It's hard to believe that the classic Mother of all gaming consoles, the Atari 2600, turns 30 years old this month.

That REALLY makes me feel old. I can still remember the excitement of opening up that huge box back in 1977. It must have been a Christmas present that year. And it was so amazing. And at $200, that was a lot of money in those days. Thanks Mom & Dad for splurging on me like that.

Those were the days of simple graphics and unparralled gameplay. Games didn't have to have photo realistic graphics or need sex or violence or hype to sell. We didn't KNOW games would look so real someday and we didn't CARE.

You had Donkey Kong and Pong. Pitfall and Adventure. Even games as AWFUL as E.T. had their fair share of charm.

As I write this I can hear all the sound effects and digitized music. Kids hate that stuff today.

But anyone who owned an Atari 2600 knows that home console gaming all really began with that boxy classic that still provides hours of fun and nostalgia.

It's sad that for kids today, nostalgia is what you feel for the album or game or television show that came out last month. There is no sense of continuity anymore. Anything more than a year old is too old to enjoy. Everything has to be NEW and NOW.

Kids look at those old graphics and awful sounds and think "CHEESY" is the only word that comes to mind.

But kids had imaginations back then. Video games didn't suck the life out of you the way they can today. A kid today can't even UNDERSTAND how you could take a tiny white triangle in the middle of your television and "make believe" that it was a rocket blasting apart asteroids in deep space.

Those were the days before we even knew Mario had a brother. And back then he was a carpenter, not a plumber.

Games weren't anti-social. Families played them together and every game was rated acceptable for EVERYONE (if ratings had existed then). There was no need for "Rated M" games because it never occured to anyone to make a game where you kill police officers or punch innocent people in the face.

Young gamers should bow down to the black monolith born in the bowels of Silicon Valley 30 years ago.

Their XBox 360 and Wii wouldn't exist without it.