The best Christmas gift is one the receiver wants but does not realize he wants or can get. Christmas also is the best kids holiday.
Therefore, I look back on Christmas 1981 as the time when my brother and I received our greatest present ever - Atari.
Of course, I wanted Atari, but I did not think it was obtainable. In my 8-year-old mind, I envisioned Atari costing $1 million and, thus, thought it was too expensive. When my brother and I unwrapped it, shock and awe overtook us. No way. Atari!
In retrospect, obtaining Atari started the video age for me, and perhaps other members of the Snooze Button Generation went through something similar with Colecovision, Intellivision, the Commodore 64, Apple II or Nintendo. Some of this happened at approximately the same time "Beta vs. VHS" was a relevant conversation.
When my parents bought Atari for my brother and me, they had the presence of mind to also purchase Space Invaders. The machine came with the game Combat, which did not quite have the depth of Space Invaders.
Eventually, we obtained many games and stacked them neatly next to our TV. By the way, I recently ran across a list of the top 10 selling Atari games of all-time, and some of them surprised me. Here's the list 1) Pac-Man, 2) Pitfall!, 3) Missile Command, 4) Demon Attack, 5) E.T., 6) Atlantis, 7) Adventure, 8) River Raid, 9) Kaboom! and 10) Space Invaders.