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new gaming subject: console wars

Tomorrow's gaming talk will be a knock-down, drag-out death match fight between Atari 2600, Colecovision and Intellivision.

Let the console wars begin. Start your defense of your favorite one.


All I remember about Intellivision is (a) George Plimpton and (b) the first attempts at game console speech with "B Seveeenteeeen Bommeerrr." (that's B-17 Bomber for those of you who don't speak Intellispeak)

Colecovision - were they the first to have Donkey Kong? Something like that helped them make their skid mark on the underpants of console gaming.

IntelliVision - I'd forgotten about that. I used to play baseball and soccer all the time, though soccer was slooooow. Took forever to run the field.

My game 'system' of choice was an Atari 600, then Atari 800XL - both of which I still own, and the latter of which is at the cottage and still in use. My first 'drive' was a tape drive, and it took for effing ever to load Star Crystal - but at least the tell-tale beeping told you the game was loading.

One write-in vote for the Vectrex.

Think of it - an all-in-one console, complete with the namesake vector display, the built-in joystick, and the bulky square bubblicious design of the console itself. The games were average, but the color overlays they came with! You could hold one in front of your face and play Minestorm in your head all day. And on the back was the focus knob, which would rein in the screen's electron beam down to a bright dot in the center of the screen. I used that knob to sabotage my brother's impending high scores. Oh, look, he's about to get past level 15? Not if I can help it! (crank the knob, hear my brother's lamentations, get beat silly by angry brother)

The Intellivision deserves a mention for being the console that was installed in K.I.T.T. - David Hasselhoff was playing some Intellivision racing game in one episode - but the Vectrex is the king-hell console of ahhllll taahhhhmmmm, babe.

Come on... The 2600 is without comparison. Hundreds upon hundreds of games, a great variety of them, and frankly, through PC emulators, I still play a lot of the original 2600 games. Coleco and Intellivision were both really cool, but let's be honest...

Who could afford them?

I remember the Intellivision being in the neighborhood of $350 while the 2600 was down around $100. I don't remember the Colecovision's price, but I'm sure it was somewhere around the Intellivision.

Of course, Coleco did have great renditions of Smurf (one of the best console games ever... The song still pops into my head every time I think of it) and Mousetrap...

Either way the 2600 defined console gaming for a whole generation (and maybe two or three more generations). Neither of the other two can say that.

Oh, and I agree... The vectrex was bitching cool.

Intellivision. The games were much cooler, the controller was a lot better than its contemporaries, and it had a technological edge with Intellivoice and the plans to turn it into the first home PC (or PC-esque thing, whatever -- it was going to be a lot like today's Web TV, a computer-type thing that had a keyboard and worked with your TV.) Clearly, it was ahead of the curve.

I don't know if anyone ever bought these, but the vectrex had these SUPER COOL, 3D and color goggles.

The goggles had a filter that covered both eyes, so that when you saw out of one eye the other one was covered - and not only that but the filter had color in pie shaped wedges.

The display syncronized itself to the spinning filter to give you hanging-in-mid-air 3D and color.

I got to play with these at the consumer electronics show in vegas...

But vectrix seemed to disappear after that, and I never saw one in a store.

Vinny, you're right about the 2600. I've never seen any of those other machines in anyone's homes but we all had 2600's - well except me. I had a TRS-80 then I bought an Atari 800. My first game machine game machine was a PSII if you don't count emulators.

Everyone in the world had an Atari, but it was always the kid with the colecovision who would have people over at his house. The colecovision had the best sports games and the best graphics. They also had a couple strategy games that the Atari didn't have.

Still, the Atari 2600 is the one that deserves the award. Why? Because Atari brought gaming into so many homes. It served as a gateway for many of us to purchase computers. I moved from the 2600 to the 800xl. I got involved in the BBS community and then on to the internet age. I remember my mother asking me "why would you want to type a message on a computer when you could just call them on a phone?". Of course, now her phone is always busy because she's online.

The Atari changed world. If not for a series of terrible buisness decisions it could have been the dominate company both in the gaming world and the world of the PC. Besides, Atari had a comic book put out by DC. Can you get cooler than that?

Even if all other factors are a tie--which they aren't, the Atari 2600 wins on the grounds of most memorable jingle ever:

The fun is back, oh yes-sir-ee
It's the 2600 from A-tar-i
It's the video system with class-ics galore
From space invaders to cars that roar

A real hip joystick controls the scene
Solaris is hot and yeah the magic's mean
And one more thing, it's got a special low price
Under 50 bucks
50 bucks?
Now isn't that nice?
The fun is back oh yes-sir-ee
It's the 2600 from A-tar-i.

I'm going to put my write-in for the Odyssey^2, also of that generation. Less power than even the old 2600, but hey, it had a keyboard! And a cartridge for Basic Programming powerful enough to write a Hello World program in! And some decently playable hybrid console/boardgame games, towards the end!

I was one of the kids stuck with COLECOvision instead of the 2600. It was mad cool, but we had to deal with knock offs of the great Atari games. Our Pac Man was a lady bug, and frogger was some other freakish thing. Although we did have Popeye and Smurf to tide us over. Not to mention controllers that looked like massive telephones.

I cheated and purchased a Colecovision with the Atari 2600 "expansion module"!

B E S T O F B O T H W O R L D S !!!

Favorite 2600 games: Phoenix, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Defender, Missile Command, Bezerk, and of course, COMBAT!!!!

Favorite Coleco games: Zaxxon, War Games, RocnRope, and Gorf.

I still have that badboy, and it still works. We hook it up every now and again and go "retro." I can still OWN all my friends on these games.

I never even heard of the Atari 2600 until I was maybe 16. The only thing I ever knew about was the Intellivision, wonderful machine that it was/is.