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Post-Apocalypse Atari 2600

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In the Orson Scott Card short-story "Salvage" (1986), an unspecified disaster has impacted (at least) the Southwestern United States -- Salt Lake City, Utah, is almost entirely submerged under water. The main character of the story makes a living salvaging old computers and other electronics. This includes an Atari 2600:

 

"Lehi never took his eyes off the screen. He jabbed a a button on the black box and twisted on the stick that jutted up from it. A colored blob on the screen split into four smaller blobs. [...] It's an Atari. From the sixties or seventies or something. Eighties. Old. Can't do much with the pieces, it's only eight-bit stuff. All these years in somebody's attic in Logan, and it still runs."

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Asteroids would be my guess. I'm unaware of a paddle game that has this mechanic, but that would be the only thing that would seem more appropriate for the description.

 

Just read Ender's Game for the first time. I'll have to check this one out when I'm done with Salem's Lot.

Edited by HatefulGravey

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What VCS games have objects that split into four when hit? Seems Asteroids or Demon Attack don't fit that exact description.

Edited by Keatah

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My first impression was Asteroids, too -- the brief description of the game does not withstand close scrutiny...

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In the Orson Scott Card short-story "Salvage" (1986), an unspecified disaster has impacted (at least) the Southwestern United States -- Salt Lake City, Utah, is almost entirely submerged under water. The main character of the story makes a living salvaging old computers and other electronics. This includes an Atari 2600:

 

"Lehi never took his eyes off the screen. He jabbed a a button on the black box and twisted on the stick that jutted up from it. A colored blob on the screen split into four smaller blobs. [...] It's an Atari. From the sixties or seventies or something. Eighties. Old. Can't do much with the pieces, it's only eight-bit stuff. All these years in somebody's attic in Logan, and it still runs."

 

Was the cover of this book the one where there was a hand coming out of the water that was clutching a licence plate?

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My first impression was Asteroids, too -- the brief description of the game does not withstand close scrutiny...

 

Second thought I think the author was indeed imagining Asteroids. He just didn't didn't get the game mechanics 100% correct. We're probably going to have to let it go at that.

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Was the cover of this book the one where there was a hand coming out of the water that was clutching a licence plate?

 

This story has been reprinted several times; most recently in an anthology of post-apocalypse SF stories.

 

The illustration that you described would well fit this story; video games have nothing to do with the plot -- there is only a passing reference.

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What VCS games have objects that split into four when hit? Seems Asteroids or Demon Attack don't fit that exact description.

 

Okay in "Demon Attack" some enemies split in two smaller objects not in four. But was the only games which comes in my mind at once.

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