Have You Played Atari Today?

Like almost every 80s kids, we had an Atari 2600 (aka the Atari Video Computer System) and it was the best thing ever.

It had a nice woodgrain veneer to blend in with the furniture and TVs of the time:

And that controller just begged to be chewed on.

And it set atop our 80s TV:

This TV offered 19 whole inches of diagonal viewing area, red LED 7-segment channel display, monaural sound, 480 scan lines of resolution, a 29.97 fps refresh rate, a color image and the Magnavox branding delivered in an all-caps ITC Avant Garde Gothic typeface.

And it featured a somewhat odd remote:

What made it unique was that the Touch Tune remote used high-frequency sound tones rather than radio or IR signals to command the TV. If you held it up to your ear and pressed a button, you could hear a very-high pitched tone.

This was not terribly far removed from the first TV remote control—the Zenith Space Command from the 1950s that used tiny little hammers to strike tone bars to generate sounds that the TV would “hear” and interpret, not unlike a handheld xylophone.

Read more about the origins of the Space Command and TV remotes in general here.

Since we only had a few TV channels at the time (ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, along with a few independent stations that only seemed to play old movies, religious programming and westerns), we occupied our time playing games such as Combat, Air-Sea Battle and Circus Atari—a breakout-type game that featured low-rez clowns bouncing each other off a teeter-totter to pop balloons. The disturbing part was that if you failed to catch a clown as it came back down to the ground, it would splat against the ground and wiggle its legs while in the throes of death:


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Featured Image By PC Mag

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