The games machine of today is a complicated piece of technology with multi tasking and multi players. The next wave of games consoles in the guise of Microsoft's Xbox360 and Sony's PlayStation3 are more home entertainment devices that merely games consoles.
But back in the good old days (well I am Old Father Gadget) my first games console wasn't the all singing all dancing gateway of entertainment. It was a much simpler affair.
In Europe, video games started appearing in homes during 1974. At that time the UK was void of today's Sony's, Nintendo's and certainly Microsoft. Instead, it was made up of lots of small electronics firms all making variations.
These rudimentary consoles attached to the television through a coax aerial socket, none of this HDMI or Scart choice we have today. After working out the choice of connection, the next was power and believe it or not, just like those plug and play consoles that plague gadget web shops, an optional power supply was pretty essential as the batteries did not last to long.
Surprisingly when it came to the joysticks, not much has changed. Two joysticks connected to the console via very thin cables and constantly tangled up especially when storing them away.
The Game. Yes just the one. Was built in to the Black Box, unimaginative black box again void of the amount of time, effort and money ploughed into the latest consoles.
The game was PONG, the then cutting edge, now classic simulation of the table tennis where you bashed a small square representing a ping pong ball across the screen.
I must admit that I never really got the hang of it but the children did, and it kept them amused for hours on end much to the relief of Mum.
Of course Ping Pong was never going to hold the attention span for long. Now, just as the market revamps itself every couple of years the same was the case in the late-70s/early-80s. Faster and better units were arriving on the scene with more games and real colour.
It wasn't until the Atari System arrived in the early-80s with such a bang that the world of gaming was born.
We never did get one of these machines, but I am assured that they were the bees knees and even today there are people who maintain that they are still the best compare to their modern day equivalents.