Playing Atari on Christmas Morning of 1978

This gem was uploaded by Charles Owens and features him and his family playing what think is a brand new Atari VCS on Christmas morning in 1978. You can almost feel the magic of novelty in the air. I wish I could turn the TV towards the camera to find out what they are playing, but maybe not knowing is more magical.


[via] Charles Owens


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4 thoughts on “Playing Atari on Christmas Morning of 1978

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    If I were to guess at the cart’s title, I’d venture Air-Sea Battle, or maybe Circus Atari – which would’ve been more family-oriented fare. (izzat blue tint on the screen? a red label on the cart? my mind’s eye retro-faring back to K-Mart in ’79?)

    But you’re right, the titles don’t matter to know now, and really didn’t back then.
    Just inserting any cart in that woodgrained marvel and flicking that Power switch would transform not just the TV screen, but our lives, for a moment.
    The more we played, the more that pixelated landscape became a playground for our imagination and the more game titles that showed up, the grander the scale of Home Gaming.

    And that smile on Charles’ face says it all.

  2. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Well, they might’ve gotten a head start in the workplace of Tomorrow had they learned of the joys of Basic at an early age.
    I was *thrilled* to move that turtle around in LOGO, a few years later.

    But that single Basic Programming cart (which never made it in our household) held promises of full game-writing capability.
    I lost all ambitions when writing up lines after lines of it for the C64, meticulously copying complete programs in the backs of magazines to get some ASCII action going on.
    And if an error occurred – either from the source or in my weary-eyed reprint – all that work was for naught.

    eh, the joys of Basic

    As for the mystery game? It’s no mystery.
    We all know somewhere in that room, either on the floor or in that console, lies the most ubiquitous cart of them all, the one that got the party started.
    We were all Atari soldiers back then (until we got sick of trying someone else to play that darn two-player-only game).

  3. Dudley88 says:

    I received my Atari 2600 for Christmas 1981. I opened it on Christmas Eve and played Asteroids all night. The problem was that I was an altar boy and had to show up for Christmas Day Mass for duty (no, I was never molested by a priest). There were only about 5 people in the pews–the most devout of the congregation, the few who didn’t get drunk the night before–and I had to fight to stay awake.

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