During the early 1980s, video gaming was mostly done in the arcades located inside department stores here in the Philippines. As a young kid, I can only drool in envy as other well-to-do teens played the arcade machines because the quarter token coins were a bit expensive. My parents did not believe in wasting money in such "foolish forms of entertainment" as video games were known in those days.
Imagine to my surprise when one fine morning when my father came home after a week long business conference trip, he brought home an Atari 2600 console exactly like the one pictured above. I was ecstatic and just could not believe it!
My father might have spent a big portion of his bonus incentives on that machine. In those days, only the rich and upper middle-class folks can afford it. He figured that if he could not get to savor the nicest toys during his childhood, well at least his disabled child (me) must have one at least. Thanks a lot, papa!
The Atari 2600 console came with a pair of sturdy one-button joysticks and a pair of one-button rotating knobs known as "paddles" for certain pinball-like games and driving games. The packed in cartridge game was a variety shooter called Combat. We attached the console right away to the old analog color television for test play.
The Atari 2600 games' visuals were terribly 4-bit blocky graphics in those days. But to kids like me during that time, it was so damn cool. Combat has 27 games in one, which were just variations of its tank and airplane gameplay.
A neighbor's kid friend and I had a blast playing it in those days. We played it so much during summer days that we sometimes skipped eating lunch. So much that my parents had to limit my video games playtime to just weekends so they could use the TV.
I bought and traded some games later to play on that venerable console. That Atari 2600 brought me many hours of entertainment and evading boredom. Constant playing by kids and adults in my family resulted in the joysticks being hard to control and needed fixing.
The Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom), known as the NES in the United States, came around during the late 1980s. It was superior in graphics and pretty much made the Atari 2600 obsolete. My father had to sell my Atari 2600 to his technician friend who can fix it in order to buy me that Famicom later.
That Atari 2600 was my first video game console. It was pretty good but was beaten out by Nintendo's Famicom who made it look like a sorry ass bitch. And I am unashamed to declare that it is one of the main reasons that made me a video gaming enthusiast for life.