I’ve been thinking about this a little lately. I’ve made claims on here that I’m not much of a gamer and I still feel like that’s true. At least, I think it’s true today. But I also look back at my life and am fairly certain that I have not been without a home console at any point in my life. It doesn’t matter the console generation, I’m pretty sure I’ve always had access to some sort of home video game console.
And that’s also true to this day. No, I didn’t rush to pre-order the PlayStation 5 as soon as it was made available. I’m not running out to get one as soon as Best Buy has some in stock again. I want one, sure, but I’m not dying to get it. I do, however, have a PS4… and a Nintendo Switch…
Now ask me how often I actually play games on either of those systems.
It’s rare… I’ll leave it at that.
But back in the day, it was all my parents could do to pry a controller out of my hands. And it all started with my family’s first home console, the ColecoVision.
BTW… I was wrong above, when I said I had access to every console generation throughout my life. ColecoVision, according to its Wikipedia page, was a part of the 2nd generation of home video game consoles. I suppose the 1st generation would have been the machine that only let you play Pong? I don’t know.
What I do know is that we had a ColecoVision and it’s the first video game I can remember playing. The controllers were clunky things that just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. They were about the size of a large universal remote with a number pad (like a telephone) taking up the bottom half and a small analog controller at the top. It had two buttons, one on either side of the controller. So it was awkward to hold, because you had to keep it balanced in your palm with your thumb on one side button and your middle finger on the other, while you used your other hand to move the analog stick.
As the story goes, I was pretty good with the games we had for this thing. Apparently, my best game was Donkey Kong, which was (as I would later learn) significantly different from the arcade or NES versions. In the version we owned, there were only three different levels which just repeated forever. Or until you lost all your lives.
Other games I remember were Q*Bert, the first video game where the protagonist curses when he gets killed, Donkey Kong, Jr., another one I was pretty good at, and I’m pretty sure we had a pretty gnarly Smurfs game.
I don’t remember many games that were strictly for the ColecoVision. And I think that’s because my memory blurs the lines between that system and the Atari 2600, which was also a 2nd generation console.
I’ll get into Atari 2600 details next time I do one of these posts. But I will say the lines are blurred particularly because the ColecoVision had an add on piece that would plug into the front of the console that allowed us to play those Atari 2600 cartridges through the ColecoVision. It wasn’t until the ColecoVision itself finally gave out that we broke down and bought a proper Atari.
So that’s the earliest gaming console I remember having in my life. What’s your earliest video game memory? Let me know in the comments!
Feature image from Brett Weiss: Words of Wonder