“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.