Video Game Review Centipede Arcade 1980 Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
During the golden age of the arcades, you couldn’t throw a stone in an arcade and not hit at least a dozen shoot-em-up games. Centipede was one of the top games of its generation and still holds up reasonably well despite not being all that flashy. For those who like classic arcade action, Centipede is a solid bet. However, for those who have grown up with games that have things like a background and a decent soundtrack, it might be a bit problematic.
Video Game Review Space Invaders Arcade 1978 Developed by: Taito Published by: Midway (North America)
It’s hard to evaluate a game that was published in 1978 by today’s standards (and it will probably be even more so for people in the future). When Space Invaders came out, it was seen as a revolutionary game that dominated the video game industry. It was so popular yet so simple a game that when the sequel came out a year later, the only thing Taito/Midway did was include colour; and that was more a trick than actual software/hardware engineering as they simply put colour filters over certain parts of the screen. Still, playing Space Invaders today is still quite a bit of fun. Graphically and technically it has been surpassed by modern games but, due to a strong foundation, it is still provides for a good time.
Video Game Review Galaga Arcade 1981 Developed by: Namco Published by: Midway
It would be unfair to point at Namco’s Galaga and say that it’s nothing more than a sequel (of Galaxian) of a rip-off (of Space Invaders). Truth be told, such a lame assessment holds quite a bit of truth. However, not only is Galaga much better than either Galaxian or Space Invaders but it is one of the best arcade games of its era. It’s fun, exciting, and keeps you hungry for more. It’s only drawback—and it’s a big one—is that it will eventually be less fun and exciting after each playthrough and eventually you’ll finally have had your fill. As a diversion though, it is definitely worth playing…one quarter at a time.
Well, it took much longer than I anticipated but here’s the latest edition of the Weekly Video Game Newsletter. I should be back to having it as a weekly feature. I already have several things written for next week’s issue so it shouldn’t be a problem unless something comes up like it has the last couple of weeks.
Inside you’ll find a full review of the E3 conference that took place a few weeks ago. I also voice list the games to keep an eye out for. There are also several reviews and Hall of Fame write ups, a look at Rockstar games throughout the last couple of years, and an analysis of the first week of sales for the two biggest games of the year so far: Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Red Dead Redemption. It’s a whopping 20 pages so there’s plenty of material to feast on.
The Weekly Video Game Podcast will be up on Tuesday. I spent way too much time fighting with the columns to work in Microsoft Word for the newsletter. The podcast is looking to be around 90 minutes long and is very light on E3 nonsense. It’s definitely going to be good stuff.
The Weekly Movie Podcast will be up Tuesday night supported by three movie reviews (of movies that are still in theatres!!!).
Hall of Fame Inductee Marble Madness Original Release: 1984 (Arcade) Designed by: Mark Cerny Developed by: Atari Published by: Atari
As video games were getting more complex during the 80s, it was still the games with the most simple ideas and gimmicks that made the most money. Marble Madness is one of those games that took money away from games that may have offered a more visual bang but didn’t have a lot of substance to them. However, despite it’s simple looking display (even compared to other games released at the time), Marble Madness employed some of the most sophisticated graphical, sound, and input devices available when it was released.
Hall of Fame Inductee 1942 Original Release: 1984 (Arcade) Designed by: Yoshiki Okamoto Developed by: Capcom Published by: Capcom
The fact that 1942 was the first successful shoot-em-up for the start-up Capcom back in 1984 is something that could not have been predicted by most. 1942 was not Capcom’s first game in the genre. Nor was it its best-looking or complex at the time. However, 1942 still managed to be a huge success for the company and took away many quarters from much more impressive looking games. Its simple charm was seen by most as a good thing. Even today, with the game looking like an antique even compared to other 2D shoot-em-ups, it still can entice gamers to lose hours in trying to fight off enemy ships while flying loop-de-loops.
Hall of Fame Inductee Missile Command Original Release: 1980 (Arcade) Designer: Dave Theurer Developed by: Atari Published by: Atari
Games that deal with doomsday scenarios tend to do well. It’s kind of freakish that the stuff we’re most fascinated with are the things that basically spell out a narrative of our impending doom. Atari’s Missile Command played on the fears of many during the Cold War of the 1980s: nuclear annihilation. The game was epic even with its simple gameplay because it played on the nightmares created by the tensions between the east and the west.
Hall of Fame Inductee Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins Original Release: 1985 (Arcade) Designer: Tokuro Fujiwara Developed by: Capcom Published by: Capcom
Many people remember Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins for one reason: underwear. While it probably wasn’t the hook that Capcom was looking for, most people giggled when seeing Sir Arthur run around in his boxers trying to fight off evil demonic creatures. However, what kept players coming back to the game was the interesting game design, nice looking graphics, and addictive gameplay. Even though it was a side-scrolling action-platformer, it still managed to be one of the most popular and profitable games in the arcades in the middle of the 80s. It also proved to have a strong shelf life on the home console front.
Hall of Fame Inductee Paperboy Original Release: 1984 (Arcade) Designers: Carl Bedard, John Salwitz, Dave Ralston, Russel Dawe Developed by: Atari Published by: Atari
It could have been the superior graphics or the fact that the main character had characteristics that were similar to the people playing the game (during their adolescence), however, Atari’s Paperboy probably achieved its great success because of its input interface. Instead of joysticks or buttons on a console, the game was controlled with a pair of handlebars. Before arcade games began to rely on gimmicky input devices to survive, Paperboy‘s handlebars were something special. The game itself was something exceptional because it looked great and was fun to play. There’s good reason why this game was ported to practically every home console and computer system during the 80s.
Hall of Fame Inductee Asteroids Original Release: 1979 (Arcade) Designers: Lyle Rains and Ed Logg Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
It’s not like Asteroids was the first video game (it was far from it). It didn’t have revolutionary graphics or rethink how players played video games. However, Atari hit on something big with Asteroids. It was simple in its design which helped make it easy to get into. It became the definitive video game in arcades and amusement parlours until games began to have more sophisticated displays. Asteroids became such a huge hit that it caused Atari to alter their entire retail plans afterwards.