Of All Things, Atari

I didn’t quite literally come of age in a bubble of Gregorian chant, Bach, and the poetry of Robert Frost.

I really, truly, did live in the 1970s and 1980s.

When I was in college, the first computerized games appeared on the scene.  I was almost entirely weaned off games in general by then, so I didn’t give them too much notice.

I could easily claim an exemption from video games, as many in my narrow late-boomer cohort could also do.  That odd sliver of the population that falls between The Lone Ranger and Sesame Street.

But I did play some games at various locations and at odd times.  They pop up in memory like little fireflies in the darkness.

So the other day an old friend told me about his attempts to set up a classic Nintendo system.  He is some years my junior, so I understood his rhapsodizing about his favorite boyhood games.  (My boyhood games, once chess and Monopoly had lost their luster, were Avoid My Siblings, Avoid My Home, Avoid my School, and Avoid Just About Everything Else.)

So I looked into buying one of those deliciously clunky-looking Nintendo retro systems–even though the games are essentially free online. But I kept coming back to Atari.  The few games I really remembered and actually had had some fun with.

That’s always a good place to start.

So I decided to buy an Atari Flashback:  a small, handheld device with seventy old games, including Pac-Man (but of course). An SD port allows for the addition of others, if desired.

I got a good deal on Wal-Mart–twenty dollars below Amazon, and Amazon was typically fuzzy on product numbers and which version was which.

Will let you know what I think once I’ve reconnected with a few of these fun, grainy, silly old games and their plinky soundtracks.  If I get hooked I’ll look into a bigger system…or two…or three.

It’s never too late to have a happy 1980.

About Jonathan B. Hall

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food.
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