The Journey of This Gamer Dad

It began with a little triangle shooting dots at flying circles.

It was 1987, I was bouncing off the walls with excitement. It was Christmas morning, and I FINALLY had my 5-yr-old hands on a piece of tech that I was sure would change my life forever…
The Etch-a-Sketch Animator.

Etch-a-Sketch Animator

This little beauty took all the knob turning goodness of the original and – you guessed it – animated it.

It was magical.

For 5 minutes.

Until I heard this eerie bass music that sounded like a compressed MIDI version of the Jaws theme, regularly interrupted by the distinct ‘pew-pew’ of laser gunfire. I look up at the TV to see this:

That’s right. Asteroids. My older brother had gotten an Atari 2600 for Christmas. I was spellbound. I was hooked. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I knew I wanted to be involved.

Frogger Atari 2600
Frogger. I’d probably stop my car if a 12-ft frog were desperately trying to cross.

I quickly realized that Asteroids was a mediocre game compared to some of the other options available. Thankfully, my parents had included a box full of game cartridges to choose from (Little did we know – the far superior NES was being opened and played in households across the globe that same morning. It’s probably better that we didn’t know that.)

Pitfall Atari 2600
Pitfall never ends. Just like Activision.

The following years were filled with benchmarks that still resonate with me.

The first time I played Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. The walls covered in posters from Nintendo Power. The adrenaline-pumping speed of Sonic The Hedgehog. Finally mastering the cape in Super Mario World. Getting lost in the story and characters of Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger.

I’m hoping to revisit these memories in greater detail in future posts, so stay tuned.

The bottom line is this: I had discovered video games, and there was no turning back. My journey as a gamer – eventually a gamer dad – had begun.


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