Classic Gaming – Wow, I really am Getting Old!

Classic Gaming, or retrogaming as it is also known, involves the collecting and sometimes playing computer, video and arcade games that were popular around the 1970’s and 80’s. Names like Atari, Channel F, Colecovision and others are commonly known and collected by people involved in this hobby.

Getting started in classic gaming is pretty easy due to the current nostalgia fad. Many video game manufacturers have compiled the old style games onto current day media so that they can be played with modern day hardware such as Playstation and Xbox. Just playing the old games may be a logical starting point for someone with a beginning interest in the hobby.

People with this hobby often collect the original hardware and game cartridges in order to completely relive the original experience. These items can be found on eBay and many collector sites at fairly reasonable prices.

Kind of a middle ground approach is to purchase hardware emulators that allow you to play the original game cartridges on modern day hardware. These may or may not be cheaper than just buying the original systems. With the newer hardware, you will get some improvement in graphics.

Classic Gaming Systems

Atari – This maker virtually invented the home video game market with the release of Space Invaders in 1979. Atari had other notable systems prior to that time such as Pong in 1972 and Video Pinball in 1977. Also in 1977 Atari issued a hugely popular model VCS/2600 for which there are about 800 games available. Other models by Atari include: 5200 in 1983 which was based on the Atari home computer hardware; 7800 in 1986 which had backward compatibility giving it a huge number of games. All these followed by Atari’s list of home computers which had some game functionality.

Commodore – One of the first home computer makers, used their computing machines to play games. These began in 1981 with the Vic20 followed by the famous Commodore 64 in 1982 and the C-16 and Plus 4 in 1984. Since the primary purpose of these machines was computer applications, the popularity as a game console did not rank the same as makers like Nintendo and Atari.

Nintendo – This is most likely the most famous of all video game makers. Nintendo had an early success in 1979 with one of the first handheld games. Next was the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1987. In 1990 Nintendo began selling the Gameboy which became one of the best selling game units of all time. In 1991 the Super NES hit the market and became very popular with an excellent list of games, including one of the best games ever, Mario Kart.

Sega – The Sega Master System came on the market in 1987 followed by the Master System II in 1990. Sega had good games and equipment but did not achieve the success of some of the other makers.

Sinclair – Much like Commodore, Sinclair was trying to make home computers and had video games as kind of an add-on. In 1980 Sinclair produced the American ZX80 which could be bought as a kit or fully assembled. In 1982 Spectrum 16K and Spectrum 48K released. While the graphics capability was not great, Sinclair really had some pretty good games for their machines.

Turbo Graphx – These were known as PC Engine in Japan. These began to appear in the late 1980’s as the Turbo Grafx16. This was their first 16 bit system to be released in the USA.

Vectrex – This happens to be one of the most sought after systems. It is a vector graphics based system. It came with a nine by eleven inch black and white screen with built in Asteroids clone named Minestorm. The device came with screen overlays that gave the illusion of color.

Classic Gaming Games

Donkey Kong – Developed by Nintendo and released in 1981 as a single player game. This is a multi level game in which Mario must save his girlfriend, Pauline, from Donkey Kong. The levels include jumping between girders, elevators and conveyors. Mario’s enemies include flames, barrels and bouncing rivets.

Miner 2049’er – This game was developed for the Atari 800 in late 1982. This game is built on some of the same basic principles as used in the original Donkey Kong.

Manic Miner – Released in 1983, Manic Miner featured a 20 level game. This game was re-released in later years for the Gameboy.

Knight Lore – Developed for single player use on the ZX Spectrum hardware, this game was released in 1983. The player must travel through a series of rooms with traps in them.

Burger Time – This game released in 1983 features a cook that has to make burgers while being pursued by hot dogs, pickles and eggs. The cook’s only weapon is pepper that he can use to freeze them.

Bubble Bobble – This game came later, being released in 1988, and was developed for two players. Lots of levels in this game where bubble shooting dinosaurs roam the screens. Has been updated and re-released for many different systems.

Final Thoughts on Classic Gaming

These are a few of the systems and games that were popular during the early days of computer chips and video displays. There are many more of each. A bit of research on the web will astound you with the exhaustive lists.

If classic gaming sounds interesting then you are lucky as this is a great time to get into this hobby. There are still lots of working machines around that can be purchased for pretty reasonable prices. Games appear to be no problem at all as there were millions on these made and sold. This hobby is perfect for those wanting to revisit some of the fun they had during their childhood!

Other descriptors include find a hobby, old computer games and pong.

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