Archive for the 'Home Consoles' Category

Usborne Guide to Computer and Video Games (Usborne, 1982)

Computer Games 1982-1031

Computer Games 1982-3033

Computer Games 1982-4034

Computer Games 1982-5035

Computer Games 1982-5036

Computer Games 1982-5038

Computer Games 1982-5039

Computer Games 1982-5040

Computer Games 1982-5041







Computer Games 1982-5044

Computer Games 1982-5045

Computer Games 1982-5045 Computer Games 1982-5046

Computer Games 1982-5047

Computer Games 1982-2032

Just a few pages I scanned from my copy—this particular book is not yet available at the Usborne site. Note the “long distance game” predicted “by the year 2000,” somewhat anticipating the internet. The irony is that the internet has enabled an attention deficit disordered culture that, with few exceptions, no longer has the patience or smarts to play a game of chess.

Atari Demonstration Center, Circa 1982

Atari Demo Tower

Two more from the Tower Records Project. The location is Mountain View, California. I don’t recall many of these demo centers inside record stores at the time; Tower certainly had the floor space. There’s a list of games on the Entertainment Sale sign, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, released in 1982.

Tower Mountain View Entertainment

Christmas Morning, Circa 1979: Intellivision

intelligent television

Michael Paulus landed the greatest console of all time.

Christmas Morning, Circa 1986: Nintendo Entertainment System

Alf Nintendo 1986

We just called it Nintendo at the time, because there was only one. Those Alf pajamas kill me!

(Photo via Reddit)

Video Game Demonstration Center, Circa 1980

Video Game Demo Circa 1981

According to Vintage Richmond, the shot is from a Circuit City store circa 1981. I think the year is likely 1980, because I don’t see Asteroids, Missile Command, or Yar’s Revenge, all of which were released for the 2600 in 1981. I do see Space Invaders and Warlords, both released in 1980.

There are two 2600 consoles in the photo, as well as a Magnavox Odyssey² and an Intellivision. I keep thinking two things: first, who was the poor bastard who had to get those TVs onto that shelf? And second, those TVs look very precariously perched on that shelf.

Note that customers had to “limit video game play to 5 minutes only”. I’m sure the kids minded the warning.

Sears Tele-Games Demonstration Center, 1977

Sears 1977

Christmas shoppers in Sears waiting for a turn at the “arcade,” via the Billings Gazette. That was a big TV in ’77. See more demo units here and here. Watch a Tele-Games (Atari 2600 clone) commercial from the same year here.

Demo units were extremely important to the early console industry. Many of us were introduced to various games and systems while dad was shopping for tools. The real arcade was usually not too far away, but it wasn’t portable, and it didn’t allow for endless play.

Atari Raiders of the Lost Ark Promo, 1982

Raiders Atari Promo 1982

(Via Atari Mania)

Big Kids Playing Atari, Circa 1983

Atari 1978

My first guess for the year was 1978, but the 2600 model looks like the four-switch, wood veneer version first released in 1980, and the date in the top right corner looks like ’83. I’m betting Video Olympics is what they’re playing.

There’s a record in front of the stereo I can’t identify. I wish I had that chair.

Kid Eating Ice Cream on Star Wars Chair, Circa 1979

Star Wars 1982

I don’t care how cool that chair is, kid—put a shirt on. And take those sunglasses off inside the house!

The console is a Magnavox Odyssey². I can’t make out the LP behind the second TV.

UPDATE (2/5/15): Lefty Limbo has identified the LP as Merle Haggard’s Someday We’ll Look Back (1971). The title is eloquently relevant, is it not? Nice work, Lefty-Deckard.

(Image via eBay)

Christmas Morning, 1977: Magnavox Odyssey 2000

Christmas Odyssey In Ink 1-3-78

The Odyssey 2000 (1977) was the 7th iteration of the original Odyssey, the very first home video game console, designed by Ralph H. Baer. As many of you have heard, Baer passed away on December 5th. Pong, though much more popular, was essentially a knock-off of the Odyssey’s Tennis game, and so the history of home consoles begins with Baer, not Bushnell.

The owl calculator is The Little Professor, a “learning aid” that presents mathematical problems for the user to solve. There’s an emulator, if you want to give it a go.





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