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Profile Atarian: Brendan Onfrichuk - The Atari Times

Profile Atarian: Brendan Onfrichuk

What the hell is this piece of junk?
by Brendan Onfrichuk

October 4, 2006
Those were the words that spilled from my mouth when I opened up a large box labeled "video game" at my grandmother's house in the summer of 97. "Why thats your father's atari dear" said my grandmother. I new the name Atari but it had never really meant anything to me at the time. I did not know it at the time but it was a heavy sixer complete with those fancy CX-10 joysticks (you heard me). My dad came by and helped me hook it up to an old TV and we played Combat, Homerun, Bowling and Football just to name a few. But then I opened a game in a blue box with a flying saucer on the front, inserted the cartridge and in an instant I was playing Space Invaders. Unlike the other games I was playing this one for hours with my dad in a two player variation. It was an intriguing concept, we could never win but we didn't want to loose. The invading forces just got tougher each level. As my score rose past my father's we engaged in an intense battle royal of wits and cat-like reflexes. And just as it started, it ended in an instant. That night I experienced "Atari Finger" for the first time that night but it wouldn't be the last.

I continued to play the heavy sixer every yearly visit. My grandmother wouldn't let me take it home so I knew I needed to get one for myself somehow. I asked for one on many occasions, birthdays, Christmas and even Easter (I was desperate). My father was convinced it would not be a smart investment and he wasn't comfortable using eBay yet. I didn't get one until I was working at a thrift store. A 2600 jr. "Short Rainbow" was on the shelf, I grabbed it and ran to the phone it the back room. I called my dad and told him to get down to the store as fast as possible with $2. Even he couldn't turn down that price but he needed an hour to get there. So I hid the console in the back room (something employees are not supposed to do) and told the boss I'd put in an hour of overtime. After my shift my father showed up and I took the 2600 descrietly to the counter and just as I suspected it was sold as "misc" electronics for $2. I only had one CX-40 and a copy of Defender but I played that 2600 for hours that night. A tear rolled down my cheek while I was playing (I'm not joking).

Before the 2600 I used to have an NES which was my first console and a Genesis. Unfortuneatly those consoles are gone now and I am rebuilding that part of my childhood youth. Collecting has never been more fun and It's my favourite hobby. Infact, I'm writing this article so that I can have more money for collecting (can you think of a better thing to do with the money). But collecting for those consoles isn't as exciting (or as cheap for that matter) as the 2600. My favourite 2600 game is Double Dragon and I love playing that with my brother.

Now my dad and I are a dynamic duo of collectors. His experience in electronics repair has fixed a Sega Master System, 3DO and countless joysticks. He has recently changed his mind about classic consoles and bought me a Saturn, Intellivision, 7800 and a CDX (oh yeah) for various occasions. And how many dads do you know who are cool enough to buy a Dreamcast, SNES and Jaguar for himself. I will allways have a soft spot for Atari but more importantly my father. Without him I wouldn't be collecting video games and I wouldn't be writing this article right now. While my favourite console isn't an Atari their games are nothing short of classics or masterpieces in my book. My name is Brendan Onfrichuk and I am an Atarian and I have my father to thank for it.

Reader Comments for Profile Atarian: Brendan Onfrichuk

Thumbs up! by Darryl B. on 2006-10-09 00:04:03
Wow, what a nice article. It's always good to hear of someone being "converted" back to the dinosaur/earliest console days from something that, as a shock to new people, looks to be a "piece of junk" at first glance ;)
Double Dragon? by Colin H. on 2006-10-13 22:00:17
Wow, nice to see some love for a late release title other than Solaris. I imagine, from your story, that the two player mode goes over big in your house.
Your articles by Yo Brendan on 2006-10-26 12:57:55
YOU ROCK. I tpye your name in on google and your the frist one that comes up in the results! WOOOOHOOO
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