I will admit when I first stumbled upon Video Games: A Public Perspective, which was a 1982 public service video for communities worried about video games and arcades, I felt it would be best if I waited until Atari Day to publish it. Then as what usually happens, I just get so excited about finding something this awesome that I just have to immediately share it. During the Golden Age of the Arcades it is certainly easy to see why Atari would fund Video Games: A Public Perspective – the older people who are interviewed at the beginning of the video sums up a lot of the fears that were running rampant back in the day.
As was demonstrated in that YouTube video by Patrick Scott Patterson, it’s not like video game worries have ever actually ceased to be a concern for certain groups. Before I dive into why you should set aside your time to watch Video Games: A Public Perspective, I need point out that until yesterday I didn’t even know it existed. It was all thanks to the historians over at Atarimania who shared this community awareness pamphlet, which besides offering a VHS copy of Video Games: A Public Perspective also added the option for an industry spokesperson to appear in front of a concerned community group!
Now then, I feel that bit of history alone is worthy of a post, to show how Atari was trying to get out ahead of the very same fears that managed to cause pinball to be banned for so long. However the video itself offers an absolutely fascinating look at Atari in it’s heyday.
Video Games: A Public Perspective features interviews with the likes of Dona Bailey, who of course designed the Atari classic Centipede back in 1981. In addition she just so happens to live in my neck of the woods although as far as I know, she has yet to visit the arcade.
Another amazing thing is seeing glimpses of the arcades as they were at the height of their popularity. Packed with children and parents and rows of arcade games, like 1981’s Space Fury by Sega!
What I found quite surprising was how many level-headed concerns and solutions as well were brought up in this video. Granted most of them fall on the side of pro-video games, with my favorite being Vinnie Settembre – who looks like he can whip up a mean pizza!