July 28, 2006


(Click to Enlarge)

Fueled by my new addiction to this blog, I recently paid a visit to my mom's place in search of my childhood photos. It wasn't long before I located the mother lode.. or should I say my mother's load of pictures. Between the many albums of snapshots and the fresh memories they've unlocked I've got more new blog fodder than you can shake a joystick at.

Speaking of which... there's a certain perfection to the photograph above. Everything is as it should be. Two-player Space Invaders with some good friends. A couple of the guys felt like taking their shoes off to get more comfy. The boy in plaid is in classic belly-on-floor, legs-kicked-up entertainment mode. I (on the right) was having fun even despite my velour shirt. The kid on the far left probably walked in the front door and became mesmerized by the game so quickly that he sat down without removing his coat. Forty-five minutes later after he gets "game over" he'll realize that he's been broiling in his own sweat and rip off his Steelers jacket in a spasm.

Boy, that little corner of the house still seems so inviting to me. Everything is warm and earth-toned, as if we were all gaming in a cave during an autumn sunset. The fact that the Atari 2600 console was designed with a slab of fake wood on the front doesn't seem so strange when you see it in the context of this photo. It blends in seamlessly with the environment.. wooden walls, wooden television, wooden video game system. Though the picture is from the early 80s my living room was clearly reeling from the bicentennial year of '76. I mean my television appears to have been crafted by a Colonial woodworker. Can you spot the oil lamp, the old fashioned iron, the nineteenth century school desk complete with copper candlestick that's straight out of Dickens? (There's actually a butter churn hiding behind the guy in the jacket.) But please don't think I'm knocking the decor. Is the modern living room so much better? Have we found a couch pattern that's going to transcend time?

Anyway, I'll leave you with a parting thought inspired by the photo.. I wish you many times of simple pleasures among friends.


AWG said...

I love that picture. I have a similar one of my own where I'm playing a hand-held football game circa 1980.

D_origional_morbidious said...

Ahhh, the 80's ~smiles warmly~ What blissful after-school fun we had, eh? My favorite game,btw, was Yar's Revenge! I must have turned it over several times and sent in countless polaroid photos of my highest score trying to earn that darned elusive silver Atari jacket which my cousin had and I wanted so very badly, but never got. Thanks for the memories. :]

Anonymous said...

awesome photo! My mom had simular decor and was quite proud of it for reasons I never understood. We even had the same school desk, I guess that was a retro look for the 70's/80's. Nice story about the silver jacket, never knew there was one.

Kirk D. said...

AWG- There was nothing like handheld football to pass the time on a boring Thanksgiving afternoon.

Morbid- You're right about Yar's Revenge. It remains one of the most playable Atarti carts. Ha! I too have many "high score" photos. I remember that you could send high scores in to Activision and receive special patches.
And I remember the expensive silver Jacket well.

anonymous- I remember getting whacked by the bench of that school desk a few times. Sometimes it would randomly fall while I sat near it.

iamchief said...

Activision's Pitfall - that was my game. Took the polaroid when I topped 1 million (I think)...never sent it in.

Anyone remember in the late 80's when the cutting edge arcade game came out - "The Dragon's Lair" - it was actually an interactive cartoon or something. Cost, like, 2 dollars to play or something.


the 80's.

Kirk D. said...

Now you can buy Dragon's Lair on DVD and play it with your remote control. (I've finally beaten the dragon this way.)

Showbiz pizza had additional video monitors installed so that the crowds could see the screen. It was 50 cents a pop, but that was double the standard video game price so it sure felt like two bucks.

iamchief said...

50 cents? Probably so. I had Pac Man Fever> back then, so it's all a blur. I literally robbed my sister blind in order to have money for the arcade. Literally. Emptied her piggy bank.

My dad was FUMING!

Ok, you've got me wanting to research 80's arcade games now. Let's see....