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Growing up with the Atari 2600, my first gaming crush

Growing up with the Atari 2600, my first gaming crush


I’m 4 or 5 years old, and I’m fixated on the black garbage bag in the back of my parents’ closet.

My ’80s Wall Street dad is gone by this point, officially separated from his married life and settling in for a divorce fight that would last more than a decade. He abandoned a lot of his stuff when he left, probably because a mix of embarrassment and guilt triggered his lizard brain to GTFO as quickly as possible. 

Among the stuff he left was that heavy, black garbage bag. It contained what would become my first game console: an Atari 2600.

Now, decades later, I don’t remember the exact first moment I played a video game. Memories from so long ago come back in flashes, frozen scenes. The one that feels like the first is Pole Position. I can summon up a foggy picture of my mom’s bedroom, a shag carpet, and a tiny version of myself gazing rapturously at the brightly colored virtual race unfolding on our clunky, old TV screen. Read more…

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