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.
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 Galaga Original Release: 1981 (Arcade) Developer: Namco Publisher: Midway/Namco
1981 wasn’t exactly a year where video game companies were coming up with innovating games to unleash upon the masses. Most games were essentially copycats of previously released games with better graphics and sound to harness the newer and better technology available. Some games bucked the trend, such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong but most "new" games in the arcade were just upgrades of previous available cabinet games. Galaga falls into the latter category but that does not discount its significance to the video game history. While it borrows a heavy amount with the formula created from Space Invaders, it helped maintain that genre of games well throughout the 80s.
Video Game Review Toobin’ Arcade 1988 Developer: Atari Publisher: Domark
While it’s very easy to remember the great games from the arcade era because there were so many amazing coin-op games, there were plenty of bad ones we try to forget about. Domark’s Toobin’ is one of them. While it tried to do something by adding a bunch of bells and whistles to what seemed like a simple formula, it offered little entertainment and wasn’t worth the quarters it cost to play the game.
Video Game Review Wacko Arcade 1983 Developer: Steve Mayer Publisher: Bally Midway
Before the days with shooters with advanced shader graphics complexes and score totals that were greater than the GDP of the entire world, we had game like Midway’s Wacko. Imagine a game like Geometry Wars but with much similar graphics and much smaller point totals and you’ll know exactly what the idea of Wacko is. Although even if Wacko had much better graphics and more bells and whistles, it probably wouldn’t make the game all that much better.