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12 Fun & Weird Facts About the Classic Video Games You Love

Ahh, nostalgia. What a wonderful friend… Who doesn’t miss the days when you’d finish a “long” and “challenging” day at school, run home, hook up your favorite game system, blow into it to make it work, and then sit back to defeat the villain of the day? To help you relive some of those glory gaming days, we’ve pulled together 12 fun and weird facts about those classic video games you love. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Nintendo’s main man, Mario, actually first appeared in the arcade game Donkey Kong on July 9, 1981, and he went by the name Jumpman.

2. In this game, Donkey Kong was actually Mario’s pet ape who escapes and kidnaps Mario’s girlfriend, Pauline.

3. When Mario made his debut in this game, his profession was a carpenter since the game took place at a construction site. It wasn’t until Mario Bros. that Mario made the career change to plumber, as much of this game took place underground.

4. Due to the popularity of the Mario Bros. game in 1983 there was a huge increase in the number of people naming their children Mario during that time.

5. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney started Atari with just $500. Within 5 years the company earned $28 million, and by 1982, sales topped $2 billion.  

6. In addition to starting Atari, Nolan Bushnell also founded the popular pizza and entertainment company, Chuck E. Cheese.

7. Bowser, the main antagonist of Nintendo’s Mario franchise, was originally envisioned to be an ox. This is probably why he has horns and a defined snout, even though he is a turtle.

8. In Space Invaders, the more aliens you kill, the faster they come at you. This pattern of the game getting more challenging the more you play has become a staple in the gaming world, but it actually started as a fluke! The aliens were always supposed to come at you at the same speed, but with so many aliens on the screen the hardware couldn’t handle it, so they were slowed down. The more you aliens you killed as you played, the more system memory was freed up, so the game ended up running faster.

9. The design of the Playstation 2 is based on an old Atari computer, the Falcon 030 Microbox. Apparently, Sony bought the design patent when Atari was going bankrupt.

10. Atari’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial is largely considered the worst video game of all time.

11. The urban legend – that turned out to be true – was that Atari had so many unsold copies [of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial] that they buried them in the desert. A documentary crew actually went out and dug them up!

12. Most of the above mentioned E.T. games (which originally wouldn’t sell) were eventually sold on Ebay for a total of around $108,000.

Did you already know all of these? Well here’s a digital high five just for you! Discover some new, cool video game facts? You are most welcome. Now go and bestow these vintage tidbits of knowledge to all of your friends, or, even better, invite them to one of our Boxcar Bar + Arcade locations to play more than 100 classic and modern arcade games, consoles, pinball machines and more. Who says the glory days are over?

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