The Best Holiday Gift I’ve Ever Received Or: How I Learned to Love My Parents Thanks to Video Games

It’s that time of year again, the time when I get nostalgic for holidays spent with my family. Here’s a story from the archives about a great gift I got a long time ago.

In 1981 I got an Atari 2600 for Christmas and I can’t overstate how awesome this was. On the list of gifts I’d like to thank my parents for, the Atari finishes above the gift of life.

The list of things my parents have given me goes like this:

Atari 2600

Life

Poor Decision Making Skills

It makes me feel old to say this but I realize that many of you reading this are too young to remember a time when you couldn’t play video games at home, it sounds unbelievable, but it is true. There was a time when you had to go outside in order to get to video games, and where I lived they were always housed at the sleaziest possible locations in dark, sticky smoke filled rooms. Your late 70’s early 80’s video arcade experience was pretty much just like a porn theater except it was less embarrassing to run into relatives while playing Donkey Kong then it was while watching Honkey Dong. Of course, even if the arcade was, clean, and well lit you needed money to play there, and I didn’t have any so getting the Atari was positively life changing to my seven year old self. At the time, getting the 2600 was the single greatest thing that ever happened to me, it’s also better than many things that have happened since. Getting the Atari 2600 was better than my first baseball game, better than using porno sunglasses and better than the first time I kissed a girl who wasn’t 16 years older than me.

Also, my parents split up that year and the Atari totally made up for that… no kidding. Over the next few years there was a lot of questionable parenting but I didn’t care, I was busy skipping school so I could play Pitfall.

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