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Fun, fun, fun

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This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on July 27, 2001

(Issue 1930, Computer Creativity)

Fun can take many forms. For instance, what most of us would classify as torture some mark down as a hobby and train all year long to run in a triathlon.

When it comes to computers, most fun is a lot less work than preparing for a triathlon ...


From the same folks who bring you the authoritative AllMovieGuide and AllMusicGuide, AllGameGuide is one of the most comprehensive sites for finding out about computer and console games present and past.

Organized by platform, the AllGameGuide goes all the way back to the very first home gaming console, the Mattel Odyssey, and continues up through the iMac, Playstation 2 and Linux.

From the Platform menu, you can either access a history of that piece of hardware or go to a list of titles for it.

The titles list is a little thin, particularly once you get back into the '80s and '70s. (And how can you skip BallBlaster from LucasArts, one of the earliest first-person games after Battlezone?) The earlier games are also less likely to have any sort of description.

But where else can you go to find out what games were published for the TurboGrafx-16 or Philips CDi? Both can be pretty darn handy before heading onto eBay to add to your collection.

Not nearly as filled out as the AllGameGuide, is still more potential than information. It does include the History of Home Video Games Homepage, and when we visited was preparing a sales area. Among the platforms it promises to support are most of the various Atari and Nintendo consoles, plus the latest Sony and Sega machines.

For now, the online Museum offers a nice overview of the gaming console industry, from the Odyssey up through the N64 in the mid-'90s.

The Atari 2600 VCS Portables Site

Remember the old Atari VCS? It was better known as the Atari 2600, and if not the first cartridge-based home gaming console (the Fairchild Channel F holds that honor), it was the first home video game to become a phenomenon, and created the home gaming industry ruled today by Nintendo, Sega and Sony.

Not that the Atari VCS has ever really gone away. Twelve years after it was dropped from production, new games continue to be written and sold for the venerable system – and a recent story in Salon highlighted the fact that a new handheld version of the VCS is now being sold.

Due to the high demand, the site wasn't accepting orders for the VCSp when we visited, but that should change in a few weeks or months. It's a cool little unit – bigger than a GameBoy, but not much bigger than an Atari Lynx handheld. It features a little TV screen and built-in joystick and paddles, and accepts any and all Atari VCS cartridges. Battery life probably isn't all that long, but for a way to keep your old Atari cartridges in use, it's a pretty sharp platform.


If you're looking to buy cartridges or parts for a classic videogame system, Telegames is the place to go. From the Atari 64-bit Jaguar and TurboGrafx-16 to the 3DO and Commodore VIC-20, this is the best spot outside of eBay to find some of these items.

Jim Trageser's Computer Links

Last month, I finally got around to updating my links page. If you're trying to find support for just about any computer or videogame console, you ought to be able to find a lead from here.