I had three handheld electronic games in the late 1970s.
The Mattel Football Game allowed you to score touchdowns and kick field goals against the opposing team. If you figured out the pattern for the opposing team, you can score 100 points to zero points for every game.
You couldn’t beat the Mattel Battlestar Galactica Space Alert. The game ended only when a Cylon Raider reaches the bottom of the screen to destroy the Galactica. Each wave of 20 Cylon Raiders kept coming down the screen in the same predictable pattern. That pattern allowed me to play the game for a very long time.
The Coleco Quiz Wiz was a bit different. The “computer” plugs into a cartridge with a booklet that had 1,001 trivia questions. Since I memorized the 1,001 answers for the first cartridge, I had the answers for the second and third cartridges. I gave up on buying any more cartridges after I discovered that pattern.
My parents got me two video game consoles that came out in 1977.
The Magnavox Odyssey 2000 was similar to the Atari Pong. Both Magnavox and Atari came out with their version of Pong in 1972. Magnavox sued Atari for patent infringement in 1974 and won their case in 1977. Atari paid $700,000 for a licensing agreement.
The Coleco Telstar Combat was a tank combat game. A pair of fixed joysticks controlled the movement of each tank and the button fires the gun. Players maneuvered their tank around the walls to shoot at each other.
Both consoles hooked up to the TV via the TV/game switch box. That switch box would hold a prominent place in my life for the next 15 years.
I was five years old when I first saw the Atari Pong arcade machine in 1975. My father and I were in the basement of the Sear’s store outside of downtown San Jose. Like many department stores in the area at that time, the return desk was in the basement. We waited while my mother returned something.
My father reached into his pocket, pulled out a quarter, and dropped it into the coin slot. The black-and-white game started after a moment. We each turned a knob to control a paddle that bounced the ball across the screen. I don’t recall what the final score was when the game ended. No doubt that my father won since his hand-eye coordination was better than a five-year-old.
I wouldn’t play another arcade machine until the early 1980s.
A twit on Twitter wrote that playing a “first person shooter game past 30 ain’t a pleasant experience.” That was in reference to FortNite, which is a third-person shooter and not a first-person shooter. I responded that I’m 52-years-old, still using my Quake II mouse pad from 1997 to play video games and to get off my virtual lawn. That was one of my most popular tweets ever. Let’s talk about my 25-year-old Quake II mouse pad on my desk.
When my friend and I saw “The Matrix Resurrections” on Christmas Eve, the movie was deja vu for us. Thomas Anderson, played by Keanu Reeves, is a video game designer in San Francisco. His team working on the sequel to “The Matrix” trilogy called “The Matrix 4.”
That happened to us 20 years ago. We worked at Atari when “Enter The Matrix” entered testing in late 2002. A video game with exclusive live-action video from “The Matrix Reloaded,” the first sequel to “The Matrix.”