts was demanding its attention.
If he hadn't had Dig Dug for the 7800, I might have bought LA Noire. Maybe blostered my Genesis a bit more by giving it a fresh set of controllers.
Instead I bought the Atari and seven more games. I'm glad I did. Granted, two of the games in box were paddles, but that was no problem. I went back to the store and traded them out... and the last three 7800s games he had.
Seriously, that machine is flipping awesome! How come no one's told me about before?!
Of course, there is one thing that worries me. The back connecting to the TV is a little... wonky. The RF box works fine (I tried it on the Genesis and it went along swimmingly), but not so on the 7800.
It has this weird, rolling quality to it. Like an old VCR with tracking problems. If you press down on the back where the cord connects to the machine, it'll stop Sometimes, you need to poke it a few more times. Sometimes, you have to wedge a Nerf Dart inbetween it and the casing. Even with this quick fix, there's this high pitched hiss/whine that goes through the machine. Sometimes, you have to spend 17 minutes cursing.
And allow me to be absolutely honest here. I do not like being some kind of Atari Fonz.
How does one fix that? Is it common with 7800s? I tried to take it apart and look at it from the inside, but mine has this metallic casing blocking the majority of the circuitry and I had to settle with cleaning it out with alcohol, which didn't help for obvious reasons.