A Blast From the Past – Revisiting Atari’s 2600 First-Year Release Cartridge Games


Top 100 Video Games

I have been working on a project lately – that is rating every video game I can get my hands on, based on personal opinion mostly, although encouraging user input to re-review to change my opinion.  While I have only had a few hits and votes here and there, the webpage has been very entertaining.  I only remember starting with the NES, so getting to play old-school Atari isn’t really nostalgic for me; it’s the first time I’ve played them (I did get to play Pitfall as a bonus stage from the SNES version of Pitfall, that is the only exception).  By and large, I think the Atari just has too many games for such a simple system.  At the same time, one must understand that this was the basis and foundation for the games that would later come to fruition.  Without Atari, who knows if the Nintendo competition would try ti infiltrate the market?  Even more so, one of my favorite SNES games was Pitfall–this would not have happened without an original.  Most sports games, in particular the NES versions, found their beginnings with the Atari models leading their inspiration.  Admittedly, I have played a few non-1977 releases, including Space Invaders & Pac-Man, but the first release of 1977 was what would determine the fate of the Atari’s success.  I have to say, looking at the games, they seem to have inspired my cellphone games and apps you may see on tablets or Iphones.  These games really are the games that started it all, and I dare say without them , the smartphone craze would not be nearly as successful.  Some games are now downloadable apps, such as Combat; but I have the most fun with a game called Surround.  It is basically a 2-player version of a game called Snake, which appeared on one of my Nokia Phones many years later.  These games aren’t story-based, but they make a nice way to kill some time nowadays, especially if you can find a phone app rendition, or are lucky enough to have an Atari at home.


Remembering 9/11

Looking back on this moment in history, I’m not sure why it became such a big deal.  Yes, it was a travesty, it was heartbreaking for many, and I’m not discounting the horror of the people who were directly affected with family in close proximity to 9/11, nor am I defending the actions of Al Qaeda.  Yes, it was right to retaliate and make sure cautionary measures were taken.  But what I am saying is that there are plenty of other equally troubling, equally devastating stories that go on day in, and day out, both in terms of impact and at times, number-wise as well.  Some may crawl up to your Facebook, and at times it may make the news, but more often than not it is a local newspaper that is only remembered by that city and possibly it’s borders.  So why was this Al Qaeda incident so pop culture?  Did you know that in my town alone, a city about 1% the size of NYC, has had terrorist threats and school shutdowns from BB gun casings being found?  The bomb threat was from a man who supposedly left a box outside a bank on a main highway; I don’t think it was real; and in the case of the BB Gun casing, I don’t know if there was any intent, or just someone being negligent/disobedient, carrying his hunting gear with him.  Either way, it affected my city greatly, and the only people who knew about were my city.  It reached the newspapers in a 4-sentences article with no images, other than the local one.  Thankfully, in both of these stories, nobody was hurt (to my knowledge), but it begs the question, why are we publicizing (even still today), Al Qaeda and minority terrorist attacks (most frequently from people of middle eastern descent); more than we publicize the white male terrorists at home?
I remember the day I heard of 9/11.  I was sitting in one of my classes (I actually forget which class it was), and my global studies teachers came running into the classrooms freaking out saying we’re under attack.  We were hundreds of miles away from the attack and had nothing to be worried about in regards to our own safety.  However, the threats posed in much more close proximity pose a much deeper level of intimidation and fear, as it’s not any organization, but just any every day individual could be a suspect, and I might never know it.  Now, take my article as a whole, and put things together.  The local threats have been minimalized and marginalized to such a small scale, and the bank story has been long forgotten, while the school shutdown was fairly recent, so this one is still fresh in our minds.  However, I fear that only in a short few months, this, too, will be forgotten.  People who were not in the school during this case will likely not even know to be prepared.  Day in and day out from my street a car is stolen, arson is committed, or property is graffiti’d, and while I am unsure if people are being prosecuted or caught, the crimes continue every so often.  (To be fair, all I ever get are notes from my neighbor saying her property was stolen/damaged, I have never seen anybody in the act).
However, my car was, at one, time, hit while parked on the side of the road – the culprit confessed and paid, though, as it was a neighbor; however proceeded to hit another parked car some months later.  I have even seen the SWAT team on my road in a small town before.

So what’s my point?  My point is, remembering 9/11 is good for mourning the loss of loved ones and remembering to be prepared for emergencies, but simply remembering does not prevent others from doing bad things; we need to be mindful of our surroundings, and if you see something suspicious, contact your local authority, but ask those with access to media to take a stance on protecting the neighborhood; rather than making sports and budget concerns their headlines, let’s make safety the headlines.  I believe this may help deter, to some degree, those who have criminal thoughts.