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My 1980s Gaming: 1980

On 09/06/2019 at 08:15 PM by KnightDriver

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In the 80s arcades were everywhere and there were multiple home systems to choose from. I was a teenager. I rode a bike to the arcades and checked out all the home systems through my network of friends in the neighborhood. Atari had simple fun games, ColecoVision had the best arcade ports and Intellivision had the best simulations of sports. Let's take a look starting with 1980.

In 1980 I rode my bike to the mall. It was 4 miles of hilly roads to get there but that didn’t deter me at all. This mall was so big it had two arcades. I played a lot of BerzerkMissile Command and Pac-Man. Berzerk was especially memorable for me because of its electronic voice sounds. It said, “Intruder alert!” as you entered a maze of electrified walls and death dealing robots. A scary game but a lot of fun. I’ll never forget it.

On Atari 2600 at home I played AdventureGolfFishing Derby and Skiing. Activision made some of the best games for the system. I played a lot of Atari’s Adventure and Golf but Activision’s Skiing was especially good. I think Activision, made up of x-Atari employees, really groked how to design for the system. They accepted its limitations and kept things simple, colorful and very playable. I went skiing several times after playing this.

 At my neighbor’s place they had bought an Intellivision. I played a lot of sports games on it, but my favorite was the strategy game Sea Battle. You viewed a collection of islands from high above and created a fleet of ships in one corner. You moved them out to fight the other side. When the fleets got close, the screen would zoom in and you’d fight by launching projectiles at each other. Each ship type had different shooting mechanics. I tried to get someone to play it with me every time I was at my neighbor’s house because it was strictly two-player.  



Cary Woodham

09/06/2019 at 09:08 PM

I know I already told you my story of how I first played Pac-Man.  Definitely a very impactful game for me.

By the way, my PAX articles are up at


09/07/2019 at 10:13 AM

Pac-Man was huge. I have the Pac-Man Fever album on my wall right now just to commemorate 80s gaming. 

I'll check those articles out right now. 


09/07/2019 at 12:00 PM

My first encounter with Pac-Man was the weird 2600 version. My first arcade encounter with Pac-Man was Ms. Pac-Man. I enjoyed it, but my favorite game in the arcades was Donkey Kong. Even then I was a huge Nintendo nut, as I also loved Mario Bros in the arcade and played a lot of its home versions. I also played the Atari version of Berzerk.


09/08/2019 at 07:51 PM

Pac-Man was never a favorite with me but I liked it. Donkey Kong too. I remember getting into DK Jr. more, weirdly enough. I like climbing vines, I guess. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

09/08/2019 at 08:19 AM

I saw my older siblings playing PacMan on Atari before I saw it in arcades. Not a pretty game, but still cool. 


09/08/2019 at 07:47 PM

It's weird I put up with such a port of Pac-Man on Atari 2600 at the time. Thing is, it was always a thrill to see something close to the arcade version at home, even if it did flicker like crazy and the maze was totally different. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

09/08/2019 at 10:02 PM

Yeah, it was pretty ugly. But it was pretty fun. 

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