The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Everyone Remembers Their First Time …
July 16, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

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?

This:

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.

One was a double pack featuring Air/Sea War and Tank Battle and the other was the epic Cosmic Conflict.

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.

Fucking amazing.

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.

Or taste.

Or friends.

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.


27 Comments so far
Leave a comment

what ive learned from this post. you were always a precocious little fuck with shit taste and no fucking shame. glad to have that confirmed.

Comment by andy@cynic

and your sentimentality extends to fucking everything. i wont be surprised if next week theres a post boring us to death about your first fucking toothbrush.

Comment by andy@cynic

You think I’m bad … but Jill the first toothbrush I bought her and got very upset when she lost it in one of our moves. So be grateful I just write about video game consoles from the 70’s rather than let her loose on this blog.

Comment by Rob

id rather have her talk shit than you because her shit would be about you and that be fucking enjoyable to read for once.

Comment by andy@cynic

So video games are bad for you. Or maybe it’s just you Rob.

Comment by DH

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this but there are g7000 emulators available for iPhone. Now you’ll do even less work than you don’t do already. Sorry Mr Wieden.

Comment by Bazza

You think I didn’t know that already Baz? Wow, you really have forgotten me haven’t you.

Comment by Rob

I’ve just worked out why you support Nottingham Forest. They’re the G7000 of football teams. It’s all clear now. Thank you for writing this post.

Comment by DH

I really enjoyed this post Rob. It was nice to learn about your earliest days of gadget adoration and how it affected your behavior and mood. It seems nothing has changed over the years except your ability to wait a year to get hold of something you want.

Comment by Pete

you snidey little fuck. good work.

Comment by andy@cynic

My 2015 highlight.

Comment by Pete

Thanks Pete. Thanks a lot.

Comment by Rob

I hit the same wall you did, but mine was the atari 5200. Damn that was sweet, but the joysticks were dreadful; if they had put more effort into that stuff I’d probably still be playing Defenders and Frogger. Don’t listen to them, Rob. They’re just jealous.

Comment by judyt54

I love you Judy.

Comment by Rob

aww. =)

I do miss the silly games, though. Joust was the last one I played, never quite made it before the joysticks died for the last time. You want to talk shit manufacturing…

Comment by judyt54

the only thing im jealous of campbell is his pay cheque.

Comment by andy@cynic

And his life. Minus the shoes, music and tees.

Comment by DH

Or maybe, you’re just a hoarder Robert.

Comment by George

Intellivision, With the ‘B17’ Bomber game, ad ‘River raid’.

Comment by Ian Gee

A classic.

Comment by Rob

Talking of video games, this is a lot of fun. And historic.

Comment by Rob

That bit about the letter to Philips made me laugh in voice. God, that’s funny :]]

Comment by toto

So are you in a Birkenstock club then?

Comment by northern

I am the Birkenstock club.

Comment by Rob

Quelle surprise.
By the way, Dodds pointed out you moaned about not being able to comment on my blog, I sort it out and then you don’t comment.
The moment had obviously passed.

Comment by northern

like fucking wind after a hot ruby. be grateful, who the fuck would want campbell cluttering up their home. even if its a shit home thats messy as fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

oh what fun. Whole world of games out there I never knew existed. I did enjoy the text games, we had a friend who wrote his own and I played them for hours. I found you can still start an entire convo/sequence with the simple statement, “you are standing in front of a mailbox…”

Comment by judyt54




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