30 Days: Very First Video Game

This is one of a series called “30 Days of Video Games“, an exercise on daily writing.
Follow the link for the full list.

Wow we’re stretching back on this one.  My very first video game would have to have been played on either the Atari 2600 we had picked up when I was in fourth grade (I honestly remember my dad picking it up for $10 plus a ton of games at a flea market in Sebastopol,) or on one of the Apple II computers we had in school, upon which I also learned how to write my first programs in Basic and Logo.  (What a great feeling it was to create something for your own unbridled joy before learning about deadlines, mis-management and maintenance cycles.)

With the Atari 2600 came some amazing games, especially considering the limitations of the platform.  While that system was ultimately discarded once the Nintendo Entertainment System came out (we were floored by Duck Hunt, one of the few times my family has ever gathered to play a video game together – it wouldn’t happen again until Wii Sports,) my memories of those games are still vivid and exciting.  Space Invaders, CombatAdventure (and all it’s bat-hating glory), Pitfall, and one of my all-time favorite arcade games, Dig Dug, kept me riveted on that small goofy looking box and our hideous 19″ CRT television.

However, I don’t think any of them were my first.  While we had an Atari 2600 in our house well before any personal computer, my uncle had an Apple II, and with it, his brother-in-law’s company’s games.  That company?  Brøderbund Software.  Those games?  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to remember which I played first… Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? or Lode Runner.

If I think about it, it’s amazing how much those two games would shape my way of thinking and enjoyment.  With Lode Runner, I could toil endlessly building elaborate levels, death traps, perhaps, for the brave to run and discover.  And in Carmen Sandiego, I found my love of geography and history as I hunted the world’s most famous thief through locales I could only visit in my mind at the time.

Oh man, good times.

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