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The history of TI-83 calculator gaming

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The best way to sneak some game time in during math class

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This week on The History of Fun, Chris Plante sits out so that we can have another fun-time expert join us: Jon Bois, our friend from SB Nation. Jon doesn’t come to talk sportsball with us, though. He’s here to talk calculators.

If you ever took a high school math class, you might have had a Texas Instruments graphic calculator, and the TI-83 specifically. And if you did have one, you also might have had some very, very cool games on it.

These weren’t just nonsensical math-based games, like the one I made in high school pre-calculus. Jon tells about playing everything from original text adventures to Street Fighter, all during class. Listen below as he takes us back to school and makes us regret actually paying attention to our teachers.

Special thanks to everyone who participated in our segment, Reader Only Memories, wherein we share listener stories about the topic at hand. Here is the full thread of responses:

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New to The History of Fun? Every Monday, Russ Frushtick, Allegra Frank and Chris Plante explore the hidden backstories behind the things we love to do. Ever wonder where dodgeball came from? Or the origins of the creepy Chuck E. Cheese robots? Or how about why Beanie Babies exploded and then vanished into the sands of time? We’ll seek to answer those questions and have some fun along the way! Subscribe and join us — we’d love to have you.