For some unknown reason, my parents had an Atari 2600 around the house when I was really young. I vaguely remember the excuse they gave me 20-something years ago for having it, but it was there and they wanted me to play with it. Up to this day, I can vividly remember the design of the console. Its wooden furnishings and utilitarian switches. It felt like a piece of furniture more than a gaming machine. The joystick, literally a stick stuck with an orange button was equally fascinating to my 4 year old mind. Obviously my gaming dexterity wasn’t developed yet, but nevertheless it felt weird and exciting holding that joystick for the very first time.
Then it was time to pick out a game cartridge! Man oh man, the art on the game cartridge was really something back in the day. Wide-eyed me was expecting that the fancy pictures on the cartridge, would somehow be similar on the TV, so I quickly picked up Empire Strikes Back, as I expected I would be fighting that mechanical dog like creature pasted on the cartridge (which was the Walker btw). I tried to insert the cartridge in, mostly with the help of our maid, and she flipped some few switches and the TV began to glow. I was giddy with excitement!
Then I see some blocky pictures on the screen and try to figure out what's going on. What happened to the promised mechanical dog? Oh it’s there! But just blockier! Not yet knowing how to be cynical, I pressed on and started playing, and boy it was a treat. I figured out how to use the joystick and was dodging those dogs and straight lines that they were spewing out. I loved it! And there were more games to try, which were all stored in a tin box which was originally used as packaging for Mooncake.
So from there, my “gaming career” began...