Do you know the Official Atari Handshake?

Do you know the Official Atari Handshake?

Have you ever had an awkward handshake that revolved around a greeting or departure? Maybe you led with the wrong hand or your handshake was too firm or too limp? Perhaps your experience was even worse? Maybe instead of a handshake you wound up hugging the person who interviewed you for a job you really wanted. This actually happened to me. Naturally I was laughed at during work functions for years after taking the job. Well all of those experience will seem like a cakewalk if you decide to employ the not-so-secret Atari Handshake during your next important handshake.

Printed in the Nov-Dec 1982 of Atari Age on page 7, the Atari Handshake looks great on paper, but in practice is rather disturbing.

The handshake premise is simple. You turn a thumb into a joystick and one of the shakers grasps it and does some rotating joystick action. This should demonstrate just how much a gamer both of the handshakers are, but the presentation of the thumb joystick raises two very important questions.

  1. How hard should one grasp the thumb joystick?
  2. What level of rotation fits within the realm of acceptability?

These questions are of course not mentioned in this joystick handshake info-graphic. So we handshakers are left to fend for ourselves and if you are anything like me, remember the hug, my thumb joystick movements go from painful to downright creepy in less than 2 seconds. This causes my new Atari buddy to withdraw their paw and run for the hills.

I have spent a good amount of time considering how you could make the Atari handshake slightly less cumbersome. But no amount of finesse can make the thumb grabbing component of this hand bonding maneuver work. Which is probably why the handshake never caught on. Unless it did and I am just being kept out of the loop, which is a strong possibility.

So if you are a person who mastered this handshake, please pass along your wisdom to me. I assure you I am an Atari fan of the highest magnitude. My mitts are just better suited to roughhousing with a joystick than the delicate art of shaking hands.