What is “Retro”? Miriam-Webster describes retro as anything “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned”… therefore, it meaning different things to different people. I think of retro as being anything starting in the 60’s (though I didn’t exist until late in that decade) through to about the 80’s.

So, as I start the first day of the A to Z Challenge

The letter A… what comes to mind when I go back in my memories… that begins with the letter A?

I remember back to when I was about 10 years old and the new Atari 2600 was entering the homes of, what I would have then called, the “lucky ones”.

I wanted one! OK, “wanted” is probably an understatement! However, my father was one that wasn’t going to have a video game system in the house! I smile, remembering that around the same time we were asking for an Atari, my father also told us we would never get a dog! Well, that year we did get a puppy, but not an Atari!

Let’s go back to the year 1977, when the Atari 2600 entered the homes of many. It was the beginning of the popular gaming systems that many of us have in our homes today – either for ourselves, our kids, or perhaps for those that like to play (and don’t want to admit it) and will say that they have it for their kids! Either way, it’s all OK!

One of the earliest games from those connected with Atari was Pong. A friend of mine had this and I loved it! I laugh now, thinking back, just how exciting was that two-dimensional table tennis game!? It seemed to take forever for that bouncing ball to make it across the screen. And yet, I sat there, in anticipation, of being able to hit it back to my friend … and then she would do the same! Oh, let me contain my excitement! It’s like watching a horror movie from 40 years ago, which back in the day was horrifying and yet today, I expect most would fall asleep or make fun of the so called special effects. Pong, as I think back to playing it, it’s much the same concept. For those that are unfamiliar with Pong, the below image pretty much says it all! You are not missing any game play excitement that doesn’t exist in the image below! However, in the big picture of this new industry, Pong, was a huge hit!

The library of interchangeable Atari games grew and when Atari came out with the 2600, it quite simply dominated the video game industry. The Atari 2600 was originally packaged with the main console, two joystick controllers, two paddle controllers, a game cartridge (which varied, much like today, depending on the year that you purchased it), and a TV/Video game switch box to change your TV back and forth from game play to watching your favourite shows.

The Atari 2600 sold for a price of $199 USD, which, in comparison to 2019 standards, that would be the equivalent of about $840 USD. Wow?!! With that I certainly understand why my father wouldn’t have one in the house!

So, what were the popular games for the Atari 2600? Well, everyone would have their favourites of the quickly expanding list and though I wasn’t one of the original players, I certainly had my favourite games. Admittedly, once I was able to, I did purchase an Atari console of my own.

Here is a list of some of the games that I loved to play:

I spent many hours in my youth playing these games, yet still not comparable to the time that kids today spend playing games. My house is no exception to that rule! For those of you that play video games today, or have children/ grandchildren that do, you can sure see how things have changed as far graphics and game play. It is interesting to see that a number of these games have been remastered and are again loved today, whether online or with one of the ‘retro’ remakes of the Atari system. Today, we would refer to these as, “classics”!

Are you, or were you, a gamer? Did you play any of these? Perhaps you have your own list of favourites. Do share! Be sure to come back tomorrow when I share my topic for the letter B for the A to Z Challenge.

Stay safe… stay healthy!

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