A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Like many other non-Americans, I'm not the greatest fan of American cars. Yet there's one style that I will always remember fondly, and that's the wood-panelled stationwagon.

A staple of the 70s and 80s (though invented much earlier), the idea to put enormous wood (or fake wood) panels down the side of a car was an attempt at...I really don't know. It's not classy, it's not attractive, and it didn't make the cars go faster. You don't really see the fad taking off anywhere except North America. And that's a damn shame.

Because it was so absurd that I love it. It's also about the only reason I still love old video game consoles that did the exact same thing.

Yes, at the same time car manufacturers thought it was a good idea to put wood on a car, where it did not belong, video game companies were doing the same thing on the consoles of the 1970s and early 80s. It did not belong there either, perhaps even more so considering the "advanced" nature of the technology, but that contrast between cutting-edge and artificial old-timey goodness is what makes it so awesome.

In the gallery above you'll find a selection of some of my favourite woodgrain consoles of the 1970s. I'm pretty sure none of them used actual wood, but that's OK. The fact they look like they could sit comfortably in a commercial for cigarettes or a fine Scotch more than makes up for that.


TOTAL RECALL
Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Coleco Telstar Classic (1976)

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Wonder Wizard 7702 (1976)

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Fairchild Channel F(1976)

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Atari 2600 (1977)

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Coleco Telstar Arcade (1978)

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Bally Professional Arcade (1978)

A Tribute to the Glory of Wood-Panelled Video Game Consoles

Mattel Intellivision (1980)