Back when Atari made art

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The best game I ever played, I played over one single weekend. And I’ve spent years tracking it down since.

Put some of that time down to the haziness of memory; that single weekend was when I was eight years old, spending a weekend around a friend I’d made in the caravan camp over the summer holidays. I can’t remember his name. I don’t think I ever saw him again after that, even, and for some years afterwards I couldn’t even remember the name of the game. All I remember is perching inches away from a TV hooked up to a Atari 5200 and sitting on the floor of his bedroom, and getting lost in something totally sublime.

There were starfields and dancing motes of star dust that would stream into slick lines when you entered hyperspace, spaceships that move with dazzling conviction and space stations to dock in. There were arcane controls to struggle with, galactic charts to decipher and the sense, for the first time ever for me, of being transported wholly to some far-off, wondrous place.

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