January 27, 2010


Now, let's travel just a few years into the future, to 1982, where future K Records all star Mirah (who has been mentioned before) is playing Atari in her living room, probably in Bala Cynwyd*, PA, just outside of Philly.
*Sidenote: I really love when people not familiar with the Philadelphia metro area attempt to pronounce "Bala Cynwyd." It's "Ba La Kin Wood," for the record, homies.

A year later, in 1983, THE HUMBLE NARRATOR OF THIS BLOG will be born in Hackensack, NJ. A few years after that, my family would frequently travel to see family friends who had, awesomely, an Atari (ready for home use in, really?, 1977) AND a pinball machine in their basement. Some particularly bright childhood memories for me were the mornings spent in their old Pennsylvania farmhouse in PJs with the family's oldest son and still dear friend Matt, playing Pac Man, Donkey Kong and some military-ish shooting game that I can't remember the name of. Matt?

Old school video games are awesome. Did you know that you can now download emulators for computers and play all your favorite games from childhood. I recently did this at the urging of some friends/bandmates and my life hasn't been the same, not necessarily in a good way. Mostly, I've been glued to a chair listening to the audio version of Game Change (which is completely cheap and salacious) while frantically trying to defeat pixelated viruses with pixelated pills in Dr. Mario.
Also, if you live in NY, you can go play all the arcade versions of these old games in person, while drinking overpriced microbrews, at Barcade in Williamsburg. I have a friend coming to town from LA this weekend and I am thinking about putting this on our list of places to hit up.

Anyway, video game digression aside, the point of this is that if you were a child of the 80s, like I was, life was pretty rad. We had the fun of video games (and, as Mirah points out, the fun drama of destroying our friends and siblings at them), Saturday morning cartoons and the Sunday funnies, but not the electronic time-suck of the internet and cell phones. We played outside a lot and would later be excited by things like snap bracelets. Public Enemy and Faith No More were just forming, while ABBA and The Eagles were breaking up. Life was good.


Frogger, I'm a frog.
Breakout, you're a dog.
You're a dog for trying to run me over.
1982, I'm playing Atari
In my living room.

Time Travel Prep: Now that we're in 1982, you should probably know some key facts so you can blend in, BTTF style. In the US, we're having a recession and Toyota just came out with a new kind of car. It's called the Camry. Cal Ripken JR. is going to break records, the St. Louis Cardinals are going to win the World Series and Time Magazine's Man of the Year is going to be, for the first time, non-human: the computer. Very interesting, considering that Apple's about to introduce it's much-hyped Tablet-of-the-Future today. 1982, how far we've come.


George C said...

Hey Gina,
I almost feel young again;)

I think the game you are thinking of is Missile Command.

For the record, I'm sure "Combat" was on the roster.. Defender was also dope.

I was amazed and thrilled a few years ago when I discovered that I could have the ENTIRE Atari 2600 catalog in like a few megabytes. crazy!

And I was just lamenting not having that pinball game (Coppa '82) anymore. Ah well...

That Barcade sounds awesome! (but only if they charge you quarter or 50c rather than a $1 to play)

(To quote another '80s addage courtesy of Nancy Reagan) Thanks for the memories!:)

p.s. (I actually still have a 2600 that I got a couple years ago. I have about 20 games, but simple games premises and limited attention span means I probably would only spend a total of 30mins playing if I played each one!;)

g said...

OH YEAH!: http://www.timwu.org/log/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/missile_command1.jpg