TV-based games-playing, via Sky's Digital services amongst others, has escalated in significance ever since Mum and the kids bothered to try it out. Now even Dad chips in occasionally, going for a couple of rounds on Breakout or something when nobody's watching. Not that he ever did that in his youth. Wink wink.
In order to satisfy the growing number of TV gamers, a broader range of games and peripherals are gradually being introduced to try and toughen up the TV gaming experience - currently just about the only way to game on your TV without an intrusive games console perched nearby, spoiling the view.
From February next year in 16 European countries, further steps will be taken, including the release of an Atari VCS 2600-style control joystick, which plugs directly into a user's television, loaded with ten games ranging from Pong, Asteroids and Centipede to Missile Command (woo!) and Yar's Revenge. The original games have been recreated by Glasgow, Scotland and Montreal, Canada-based DC Studios, whose previous work includes a similar range of Activision TV games (including River Raid and Pitfall), released in the US during 2001.