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It was Christmas 1978 and I went to my Grandma’s for tea.
I was looking forward to it because I knew two of my favourite cousins were going to be there.
After going through the rigmarole of thanking all my Uncles and Aunts for whatever 2-bit present they had given me, I walked into the lounge and was came face-to-face with the future.
It was all bright colours and distinctive sounds.
What am I talking about?
That is a Philips G7000 video game system.
Yes, I know it looks a bit shit and yes, I know the games were blocky and a bit shit, but in 1978, this was space age technology and my cousins owned it.
Of course, home video game systems weren’t entirely new – we had had ‘pong’ for a few years [albeit in black and white] and the infamous Atari 2600 had been launched a few months earlier – but this was the first time I had come face-to-face with one of these modern machines and immediately, I vowed I had to make one of them mine.
It was hard work.
My parents weren’t too keen on the idea and they certainly didn’t have the money to drop an enormous £100+ on one of them … so over the course of 12 months, I slowly – but surely – built up a case for purchase.
I am sorry to admit that some of the rationale may have stretched the truth somewhat.
There is a possibility that I may have mentioned that because the G7000 had an alpha/numeric keyboard, I would be able to do school work on it … which was blatant bollocks.
However this strategy worked because for Christmas 1979, I was the proud owner of a G7000 game system with 3 games. THREE.
Oh how I loved those games.
Yes, with hindsight, they were repetitive and monotonous, but when you are a 9 year old kid in Nottingham, these games allowed me to instantly transform into the captain of a plane/submarine/tank/space ship.
Now despite all the cool kids getting an Atari 2600 and only one shop in the city – the Greater Nottingham Co-op – selling games, I loved my G7000.
Admittedly it helped my best mate Paul also got one so we could swap games, but I was a fan.
The reason I say all this is because when I was clearing Mum’s house, I came across this:
Yes, I was an official member of the G7000 fan club.
Jesus. I had no shame.
Despite Philips starting to produce games that were so shit, they would give the infamous Atari ET game a decent run for its money … I still remember marching into John Lewis in Victoria Centre, walking up to poor salesman in the TV department and then – having flashed him my membership card like I was a member of the FBI – demanding to know why they didn’t sell G7000 games.
I can’t recall his answer [it was probably “because they’re shit”] but I do remember he was kind to me, which is more than I deserved nor – based on these ads for the US version of the console – did the G7000.
I also remember writing to Philips with a game idea that I was convinced was going to be a million seller.
If memory serves me correctly, it was basically a game where you had to navigate a wedding car through traffic to get the bride to the church in time for her wedding.
It was called – unsurprisingly – ‘Get Her To The Church’ and I even helpfully included a picture of how it could look, carefully drawn out with felt-tip pens and a ruler.
I remember how thrilled I was to get a reply from them, thanking me for my idea.
God I felt good. I felt like I was doing my bit for the game system that I loved.
Of course, eventually, the G7000 succumbed to the fact that it was a bit of a shitty system [though I am absolutely certain that had they made my game, they’d be up there with Xbox and Playstation today. Oh yes] … and while I went on to own pretty much every other games system that was built – from the Atari 2600 to the Atari Jaguar and everything inbetween – not one of them meant so much to me that I went out and joined their fan club, let alone kept the membership card and badge for over 30 years.
Mind you, given I support Nottingham Forest, that probably means they’re not exactly devastated by that fact.
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