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Zwackery

kids still dig Atari

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One of my colleagues has had me guest lecture in her History of Video Games class about Atari and that era of games, but mostly I focused on Atari (with lots of memorabilia), and she had me come back for a second day to let the students actually play some of the games.  She requested certain titles - Adventure, Space Invaders, River Raid, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall II, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong, and ET - that the book she's having them read specifically mentions, and I rounded it out with a bunch of other common (CombatFrogger) and very rare titles (Boing!Glib), but of all the ones I brought the most popular games were OutlawKool-Aid Man, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Regarding the latter, the students were amazed at the complexity of the game given the time when it was made.  It was interesting to see them sit down and attempt to play a game that they thought would be easy (like Vanguard) and realize there was more going on than they expected and that they actually had to read an instruction manual.  It was really interesting to see them get super competitive over Outlaw.

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On 9/18/2019 at 10:12 PM, Zwackery said:

One of my colleagues has had me guest lecture in her History of Video Games class about Atari and that era of games, but mostly I focused on Atari (with lots of memorabilia), and she had me come back for a second day to let the students actually play some of the games.  She requested certain titles - Adventure, Space Invaders, River Raid, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall II, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong, and ET - that the book she's having them read specifically mentions, and I rounded it out with a bunch of other common (CombatFrogger) and very rare titles (Boing!Glib), but of all the ones I brought the most popular games were OutlawKool-Aid Man, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Regarding the latter, the students were amazed at the complexity of the game given the time when it was made.  It was interesting to see them sit down and attempt to play a game that they thought would be easy (like Vanguard) and realize there was more going on than they expected and that they actually had to read an instruction manual.  It was really interesting to see them get super competitive over Outlaw.

This a high school class or college?

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I’m 24, and while I may not count as as a kid, I’m a certified Damned Millennial™️. My parents had a 2600 but my earliest gaming memories are playing SMB 1-3, World, and 64 whenever my brother let me touch his consoles, and Pokémon when my parents got me a Gameboy for Christmas.

 

I don’t hate modern games, but I got Red Dead 2 (which is a great piece of media in its own right) on launch and I haven’t even scratched the surface of it. Between finishing graduate school, writing research papers, and my job I just don’t have the time anymore. But I got into Atari collecting and playing and I’m hooked. They’re bite sized enough to fit into my lifestyle and they’re still fun and addicting. I also love seeing what these programmers were able to pack into these Atari cartridges.

 

My favorites so far are Millipede, Moon Patrol, Yar’s Revenge, and Spider Fighter.

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16 hours ago, The Strangest said:

My favorites so far are Millipede, Moon Patrol, Yar’s Revenge, and Spider Fighter.

Excellent set of favourites there.  Those are some of mine too.  Seeing as you may have similar taste to me, may I also recommend, in no particular order, Turmoil, Phoenix, Demon Attack, Seaquest, Missile Command and Solar Fox.

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My sister(who just turned 28 this year), actually grew up playing Atari, because my brother and I hogged the nintendo systems, so, she has a appreciation for the 2600.  She even found one at a thrift store and has put together a modest collection of games.  She's not seriously collecting like I am, but she has asked me for advice on games.  So, yeah, there are members of the younger generation who enjoy the 2600.  I'm sure a lot of kids today look down on the 2600, but like Zwackery said, let them play some good games and they will come around.

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On 9/21/2019 at 2:03 PM, insertclevernamehere said:

Excellent set of favourites there.  Those are some of mine too.  Seeing as you may have similar taste to me, may I also recommend, in no particular order, Turmoil, Phoenix, Demon Attack, Seaquest, Missile Command and Solar Fox.

Thanks for the suggestions! I've been wanting to pick up Turmoil and Solar Fox in particular for awhile now. Additionally, Lead (homebrew) on the AtariAge store looks like a game that similarly fits our taste.

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16 hours ago, The Strangest said:

Thanks for the suggestions! I've been wanting to pick up Turmoil and Solar Fox in particular for awhile now. Additionally, Lead (homebrew) on the AtariAge store looks like a game that similarly fits our taste.

Good suggestion.  That one managed to pass me by.  I hadn't noticed it on the AtariAge store before.  Looks like fun but the music is a bit headache inducing for my old ears.  If we're suggesting homebrews, Draconian and Super Cobra Arcade are really good.

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I used to teach secondary school in the UK a few years ago before I changed profession and the school allowed me to run an after school 'Video Games History' class. I ran it for mostly year 7 and 8 students, however when the week came round to try some of these games, the youngest members of the class were infatuated by playing Frogger and asteroids on my Atari 2600. I remember a few of them stating that they preferred it to their Xbox's and Playstations.

No wonder Atari games are so accessible to the 'tap and swipe' generation, they are easy to pick up and play without understanding complex buttons or gameplay mechanics. Its a great teaching aid and also allows young people to get inspired to create their own rudimentary games.

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4 hours ago, thund3rr said:

No wonder Atari games are so accessible to the 'tap and swipe' generation, they are easy to pick up and play without understanding complex buttons or gameplay mechanics. Its a great teaching aid and also allows young people to get inspired to create their own rudimentary games.

Actually, they were astounded at the complexity of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  They couldn't believe a "simple" game had an inventory system, used two controllers, and had multiple areas/maps.  I had to walk them through how to play it.  That's right, kids, you gotta read the manual for some of these dang old Atari tapes!  For some reason, Vanguard appeared to confound them, too.

