Orphaned Computers & Game Systems

Vol. II, Issue 2    February 1998


By Chris Federico and Adam Trionfo

I guess I should admit that up to this point, my game/computer savvy has been limited to the Commodore 64, the Atari 2600/7800/Jaguar and the Amiga. Adam has recently arranged it, however, so that I have a much wider silicon scene from which to write for this poppy publication. Sip that cider and cuddle up with a nifty little seasonal story:

I came in from my cold walk home from work at about 1 in the morning, and I unlocked the front door of the house in which I board a room. I approached the door to my room, and found a mound of presents. I noticed an envelope on the topmost: Chris. So my thoughts immediately changed from "What jerk stored his boxes near my door?" to "Presents? For me?"

I excitedly carried them all into my room, and before I opened them, I opened the envelope. I had no idea who in the world would just pop over and leave presents for me. The letter inside basically implied, "So, do ya still hate Christmas, ya jerk?"

Signed: "Your friend, Adam."

Inside the boxes: A ColecoVision (complete with controllers, power, etc.), ten cartridges (including the super-rare War Room), an Atari 65XE (also with the vitals), twenty-one (count 'em) Atari 8-bit cartridges, two 1050 disk drives plus serial cables, an Atari trak-ball (and of course Centipede and Missile Command, to take advantage of this desireable device), a Roklan Un-Roller Controller, numerous books about programming Atari 8-bits (including Compute!'s great volumes), and a binder full of classic 8-bit game manuals and old Atari mags.

To give you an idea of the degree to which Adam is a collector: These were all doubles. (Yup, even the trak-ball!) He'd also gone to the trouble of testing and cleaning every single item.

This is obviously the best Christmas present (collectively) I've ever received. Could you imagine getting all that stuff as a kid in 1983 (substituting the 65XE with the 400 or 800, of course)? I would have obviously been even more thrilled than I was when I received 2600 carts as gifts back then. Adam made me feel like an 11-year-old again, and I thank him for it.

So now I'll be able to write about the hobby that you share with me and Adam with a much broader base to stand on. And I'm skipping work for a week to use all this stuff.

11-year-olds don't have to go to work, you see. -- CF

I sure wish I could find where I misplaced my ColecoVision, my Atari 65XE and half of my Atari books and cartridges! I've been pulling my hair out for...hey! Wait a minute!

The truth of the matter is that I enjoyed gathering the above-mentioned gifts as much as Chris liked receiving them. What is the point of this big collection of mine if I have no one to share it with? Sure, I can play with my three-year-old son (who, sadly, is better at some games than I am). I can force my wife to look at some of my finds (she never plays them!) or I could play these classics with someone who enjoys them as much as I do. Who else but Chris!

The presents were as much a gift to myself as they were to him. In the end, it turns out that I have a secret agenda. Indeed, I have a great plan in mind that only starts with Chris. He is the first to have been sucked into my scheming claws. It only began with a few innocent presents to a friend. Soon, though, I will expand my territory to include my neighbor's homes, then the block, the town, the state, and eventually the nation. I may stop there, but if all goes to according to my grand scheme, by Christmas 2084, everyone in Europe will be opening my gifts as well!

I know, I know; you're thinking, "What if some cultures don't celebrate Christmas?" I've thought of that, too! There are other days on which to give presents: birthdays, Fathers' Day, Mothers' Day, and so many others -- including the often overlooked Teachers' Day and April Fools' day!

Until every home has an orphaned system, I will sit back and write for this newsletter, careful to never reveal my plans. Oops. -- AT