The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Welcome to the next episode in my weekly series I post every
Sunday where I take a look at games listed in the book, 1001 Video Games You
Must Play Before You Die. If I've played them, then I share my memory of the
experience and if I haven't, then I find an online version or an emulator and I
play them. This is a book every gamer should have in their library, and if
you're interested in purchasing it, you can find it here.
Episode 1: 01 - 05 (here)
Episode 2: 06 - 10 (here)
Episode 3: 11 - 15 (here)
Episode 4: 16 - 20 (here)
Episode 5: 21 - 25 (here)
For devoted gamers
as well as those interested in groundbreaking graphic design, this is the
first, most comprehensive, and only critical guide ever published to video
games. The video game has arrived as entertainment and as an art form. This is
the first serious critical evaluation ever published of the best video games
and is a testament to the medium's innovativeness and increasing emphasis on
aesthetics. Organized chronologically and for all platforms (PC, Xbox,
PlayStation, etc.) and covering all genres from the bold (Grand Theft Auto and
Halo) and dark (Resident Evil and Silent Hill) to the spiritual (Final Fantasy)
and whimsical (Legend of Zelda), the book traces the video game from the rough
early days of Pong to the latest visual fantasia.
So, last week there was only one game that I hadn't
played (or had no recollection of playing). I'm happy to report after some
exhaustive searching, I found it and managed to play it.
#21 - Warlords
"Warlords is an
arcade game released by Atari in 1980. The game resembles a combination of
Breakout and Quadrapong (an early Atari arcade game) in the sense that not only
could up to 4 players play the game at the same time, but also the
"forts" in the four corners of the screen were brick walls that could
be broken with a flaming ball. Warlords used spinner controllers for player
control, and came in both an upright 2 player version and a 4 player cocktail
version. The upright version uses a black and white monitor, and reflects the
game image onto a mirror, with a backdrop of castles, giving the game a 3D
I had a hard time finding this game, and part of the
problem was there are apparently a few games with this name. Well, I double
checked the entry in the book and it was actually referring to a game that is a
lot like Breakout. Well, I did happen to find an online version of that game here.
It's fairly basic and hard to play without the paddles found on the arcade
version, but thankfully since its relatively simple once you've played it for a
few minutes you've pretty much witnessed all it has to offer. And having played it, I can say that I have
played the first 25 games now. Let's see how I fair with the next five.
#26 - Scramble
"Scramble is a 1981
horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up, arcade game. It was developed by Konami,
and manufactured and distributed by Stern in North America. It was the first
side-scrolling shooter with forced scrolling and multiple distinct levels. The
player controls an aircraft, referred to in the game as a Jet, and has to guide
it across a scrolling terrain, battling obstacles along the way. The ship is
armed with a forward-firing weapon and bombs; each weapon has its own button.
The player must avoid colliding with the terrain and other enemies, while
simultaneously maintaining its limited fuel supply which diminishes over time.
More fuel can be acquired by destroying fuel tanks in the game." -Wikipedia
Sounds like a game that would be right up my alley, and
at first, I couldn't remember if I had played this or not, but as soon as I
searched on some screenshots of the game I knew that I had. It uses a game
mechanic that has been emulated in other games a time or two, but it's
basically one of those side scrollers where you shoot and/or bomb targets as
you progress across the screen. Just because I hesitated, I think I'll still
look this game up...heck, if nothing more than just for the nostalgia.
#27 - Stargate
"Stargate is an
arcade game released in 1981 by Williams Electronics. Created by Eugene Jarvis,
it is a sequel to the 1980 game Defender, and was the first of only three
productions from Vid Kidz, an independent development house formed by Jarvis
and Larry DeMar. This video game has no connection to the subsequent Stargate franchise
that began 13 years later. The game is also known as Defender Stargate and
Defender II. The name Defender II has been used on all of its home ports, and
game compilation appearances; however, there were never any Defender II arcade
units. To complicate matters, the Atari 2600 port was originally sold under the
Stargate moniker but was renamed to Defender II for a later re-release." -Wikipedia
Defender was a favorite arcade game of mine, so I was
excited to see the sequel when it made it to our arcade. It looks a lot like
the original, and even though the Wikipedia article said that none of the ones
released in the arcade carried the Defender II name, I could've sworn that's
what ours was called. I trust the Wikipedia gurus though, and take them at
their word...but still feel like I've seen Defender II in the arcade. I did have
it on Atari 2600 too, so maybe that's why I'm confusing it. Regardless, it was
every bit as exciting and fast paced as the original.
#28 - Venture
"The goal of
Venture is to collect treasure from a dungeon. The player, named Winky, is
equipped with a bow and arrow and explores a dungeon with rooms and hallways.
The hallways are patrolled by large, tentacled monsters (the
"Hallmonsters", according to Exidy) who cannot be injured, killed, or
stopped in any way. Once in a room, the player may kill monsters, avoid traps
and gather treasures. If they stay in any room too long, a Hallmonster will
enter the room, chase and kill them. In this way, the Hallmonsters serve the
same role as "Evil Otto" in the arcade game Berzerk. The more quickly
the player finishes each level, the higher their score." -Wikipedia
Hmm...not ringing a bell and the screen shots I'm looking
at look somewhat familiar but not conclusively enough to say yes or no for sure...which
means, I'll have to research this one a bit further and try and find a place
online to play it. Looks like I'm in for a real treat with this one...a lot like,
uh...Adventure was. Sigh.
