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My 1980s Gaming: 1981

On 09/08/2019 at 08:48 PM by KnightDriver

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I had my first experiences with PC gaming this year. It was a banner year for arcade and home video games.

I played arcade games: Defender, Tempest, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Galaga, Ms Pac-Man, and Venture. Mostly played at the mall but also at a tiny arcade in a local hotel where I experienced Tempest for the first time. Vector graphics games looked great in dark arcade cabinets and couldn’t be replicated at home, at least until the Vectrex came out in ‘82. I only found out about that much later, though. I’ve never owned one.

At home on Atari I played Freeway, Ice Hockey, Kaboom!, Stampede and Tennis. I played a lot of Tennis since I was a tennis player. Kaboom! Was a fun game that used the paddle controllers. But Stampede was, and still is now, my favorite. You play as a cowboy on a horse lassoing cattle. You move up and down the screen and try and lasso all the cattle before they pass you. Obstacles will get in your way and lassoing a stationary bull will net you bonus points. I still play this game from time to time.

I probably played Zork on my aunt’s IBM PC this year. It was quite interesting, but I never finished it. I played it again last year on a monitor in the opening room of Call of Duty: Black Ops. I think I liked it better this time even though I got killed by a troll. Back then I was more interested in my aunt’s vast science fiction book collection. I purloined a dozen or so in the bottom of my suitcase. Ain’t I a stinker? That’s how crazy I was for the stuff, though.

Next is 1982. Don't worry, I'm only going through by year up until the game crash of '83. Things changed for me after that. 



Cary Woodham

09/08/2019 at 09:13 PM

I was a little kid at the time, so I don't remember exactly which year I played those classic games.  They all kind of run together for me.  I remember more WHAT I played, not WHEN.

PS: I liked the Jill Valentine cosplayer more than the Morrigan one at PAX. :)


09/08/2019 at 10:05 PM

I was a teenager, so the memory is a little clearer for me but a lot of it is guessing. But like in the case of Wizardry that came out in '81, I know I played it in '84 because that's when the Apple IIc came out and my parents bought one. I mean, it could've been '85 but definitely not later. It's fun to try and figure out just when. 

They were all amazing in that picture. That guy up front looked like he popped right out of the game. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

09/08/2019 at 10:23 PM

Yeah, vector graphics were amazing. Such great color. My favorite was the sit-in Star Wars game where you pilot the xwing. So damn immersive. 


09/10/2019 at 10:28 PM

Yeah, that was a good one. My friend Mark killed it at that game. 


09/09/2019 at 04:12 AM

1981 was when I started playing. My first game was a Donkey Kong arcade machine at the Ak-Chin commissary in Arizona. At home my mom introduced me to a charming little game on the TRS-80 called Bee Wary.


09/10/2019 at 10:24 PM

I wouldn't mind checking out a lot of games I never played on computers like TRS-80, C64 and that European one, what was it, Amistrad? Amiga?


09/11/2019 at 04:56 PM

Amistrad was the one you were thinking of there.

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