Thursday, August 03, 2006


“Check out the new pencils from the pencil machine. They have Atari games on ‘em!” That’s what my friend told me as he leaned over and handed me a Warlords Atari pencil during Pre-Algebra class back in Junior High. I sat daydreaming about those Atari pencils as the teacher rambled on about adding and subtracting letters that supposed to equal a different letter, or something like that. When that class was over I bolted out of the room and ran over to the school library to buy some Atari goodness out of the pencil machine.

After I put my dime in the machine a Battlezone pencil rolled out and after that a Missile Command, then a Super Breakout and on my last dime I got another Super Breakout. For the rest of the week I brought dimes to school trying to get the whole set. I sacrificed my lunch money so I could get more Atari pencils. I wanted them all, and I did, except for the elusive Yar’s Revenge. Dime after dime I kept trying to get a Yar’s, but instead I kept getting that blasted Super Breakout. I finally traded four or five pencils for the one Yar’s pencil. Mission completed, I had the whole set.

These came out in 1983 and there are 10 in the set. Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Haunted House, Missile Command, Star Raiders, Super Breakout, Tempest, Yar’s Revenge and Warlords. (I have unfortunately lost the Tempest pencil and I think it was pink.)

A few months after the first series, a second series of 10 pencils was released and again I had to have them all. In this set you’ll find Bentley Bear, Dig Dug, Joust, Jungle Hunt, Kangaroo, Moon Patrol, Pengo, Space Dungeon, Swordquest, and Vanguard.

I guess I better hide these away before a pencil sharpener finds them!


Dan Goodsell said...

I was Pengo obsessed when I was in college. I played almost everyday. A few years ago when I found you could buy full size games, I bought a Pengo. I played it a bunch but it took up too much room, so I had to sell it.

Long live Pengo!

dig*retro said...

Hi Todd !
Thanks much for the info on Hullabaloo on YouTube !
I put a link to your site in regards to same in my new post today.

I'd like to put your blog in my links list as well, if it's OK with you =
?? .. let me know

( wish I was writing this with one of them cool Jungle Hunt pencils ! ; )

Kind regards,
Lauren @ acmeretro

Todd Franklin said...

Hi Lauren,
Your swell blog full of groovy retro fun is now on my blog links. Yes, that would be neato if my blog was listed as one of your links.

You can use the Jungle Hunt pencil, but not my Yar's pencil!

Enjoy blogging!

Todd Franklin said...

Dan, Pengo was such a great game! I would love to have a big room filled full of old arcade games. I have an old Tron coin-op, but luckily it's the cabaret style.

Kirk D. said...

Good Gravy! You've done it again Todd. You've made me remember something I once cherished and yet somehow forgot.

I went nuts when they started selling these at our school supply shop. The janitor whop operated the place wouldn't let me pick the ones I wanted so I bought tons. You have several here that I never saw. Amazing.

Todd Franklin said...

I bet that janitor has a complete set! You don't have an extra Tempest do you? That's the only one I'm missing!

Kirk D. said...

I don't know why, but I don't have these anymore. I'm surprised that my brain doesn't know what happened to them. Maybe a trade back in the day.
I only had swordquest, joust, centepede, and battlezone thanks to that filthy janitor. I had no idea there were so many.
I almost remember some non-atari video game pencils too, but I may be dreaming.