#29 - Ms. Pac-Man
"Ms. Pac-Man is an
arcade video game produced by Illinois-based Midway Manufacturing corporation.
It was released one year after the company's Pac-Man arcade game. Ms. Pac-Man
was released in North America in 1982 and became one of the most popular video
games of all time, leading to its adoption by Pac-Man licensor Namco as an
official title. The game introduced a female protagonist, new maze designs, and
several other gameplay changes over the original game. It became the most
successful American-produced arcade game, selling 115,000 arcade cabinets. The
gameplay of Ms. Pac-Man is largely identical to that of the original Pac-Man.
The player gathers points by eating dots and avoiding ghosts (contact with one
loses a life). Energizers, or power-pellets, change the ghosts, which reverse
their course and they can be eaten for extra points. Fruit bonuses can be
consumed for increasing point values, twice per level. As the levels increase,
the speed increases, and energizers generally change the ghost for less time." -Wikipedia
If ever there was a blatant knock off of an already
successful game, it was Ms. Pac-Man. I suppose though, the company that owned
the original can create a sequel to try and continue profiting off of the game
and it not be considered a knock off, but Ms. Pac-Man is not much different
than the original, save for that cute little bow in her...um...hair? Of course I
played it. Anybody alive during that time played it. The funny thing is, a few
years ago I was temporarily assigned to this special project down in Tennessee
and was there for a month living out of a hotel room...which meant we (others
that where there with me) had to do our laundry at a local Laundromat...and this
particular Laundromat had...yup, you guessed it...a classic Ms. Pac-Man standup
arcade game. So, not only did I play it back then, I've played it a time or two
#30 - Frogger
"Frogger is an
arcade game introduced in 1981. It was developed by Konami, and licensed for
worldwide distribution by Sega/Gremlin. The object of the game is to direct
frogs to their homes one by one. To do this, each frog must avoid cars while
crossing a busy road and navigate a river full of hazards. Skillful players may
obtain some bonuses along the way. The game is regarded as a classic from the
golden age of video arcade games and was noted for its novel gameplay and
theme. It was also an early example of a game using more than one CPU, as it
used two Z80 processors. Frogger is still popular and versions can be found on
many Internet game sites. By 2005, Frogger had sold 20 million copies
worldwide, including 5 million in the United States." -Wikipedia
When a game is featured on a hit TV show like Seinfeld
and actually incorporated into the script (George was trying to cross the
street to the sound of the Frogger theme song), you know it's an icon. And that
is exactly what happened with this game. This is one of those games I loved
dearly even though I wasn't so good at it. I admit I don't have the quickest
reflexes, which were an important trait to possess when playing this game, but
I still thoroughly enjoyed every quarter I spent on it. I had it for Atari 2600
too, but it was nowhere near as good as the arcade version. When I think of
classic arcade games, of course the Donkey Kong's and the Pac-Man's are up
there, but Frogger is only a step or two behind them.
This concludes another week's review of games found in
1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. There were some great games from
the 1980s definitely earning a spot in the book, and another week where there
was only one game I haven't played, and one I want to play again just for the
fun of it.
This week's homework assignment: Scramble and Venture.
Until next week - happy gaming.
The only games on here this week that I've played are Ms. Pac Man and Frogger. But man, I've spent so many hours playing Frogger. Not just the arcade one either, but over multiple different platforms.
Frogger and Ms. Pac-Man. How much bigger can you get on the arcade side of things (after Pac-Man, of course).
I've definitely played Frogger and Ms. Pacman, but I'm not sure about Defender II. I know I haven't heard about either Scramble or Venture before aside from the brief articles in the book.
neato. Was almost scared I wasn't going to have played any of them this time around. But Ms. Pacman and Frogger I have of course played.
If you have never played Ms. Pacman you're missing out. This game was a game that started my love of gaming. Me and my mom would play this game for hours on end. Thanks Saint for bringing back the memories.
"but Ms. Pac-Man is not much different than the original, save for that cute little bow in her...um...hair?"
Them, Saint, is fightin' words. The fairer sexed Pac-Man was a huge upgrade over the original, and featured multiple maze layouts, better ghost pattern algorithms, moving fruit and improved graphical fourishes, not to mention the addition of a, ahem, story(?). Kind of.
Thus ends today's history lesson.
Let's see, out of this list, I've played Ms. PAC-Man and Frogger. I've never heard of the other ones.
Oh wow! I finished that book a long time ago. Pac man and frogger bring back some memories. Now I'm gonna start reading that book again...:D
I've played the better known ones. Never even heard of some of them.
Out of this list, I've only played Ms. Pac Man. I've never played Frogger, but seeing it reminded me of a certain hilarious episode of Seinfeld lol.
Man, Warlords can get pretty intense. Mrs. Pac Man and Frogger are too amazing games as well.