Now it's time for me to show how far back I go... yesterday my parents were cleaning out the old den and found something of mine from another era. Fortunately my mom decided to bring me this by my office instead of putting it on ebay!
It's my first videogame... a 1976 General Home Products PONG console! Hey, at least it's digital - in fact, this disco-era relic is entirely based upon the General Instrument AY-3-8500 chip. I remember convincing my parents to buy me this months after all my friends had gotten theirs. New color games were coming out by a handful of higher end manufacturers like Atari, even consoles that played things other than ball and paddle games. The the old black and white models were going for cheap, and there were a pile of these at Woolco for under $50.
This was a real cheapie. The manufacturer skimped on the circuitry required to RF modulate the sound through the television speaker and simply hooked a tiny, tinny speaker with NO VOLUME CONTROL to the chip's sound output, using a crude amplifier circuit to loudly broadcast the incessant, annoying beeps and boops. On the plus side, this model DID feature four game variants with different numbers of onscreen paddles and such, as the chip allowed, and that was enough for me at the time. (Had I known the chip actually had some gun games in its little circuitry as well, I would have hacked this thing all to pieces, but the chip was and still is extremely well shielded in a closed metal box, so I never got to try that level of circuit bending.)
Believe it or not, I whiled away many happy zombielike hours on a beanbag in front of a 19" Quasar television playing this thing. Oh, by the way, it's not really a one player game at all... the only one-player option is a 'practice' game where you bounce a ball against a wall. I opted to play two player games with one paddle control in either hand. My left brain usually won!
Hmmm, wonder if I can get this thing to fire up?
Yup, of course I can! I can still handle playing solo Pong as well. The grey cable coming out the back represents the only hack I attempted on this game back then (getting a composite output from it instead of using the flaky RF output.) Two years later my parents bought me an Atari 2600 and this relic was quickly and quietly retired...