Another Sunday means another episode of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, the (hopefully) weekly series where I play through all of the games listed in the book - 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. If I played the game before, then I will share my memory of the experience. If I haven't played the game before, then I find an online version or an emulator and I play the game (for at least 30 minutes). This is a book every gamer should have in their library, and if you're interested in purchasing it, you can find it here.

Last week showcased Gyruss, a game some had heard of but one that I hadn't played or heard of. Similar to Tempest and one of the few tube shooters, I had fun playing the game for the first time, although admittedly, I wasn't very good at it. But I did have fun with it and now I can say I've played it...and marked it off of the list of 1001 video games I must play before I die. Let's see what this week holds for us.

This week's featured game is...

Mad Planets

You have to wonder about a game that is deemed a must play but doesn't have a Wikipedia entry.

Uh Oh.

In Mad Planets, the player takes control of a spaceship and must attempt to destroy a series of Earth-like planets which emerge from the center of the screen and rapidly move towards the player's ship - increasing in size as they do so. Destroying all of the planets in a round before the they reach their full scale will see the player awarded with bonus points. Fully-grown planets are orbited by a number of small moons, which, if destroyed, cause the planet to go 'mad' - turning red and making a beeline for the player's ship. The game also includes bonus rounds in which stranded astronauts can be rescued for additional points.

The control panel consists of 1 or 2 player select buttons, a joystick with fire button and one rotary encoder (spinner) for rotating the ship. The players ship is moved vertically, horizontally or diagonally by the joystick. The ship can be rotated 360 degrees by the rotary dial. The fire button is a trigger styled switch located on the joystick.

Mad Planets was released in February 1983. Approximately 1,500 units were produced.
(SOURCE: Arcade History)

Well, if Wikipedia hasn't heard of this game, then it shouldn't be a surprise I haven't played this game. Or even heard of it for that matter. The book makes it clear this game was fairly obscure, and even the description above reveals only 1,500 units of the game were made, so its no wonder I never heard or played it.

I was a little nervous I wouldn't be able to find a place online to play the game, but it actually wasn't that difficult. I've found a number of games I've needed to play for this challenge at Vizzed Retro Game Room, and Bad Planets was available to play online. You can find it here.

The game was okay. It definitely looks and feels every bit like an 80s arcade game. It sounds similar to Defender and looks and plays a bit like a cross between Galaga and Asteroids. Instead of bad guy aliens or space ships though, you are literally shooting at planets. A bit odd, but definitely unique. I suppose these are bad planets, hence the name - Bad Planets. Interestingly enough, the company behind Q-Bert also made this game.

There isn't a lot to it. You beat a level, you move onto another similarly designed level. And of course they get more challenging, but it never really changes much.

While this game doesn't win the record for the worst game I've played so far, it does win the award for being the most obscure. Many old school arcade games have been honored by being featured in other video games as Easter Eggs or mentioned in TVs or movies. They are remembered in lists or they receive ports and are remade for current generation platforms. There isn't a lot of information about this game. There is some, just not a lot. In the end though, it's a decent enough game and I didn't mind playing it for a little while.

I always enjoy finding a game I haven't played and getting the opportunity to try a classic out for the first time. And of course, it's always rewarding anytime I can say I've now played a game and can mark it off of my list.

I'm not sure what game is up next week, so be sure to check back and see if it is something you've played or not. Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


Previous Episodes:

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)

Episode 6: 26 - 30 (here)

Episode 7: 31 - 35 (here)

Episode 8: 36 - 40 (here)

Episode 41 (here)

Episode 42 (here)

Episode 43 (here)

Episode 44 (here)

Episode 45 (here)

Episode 46 (here)

Episode 47 (here)

Episode 48 (here)

Episode 49 (here)

Episode 50 (here)

Episode 51 (here)

Episode 52 (here)

Episode 53 (here)