What started out as a crazy idea took shape. A few years ago my friend Vicente Adum (Chento) told me that he was dusting off and restoring his childhood toys, including old computers and video game consoles, and, well, I was doing the same. This coincidence is perhaps a consequence of age and that one is reminiscing about the past with nostalgia. You know "everything in the past was better", "remembering is living", and lots of other phrases.
One of the clearest memories of my childhood was that Christmas when my mother gave an ATARI 2600 console to my brother and me. I suppose I must have been about 9 years old and my brother a year younger. As the gift was shared, on the morning of December 25 I got up at 5AM to be able to play before him and the surprise was great when I realized that my brother had already been playing for quite some time! He was always an early riser than me.
The thing is that nostalgia is only the beginning, about 6 years ago I started to get / buy / restore old computers and when I realized it, I already had a small collection. Chento did the same and at a certain point we had a group of interesting computers, among them some iconic ATARIs like the Super PONG or the 400; the Commodore 64 and other brands too like Apple, Texas, Sinclair. An interesting counter.
It was in 2017 when it occurred to us to present our collections at an event. I was helping in the organization of a science and technology festival in the city called SeGenial (www.segenial.ec) and there was a booth available. "RETRO COMPUTERS" read the sign hanging from the crossbar of the tent. We did well. We put an ARCADE game emulator machine that I made in AsiriLabs, so that the curious could play. To our amazement, it was not only the nostalgic parents of the eighties who were interested, but also many young people. Some teenagers recognized games and gadgets in surprising ways, knew about the history of our machines, had read about their inventors and the anecdotes behind the development of the initial software and hardware.
We repeated the experiment in the 2018 edition of the SeGenial that took place in November on the Malecón in the city of Guayaquil, next to the Guayas River. Haridas Mederos joined us and our little club began to take shape. The public's response was comforting because at the end of the day it is a cultural activity, a kind of traveling museum. Much history of technology and the evolution of the personal computer.
Powering up the Atari 400 and other older computers
This time we decided to turn on some computers like the ATARI 400 (the first personal computer made by ATARI) and the ATARI 2600 (the popular video game console). We connected the cartridges of Donkey Kong, PACMAN, Missile Command, among others and at certain times we had people queuing to take a turn with the joystick! A success that exceeded our expectations. A couple of young people (who we later baptized as “the time travelers”) who were around 18 years old approached the booth and recognized the ATARI PONG immediately. They could not believe seeing a specimen in "flesh and blood". They asked us to please turn it on and then they spent a long time playing the old game on the second game console in history, not without screams of excitement and as if they had played it all their lives. We were surprised and we were infected with joy. Two teenagers ATARI PONG fans? !!!. Time travelers without a doubt.
From now on, the plan is to add fans and enlarge the collection with interesting items that allow us to know how this revolution began that today has us connected to the Internet by reading this article.