Retro Wrap-Up: Pre-Retro Edition

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

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Computer Space | Retro Wrap-Up

Computer Space, one of the first widely-available arcade games.

There are many debates regarding how old a game or system needs to be to be considered “retro.” For some, retro just means anything not-current generation. Others argue whether the line should be drawn at the Gamecube/PS2 era or before the original PlayStation. I guess it all depends on a person’s age and when they got into gaming.

However, one debate you almost never see is on the other end of the timeline. When does “retro” end and the vintage category begin? When is something too old and too obscure to be retro? Does anyone who considers themselves a retro enthusiast actually care about playing and collecting for some of the game industry’s earliest entries?

What am I talking about? Well, for example, a popular misconception is that Pong is the first commercial video game. Looking at the timeline, that honor goes to Computer Space, the arcade version of the one of the first ever widely-distributed video games, Spacewar. People may be aware that the first home console was the Magnavox Odyssey, but there were other, more obscure systems released before the gaming boom of the late 1970s. I find this stuff fascinating and believe early gaming history should be required learning for anyone interested in retro games. There’s a lot of cool info found in our tribute to the late Ralph Baer, considered to be the “Father of Video Games,” who passed away last year.

This week’s hunt sent the oprainfall Retro Vintage Commercial Research Team–in other words, me–into overdrive to find these classic TV moments from the more obscure side of gaming history. Ads from this time period aren’t very well preserved. I hope you enjoy them.

Here are the highlights from the past week.




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About Eric Chetkauskas

Eric has been playing video games for longer than he can remember. His interests skew toward retro games with an emphasis on Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series.