Skiing (Atari VCS, Dec 1980, Activision)
To me, Skiing by Activision will always be that cheesy commercial with the guy doing the bad French accent and playing the game poorly. I didn't really understand at the time what was going on with these "new Atari games" that had a different box style and didn't seem to be by Sears or Atari. The commercial for Skiing (which my friends and I thought was hilarious) really stands out in my mind, even though it doesn't strike me as funny today. Y
Video Checkers (Atari VCS, Dec 1980, Atari)
In 1980, Checkers feels like the new Blackjack.
Blackjack seems like it was a requirement to be on every system. Checkers... well, maybe not on every system. It was already on the Fairchild Channel F (which, I missed back when I played through 1978 like... more then a decade ago, but less than 40 years ago. I'll get to it soon.) and we've seen it on the Intellivision and Atari. Now we get to play it on the Atari again.
Old people: "Play new games but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold"
It's me. I'm Old people.
There's a game we play our entire lives called "Explore vs. Exploit". When seeking to entertain ourselves we are faced with the decision to Explore something new that we might enjoy, or to Exploit something we already know we enjoy. This idea is talked about more broadly in a book called "Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions" by Brian Christia
Checkers (Atari VCS, Jul 1980, Activision)
“Chess is like looking out over a vast open ocean; checkers is like looking into a bottomless well.” -Marion Tinsley
Marion Tinsley was the World Champion of Checkers from 1950 to 1990.
Other people only gained the title if Tinsley didn't show up to play.
He won the World Championship whenever he chose to play for it.
Jonathan Schaeffer was a computer scientist.
He lead the team that developed Chinook.
Golf (Atari VCS, Jun 1980, Atari)
(Credit to Random Terrain for his awesome and well-researched list which helps me play Atari VCS games in chronological order with much more confidence.
So, earlier "this year", I played PGA Golf on the Intellivision and there was some discussion of the phrase "below par". I dislike what I considered its misuse in language to suggest poor performance while at the sa
Welcome back to what I'm now calling Chronogamer LE. The LE stands for Low Effort. If I have to really work up any enthusiasm to play something then that's too much effort, so I will learn what I can about it, read the manual, maybe do some research and play it for as long as I can stand it. If I try to get more involved in it, I'll end up going down a sort of procrastination rabbit-hole where I put it off for, like, half a decade or more and it blocks me from moving forward. I've recently learn
Wow, I coined an historical term! Dr. Sparkle, thank you for giving me credit in this ^_^ http://www.retronauts.com/?p=1119 I like how they refer to it as burning out. Really, I still want to do this, RL just sort of burned its way in. Nelio! Yeah, a thing happened and I deleted my YouTube thing. I'll have to bring it back eventually. I still have all my stuff and going through the pain of moving it to a new place. Oh, and I do flinch every time they say "chrongaming". Anyway, hope
Pele's Soccer (Atari VCS, 1980)
As I've said before: "I'm not a sports fan" so how I felt about this game surprised me.
Contrasting from our recent excursion into third-party software that had only two games to a cart, Atari's (the party of the first part) Pele's Soccer has 54 games promised for it on the front of the box and it delivers with 28 versions of two player and 28 versions of single player. The "versioning" is three variations each on modes of speed, modes of c
Fishing Derby (Activision, Atari VCS, 1980)
There are actually Fish Derbies in the real world, which I don't expect to be shocking news to any of you. However I thought reading the rules to one would be interesting.
It's possible that I wasn't entirely correct about it being interesting. Sorry if you just spent 30 minutes of your life there that you will never get back.
Fishing Derby is by David Crane. David Crane apparentl
Boxing (Activision, Atari VCS, 1980)
We've seen a Boxing game once before! 1978 on the APF-1000MP. I'd actually recorded that play session on a VHS tape which now will not load anything because my VCR won't work. Well, the mechanical bits won't work. The electronic bits still work as a conduit to serve my old consoles. All hail the conduit!
Oooh, boy... boxing... I don't get boxing as a sport. I get that it takes skill, that it's a discipline similar to any skill that involves using the
Maze Craze: A Game of Cops and Robbers (Atari VCS, 1980)
Someone in the 70s realized that there was fun to be found by using a computer to generate random mazes with a simple algorithm and allowing people to race through it. The first maze game that I can remember appearing on a home console was for the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES) and was cart #10 Maze, Cat and Mouse (1977). I don't know if this is the last "maze game" or not because I can't see into the future. (If I
Okay, when I say chronogaming is not dead or sleeping, I don't mean this blog. I mean "there are other chronogamers out there" fighting the good fight!