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My 7yo daughter and 5yo son like playing my Vader over the Xbox 360. She loves playing Haunted House. I've even seen her shake when the ghost appeared on the screen. I'm sure she'd shake at Resident Evil on the 360, but maybe after being bombarded with zombies, she'd become numb to them. But seriously, Haunted House on the Atari 2600, that ghost gets her every time.

 

It is also a great system for competitive play. Wizard of Wor, Warlords, Combat, and Ice Hockey are our favorites, and I think it's because the games are relatively short. We can play three Spads v. one German Bomber and I can lose, but in two-and-a-half minutes we are playing again and I'm crushing her. She loves it. And she's pretty good at sh!t-talking too. It's hilarious to see her brother mimic her whenever I bite it. But the real fun is Ice Hockey. I can woop her butt in Ice Hockey, but three minutes later she comes right back for more. She's getting better and I'm almost done pulling my punches on diff-A, so one day I'm sure she will beat me at Ice Hockey. But not today.

 

The one deficiency though are the cooperative games. Space Invaders, Wizard of Wor, and ...

 

She turns Wizard of Wor into a competitive game by chasing me down to shoot me. One day she'll realize she can corner me with the monsters.

 

I'd love to see Galaxian for 2pCoop.

 

For two player fun, the 2600 is where it is at, the NES is a close second (I have two NES advantages), and the Xbox 360 a very distant third.

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Warlords (or the updated Medieval Mayhem) is the best party game ever invented. Next time you have a group over, pop that in and watch the fun ensue!

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I have to agree, since I'm a kid and whenever my friends come over, we compete in a series of Warlords and Combat games, over a bag of chips or something, and one of my friends loved it so much that he decided to get an Atari himself.(I am writing this in present tense, if you didn't notice)

Edited by bluejay
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On 9/23/2019 at 12:02 PM, GeekDragon said:

My sister(who just turned 28 this year), actually grew up playing Atari, because my brother and I hogged the nintendo systems, so, she has a appreciation for the 2600.  She even found one at a thrift store and has put together a modest collection of games.  She's not seriously collecting like I am, but she has asked me for advice on games.  So, yeah, there are members of the younger generation who enjoy the 2600.  I'm sure a lot of kids today look down on the 2600, but like Zwackery said, let them play some good games and they will come around.

 

Sounds like your sister needs a Harmony or Uno cart for her 2600!

 

My kids get super-competitive with Warlords and Outlaw. They're 8 and 7. And yes, they play modern games on their Nintendo Switch, their iPads, and the Xbox One...  Along with educational software on their iPads, I did start them out with an Atari Flashback 2 when they were 2-3 years old... :)  

 

And for a while, my son was obsessed with Adventure, whether on the Flashback 2 or on the Flashback collection on the Xbox One. He'd also load up videos on YouTube on how to play the game. Both of the kids loved the Atari references in the Ready Player One film. I get the feeling they liked telling their classmates that they had actually played those games before...

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My kids (5 and 7) are into both classic and modern gaming.  Their favorites on 2600 are Outlaw, Frogs and Flies, and Stampede.  

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The neighbor's kids are too stupid to play classic games. All they know is concerts and chasing celebrities via social media.

 

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I got my Atari 2600 in 2005... I was 14 at the time... I amassed a rather large collection at 100+ (not large for here but large for the kid I was at the time) games pretty quickly cause I'd find a bunch of them at Goodwill at a quarter each and I would some times come home with a bag of like 8-12 2600 games. Got most of my NES and SNES games there as well. It was crazy back then. There was also this game store across the street from the Goodwill that also sold retro games and where I found a copy of Metal Storm (NES) for $5.

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On 9/18/2019 at 11:12 PM, Zwackery said:

One of my colleagues has had me guest lecture in her History of Video Games class about Atari and that era of games, but mostly I focused on Atari (with lots of memorabilia), and she had me come back for a second day to let the students actually play some of the games.  She requested certain titles - Adventure, Space Invaders, River Raid, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall II, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong, and ET - that the book she's having them read specifically mentions, and I rounded it out with a bunch of other common (CombatFrogger) and very rare titles (Boing!Glib), but of all the ones I brought the most popular games were OutlawKool-Aid Man, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Regarding the latter, the students were amazed at the complexity of the game given the time when it was made.  It was interesting to see them sit down and attempt to play a game that they thought would be easy (like Vanguard) and realize there was more going on than they expected and that they actually had to read an instruction manual.  It was really interesting to see them get super competitive over Outlaw.

Wait, we do a poor job of teaching kids actual history, but we have classes in history of videogames??

 

Although that class sounds cool as heck...

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

Wait, we do a poor job of teaching kids actual history, but we have classes in history of videogames??

 

Although that class sounds cool as heck...

It's a First-Year Seminar (FYS) class, which means that the instructor presents a specific body of knowledge and then the students study it from an academic/research perspective, although this faculty also teaches with me in our Game & Interactive Media Design major.

 

I'm actually leading an FYS this semester for the first time in a several years; it's all about zombies (history and representation in media (theater, radio serials, films, comic books, television, and video games), mostly 20th through 21st century, and oriented pre- and post-Romero).

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