Profile Atarian: Darryl Brundage
It all started for me when my mother bought (for some insane reason) me and my sister one of THE most classic game systems ever made, the Atari 2600, in the late 1970s or the early 80s. I had played with friends' Ataris before, but my *own*? Very cool! She bought Space Invaders with it, since you HAVE to buy at least one additional game along with the game that came with it -- in this case, Combat -- which made sense, after all: back then, whenever you asked people what games they have, they usually start off by naming "Space Invaders, Combat"...it's like mom, baseball and apple pie.
Those were the years, I tell ya, full of adventure (not to mention a GAME called Adventure as well :) ) and action. I traded with friends, played the in-store display games, always ripped open the gifts during my birthdays and Christmas first that were suspiciously the size of an Atari cartridge box, and even bought a few m'self. Unfortunately I never had much money as a kid, so I never had a big collection, but it's growing now, which I'll get to later...
Then the 5200 came out, but I never got one, even though I always wanted one...and I STILL do! I'll eventually get one, but I'm currently way in debt and haven't worked in months, but I'll leave out the sob story(ies) of my life, until we get to...
...the 7800! I bought it in 1988 from a friend of mine, but that turned out to be mostly disappointing, due to her family mostly having 2600 games, and not many 7800 games (which was mostly what I WANTED anyway!). However, I had just started working at my first *real* job (i.e. at a courthouse, so my "first" job at Wendy's didn't count in that aspect), so I was able to snag up quite a few 7800 games then, and for a pretty decent price.
I never loved the 7800 as much as the 2600, though, but that was because the 2600 was a wide-eyed world of amazement, and I was just at the right age for it to be incredibly magical to me...and plus it was my first ever console system (my handheld Microvision was the first game system I ever had, actually, but a lot of times I STILL accidentally say my 2600 was my first). Heck, even nowadays, even with much more power and memory, way better graphics, built in speech synthesis and a separate music microprocessor (what a concept!), among many other things, I still can't rattle off my Genesis games collection half as fast as my 2600 collection! With the latter, I can rapid fire the titles out as "Space InvadersCombatCanyon BomberMissile CommandAsteroidsAdventureFreewaySky DiverVideo PinballIndy 500"...and then I lose track, since I had a game or two after that that I had and then sold, so I forget what's next.
And as far as my Genesis games go, if someone asks me what I have? "Uh, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ms. Pac-Man...um...The Immortal, Starflight..." and then I'm trailing off already. Seriously. I've had plenty of fun with my mega-classic Genesis too, but it just doesn't have the same place in my heart as the Atari does.
Oh, and speaking of which, I abandoned the 2600/7800 for my Genesis when I got it in 1992...and then only just recently went back to the Atari games in 2002, and for an odd reason too! My TV started producing a black line that ran through the center of the screen, and the bottom inch and a half or so was also a solid black.
So what does THAT have to do with anything? Since the graphics for the Atari games were, in general, bigger and blockier than the Genesis games, a lot of my Atari games weren't affected by text messages, onscreen instrument layouts, etc. being obscured, so they were still very playable (i. e. a lot of Atari games didn't even take advantage of the entire screen *anyway*, but trying to find the exit in the Genesis version of Gauntlet 4 can be almost impossible when you can't even SEE the (#$!# thing!)!
And, thanks to this wonderful thing that Al Gore "invented" (cough) called the internet, I've been able to trade and get a lot of new 2600 and 7800 games, so I've gotten back into Atari once more, and it's EXCITING once more!
So long live Atari!! It's just too bad it's just a new name for Infogrames now, at the time of this writing... :(