It was 1979 and my sister had come home with a box, which made my brother very exited. My brother opened the box, took out the contents and immediately proceeded to setup some cables behind our thirteen-inch black and white television. In the meantime, I read the words in the box aloud: Coleco Telstar Colortron. I continued reading from the box until a series of loud noises interrupted me: “Beep, beep, beep” and as I looked up into the screen, I saw it: Pong
What my sister had brought home was the latest fad at the time. It was a game console that could be hooked to your television and allow you to play four games: Handball, Hockey, Jai Alai, and Tennis. The tennis game specifically had been available from other distributing companies at the time. The game simply consisted of two bars at each side of the screen that moved up and down and controlled by within nubs in the console. The goal of the game was to hit a ball that moved from side to side in the screen with your bar and make your opponent miss. The first one to score 10 points wins.
As simple as the game looked, it immediately captivated me. I recall that I played until the late hours of the night with my brother that day. During the weekend, I played against my brother, my sisters and I even played both sides of the screen when there was no one to play with. The impression that video game caused on me then is not much different from what a kid today experiences with one of the top notch gaming consoles. At the time, the simple graphics from that game where considered the best in the market. We even acquired the latest model in consoles too since it was supposed to be in color, not that it mattered since we only had a black and white television. All I can tell you is that I eventually must have logged thousand of hours into that system.
Aside from the gaming, I recall that the greatest satisfaction I felt was the sense of control it gave me. As a kid, your parents control everything you do, but when you are playing a video game, you get to experience full control of what happens. Maybe that is what got me addicted to that game. About two years later, I received an Atari 2600 with a game called Space Invaders that I am certain you are familiar. I knew about the game then since I had played it in arcades, but I was not much into it so I spent most of my time playing Pong while the Atari collected some dust. Then a couple months later my brother brought home an Asteroids cartridge game for the Atari 2600 and as far as I can remember, I never played with the Coleco system ever again.
Since then, I have had most of the mainstream consoles and games. Today I have a Sony Playstation 3, an Xbox, a Nintendo DS, and a PSP at home. I have games for all of these systems and I still play every now and then since I actually see it as a form of therapy or relaxation. Some people have Yoga, others have Meditation, and I have my video games. Every time as I prepare to sit down in front of my television to play, I always remember the game that started it all for me: Pong and its unforgettable “Beep, Beep, Beep…”