In the 21st century, video games are more real and downright incredible than we ever imagined. Game consoles such as the Sony Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 bring our favourite sports heroes and other characters right into our home with graphics and game play unimaginable to date. This is great for the current generation of gamers but it would not have been possible without the original Atari game console, arguably where it all started.
Back in 1972 the very first game was created for an Atari console with the ever famous title “Pong.” Pong was, and still is to this day, amazing in its simplicity and ability to completely mesmerize anyone who played it for hours. A simple tennis game with one line on one side of the screen and another on the other side, with a square “ball” being hit back and forth was all the graphics you needed for this funfest. The Pong game would be played for hours among friends to determine who the best of the Pong players was. Looking back at it today, it is amazing to think that one could spend as many hours on such a simple game as that.
The beauty of Atari after Pong is that most of the games carried with it the same ability to keep you playing on the simplest of games. The next major Atari system after Pong was the legendary 2600, which sported such games as Asteroids, Space Invaders, Megamania, Superman, Pac-Man and Pitfall! If we thought Pong was going to monopolise endless amounts of our time, we had no idea what was coming at us next.
Asteroids, Pac-Man and Space Invaders in particular are legendary games. If there were a Video Game Hall of Fame similar to major professional sports, these games would certainly be at the top of the list. Once again, very, very simple in concept for each of these games but the re-playability is incredibly high. In addition, the challenges mount quickly as you advance levels and the speed of the game is faster, which is a difference from today’s video games. In modern times, when the games get harder they do become faster but there are many more options and distractions thrown at you to make the game harder. In the Atari days, for the most part, you were facing the same challenge but much faster as the game went on.
Subsequent versions of the Atari console such as the 5200 and 7800 were met with varying degrees of success and then Nintendo began to monopolise the market, making it difficult for Atari to compete. Eventually the company stopped making the consoles and left the games in the archives, which certainly does not diminish our admiration for them. Even today if you have either an original Atari system or an emulator on your computer that runs the games, you will still spend hours playing it. Why not show your love for the Atari with a vintage t-shirt sporting either the Atari logo or your favourite game from the console? Your new t-shirt will show the world your appreciation for the “old timers” of the video gaming world, and earn you points for unique style at the same time!