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My 1970s Gaming

On 08/30/2019 at 08:55 PM by KnightDriver

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August being my month to review the 1970s in all aspects, I thought I’d share some of my gaming experiences here on Pixlbit.  

I was born in 1967, so I was between the ages of 4 and 12 during the 70s - childhood days at the dawn of video games. I would say I was mostly into playing baseball at the time but there are some games to note.  

My memories, up until about 1975 when my parents moved into a bigger house, are about Pong, board games, and a single arcade racing game, probably Gran Trak. Mostly, though, I was into other hobbies like: model railroading, rocketry, WWII model building, slot car racing, Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars, stamp and sports card collecting and a lot of outdoors tomfoolery with my neighborhood friends.  

In the new house, the second half of the 70s saw me start to like reading science fiction and fantasy. Then Star Wars, handheld electronic games and the Atari 2600 and Intelivision home consoles all appeared. I guess you could say 1977 was year-one for video games for me, so let’s start there.  

My dad, with always an interest in the latest gadgets, got the Atari 2600 for Xmas for us kids. I remember playing Air-Sea Battle and Combat at launch. I probably thought it was pretty cool. I might even have been that kid who freaks out at Xmas, I don’t really remember.  

The next year, 1978, I do remember. I was playing little-league baseball, so related video games appealed to me. I had a Mattel Electronics Baseball LED handheld that I was obsessed with (I probably slept with it, which is something I used to do as a kid. I also had a walkie talky in hand and my baseball hat on). My various neighbors had the football, basketball and hockey ones. I used to go over to their places to play them.  


Space Invaders came out in the arcades that year. I probably played it on a family vacation. I wasn’t going to arcades on my own yet, I don’t think. At home on the Atari 2600 we had BasketballBreakoutNight Driver and Super Breakout . I definitely got into Night Driver and Super Breakout. Both used the paddle controllers. 


1979 saw the release of Mattel’s Intellivsion, the first serious challenger to Atari. My neighbor had one. Their family was strongly into sports, so it made sense since it had the best sports games. I think I only remember Las Vegas Poker from the release year though. Most of the games came out in the 80s. On the Atari 2600 my family had Bowling and Canyon Bomber. I played a lot of Bowling. In the arcade were Lunar Lander and Asteroids. I liked Lunar Lander a lot but it wasn’t as ubiquitous as Asteroids. Everyone was playing Asteroids and it was everywhere.  

lunar lander

I should mention two other important 70s games: Dungeons and Dragons in ‘74 and Squad Leader in ‘77. I became aware of DnD in ‘77 or so when Advanced DnD came out. Squad Leader I discovered in the 80s as a teenager.  



So that’s my 70s gaming. It was mostly board games until the late 70s and then really only a handful of video games until the explosion of stuff in the 80s. I’m revisiting the 80s in September.





08/30/2019 at 09:07 PM

I started gaming in the early 80s, but I've played most of this stuff or things like it. My sister had an off-brand Pong console, and I was familiar with all the Atari stuff since my cousins and friends had 2600s. I had a few cheesy LCD games from Radio Shack and even a Nintendo Game & Watch, until I got my first Game Boy.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/30/2019 at 10:13 PM

I had game & watch too. My dad did business in Asia in the eighties and he brought one back for each of us kids. 


08/31/2019 at 09:23 PM

I totally missed the Game & Watch stuff. I don't know why. i guess my friends never got one. I played the games on 3DS not too long ago and they were simple but fun games. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/31/2019 at 11:22 AM

I had Night Driver when my roommate and I were collecting games back in the late nineties. Wish I still had it. We had a lot of cool stuff. 

I've played D&D over the years. It can be a lot of fun. 


08/31/2019 at 09:16 PM

I've played Night Driver on several collections since then, one on DS and another on Xbox One. It's interesting to play them again after so long.

My best friend in the 80s and I were way into DnD. I should've found a group to play with though. Most of the time I'd just create character sheets and design modules on my own. I really liked the natural history aspect of DnD game worlds. I'd make up frequency tables to determine what indiginous animals would show up on a compaign: Dahl Sheep - rarity common, roll 1-4 on a d6 every 6 hours. Ha ha. 


08/31/2019 at 12:15 PM

Primo stuff. Have you seen those plug and play controllers they have at Walmart? I was thinking of picking 1 or 2 of those up.


08/31/2019 at 09:05 PM

i was just at Best Buy and saw several. I think that handheld with Atari games is interesting. Also, one that looked like a Game Boy and had a lot of games on it. I'd probably be collecting them right now if I could. 


08/31/2019 at 06:26 PM

My uncle and his wife got Pong as a wedding gift, it really wasn't their thing. They'd hook it up when we kids would come over, but we always got bored pretty quickly with it and ended up outside. I was living in Europe when the Atari came out over here, and we never got one, but I did like to play arcade games when we'd visit my uncle in Boston. The pizza placedown the street from him had Space Invaders and a pinball machine.


08/31/2019 at 09:02 PM

All of these early games weren't long time commitments like today's games. I'd play with one of my sisters or with a friend for an hour at most. 

That's great. Arcades were a lot of fun to go to - something special and an experience you couldn't get at home. I keep trying to think if I played any pinball tables back then but I can't remember any. I had to have though, because arcades were still full of pinball machines. 

Cary Woodham

09/02/2019 at 09:45 PM

I was born in the 70's, but I caught on to gaming early on.  My dad built our first TV and installed a Pong-like machine in it.  I didn't realize it was a game, though.  Just something you did on the TV when there was nothing else on. I was really young.

The first time I realized I was playing a video game was when I first played Pac-Man, but I did play a lot of 70's games like Fire Truck, Space Invaders, Shoot Away, foosball, and others.


09/02/2019 at 10:27 PM

Hey, my friend got me that Pac-Man Hallmark ornament online for under $20. The Galaga one is expensive though. Lowest price we saw was $50. I'm not going over $20. But I'm excited to get the Pac-Man one soon. 

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