Now and then I'll type "chronogaming" into Google (ego-surfer!) just to get a nice warm feeling to see that the term actually gets tossed around out there like it's a real word! A lot of people, I'm sure, didn't get it from me. I think many get it from "Chrono Trigger" - but if it has anything to do with retrogaming I think it actually can be
Is there such thing as an obsessive compulsive disorder that procrastinates?
Okay, so I've been busy. Since I had my moment of discouraged truth a few years ago, I've managed to keep my job, my kids have continued to survive and I've been to Japan.
Let me try to express my feelings about Japan with a very intense understatement.
Japan is cool.
I know... it makes some of you uncomfortable when I get all gushy and emotional about stuff, so I'll just
Wow people still read this? Guess I need to start doing this again.... I've said that before of course.
I'm going to Japan next month. Maybe with that out of the way I'll have closure and need to obsess on this again.
Nope, no CGE, but at least I'm working on this again.
I've been cleaning up the old entries and making sure they've got formatting (like... paragraphs!) and links that work, and pictures that load and movies that actually play.
If I feel like I don't have a big trailing mess behind me it may be easier to move forward.
Oh, and is there any way to link someone to an old entry and then that entry displays links to the entries before and after it? when I go to an old entry it seems tha
...I left my dog in the car with the windows up and all of the plants are dead. The stretching sound you hear is a metaphor being abused.
I've come to realize that it's taken me three years to get even halfway through 1980. Play-lag has reared it's ugly cliched head in this blog before, but now it has become actually detrimental to the experiment itself.
The "vision" if you will pretend with me that what I'm doing actually takes some degree of vision and not just a large degree of OCD, w
Night Driver (Atari VCS, 1980)
First, a look at the arcade game that inspired the home version.
I believe that video is captured from the MAME version. The yellow car on the screen would have been an overlay in the arcade. The lights represent the glowing reflectors on the sides of a dark road and as the driver of the car you use a steering wheel controller to keep your car on the road. The sound effects in the arcade original were engine so
Dodge 'Em aka Dodger Cars (Atari VCS, 1980)
This game is about an insane sonuvabitch who has no regard for your life, your passenger's life nor even his own life.
The playing field is a four-lane circular track. The player races around it collecting dots. The player may only change lanes at four points on the track's circle. The crazy bastard in the other car is going around the track in the opposite direction and his sole goal is to ram you
Off topic, but my Xbox Live name is Chronogamer. If you play 1 vs 100 Live on the Xbox 360, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Last night, I (with the help of my lovely and brilliant wife) came in third out of a crowd of 42,000 in a Live game and won myself a copy of RezHD! Yay! By the way, if you're an Xbox Live person, please invite me to be your friend!
3D-Tic-Tac-Toe (Atari VCS, 1980)
I need to clear up any impressions I may have given about my feelings towards playing 3D-Tic-
Circus Atari (Atari VCS, 1980)
One of the inspirations for doing what I'm doing here (even though it's been progressively less frequent) is the fact that "back in the day" I didn't actually get to play most of these games. Intellivision? I know one person that had it, and I only ever saw AD&D in action-but never got to play it. I had one friend with an Odyssey^2 and I never ever even saw it hooked up. I'd never heard of the Bally Professional Arcade back in 1981 and, though I'd seen the
Steeplechase (Atari VCS, 1980)
Before I get into the game, I want to get into the term "Steeplechase".
For me "Steeplechase" has always stood for the name of an amusement pier in Atlantic City (though there was one in Coney Island, too, I never saw it). I can't say my family and I went "down the shore" a lot when I was growing up near Philadelphia in the late 70's, early 80's, but the few times I went I remember two of the Atlantic City piers, Steeplechase Pier and Steel
Stellar Track (Atari VCS, 1980)
The genetic precursor to Stellar Track is a main frame computer game called Star Trek, based on the franchise of the same name. You can read all about the history of the Star Trek Game at Wikipedia. It isn't that I'm too lazy to just paraphrase the entry, (though I am), but I'm more or less trying to keep this about the particular game rather than it's history.
When you start a game of Stellar Track you're given a mission screen. Here is an exam
Adventure (Atari VCS, 1980)
Okay, I"ve started this entry about six times! I'm trying to keep myself from babbling but what I keep writing is a long and pretty uninteresting description of the different elements of Adventure. I'm failing to capture the essence of the whole which is so much greater than just a listing of the separate parts.
Rather than make another attempt at objectively describing Adventure, let's just activate Fanboy Mode.
I think that it's safe to say that this is
Space Invaders (Atari VCS, 1980)
According to Phoenix: The Fall and Rise of Videogames by Leonard Herman (a book every classic gamer should own, soon to come out in its fourth edition!), Space Invaders came out in January of 1980 and is considered to be the first "Killer App" for a home videogame console. In addition, it was the first time a videogame company licensed another videogame company's arcade game for port to a home system.
Okay, history portion over, I'll leave it to real hist