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.

The games featured lately seem to jump back and forth between whether I've played them or not. Last week was Track & Field, a game I had played before but this week is a game I haven't heard of...again. I'm actually kind of surprised I haven't heard of it because it is made by a company called Lucasfilm Games, which most of us know as LucasArts (or should I say Disney now). At one time, LucasArts used to be my favorite developer/publisher and I was proud to say I had played every game they published. Well, things have changed and that's not true anymore. Obviously, they made this game and I haven't heard of it. What is this game, you might be wondering. Ah, it's none other than...


Ballblazer is a 1984 computer game created by Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts Entertainment). It was originally released for the Atari 8-bit systems, such as the Atari 800 and the Atari 5200. It was also ported to other popular platforms of the day, such as the Apple II, ZX Spectrum (by Dalali Software Ltd), Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Atari 7800, and the NES. The Atari 800 version was called Ballblaster during development - pirated versions of the game went by this name as well.

Ballblazer is a simple one-on-one sports-style game bearing similarities to basketball and soccer. Each side is represented by a craft called a "rotofoil", which can be controlled by either a human player or a computer-controlled "droid" with ten levels of difficulty. (The game allows for human vs. human, human vs. droid, and droid vs. droid matches.) The basic objective of the game is to score points by either firing or carrying a floating ball into the opponent's goal. The game takes place on a flat, checkerboard playfield, and each player's half of the screen is presented in a first-person perspective.

A player can gain possession of the ball by simply running into it, at which point it is held in a force field in front of the craft. The opponent can attempt to knock the ball away from the player using the fire button, and the player in possession of the ball can also fire the ball toward the goal. When a player does not have possession of the ball, his or her rotofoil automatically turns at 90-degree intervals to face the ball, while possessing the ball turns the player toward the opponent's goal. The goalposts move from side to side at each end of the playfield, and as goals are scored, the goal becomes narrower. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

Finding a place to play the game wasn't all that difficult. I found an online version of it here. Although after I found it and played it, I had to find go and look for another one just to make sure what I found was indeed the real deal. It is, uh...perhaps one of the simplest games I have ever played in 30+ years of gaming. The description says it is like a cross between soccer and basketball, but it felt more like air hockey to me. Only the goals move back and forth and the puck would stick to your paddle, but yeah...otherwise it felt like air hockey. I guess for a game that is thirty years old, I shouldn't expect too much and to be fair, it was a little fun I suppose. If you make a long shot you earn 3-points, so I spent most of my time just trying to hit long shots. I could see this being a competitive game between a couple of friends back in the day...but other than playing the game to mark it off of your 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die list, I can't really see a reason to play this game. It's not bad, there just isn't a lot to see here.

Computer Gaming World stated that the "quick and intense" Ballblazer "squeezes more out of the Atari 400/800 than any game I've ever seen ... spectacular graphics".

Spectacular graphics? I wonder if we were playing the same game. The audio maybe...but not the graphics, heh heh. I did discover a pretty cool website dedicated to the game and the people who developed it. If you're interested, you can find it here. It even shows a video of the game play. So, another game check-marked off of the 1001 video games you must play before you die. I'm glad to have played it and I guess we'll see what next week holds.

Until then...

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


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)

Episode 54 (here)

Episode 55 (here)

Episode 56 (here)

Episode 57 (here)

Episode 58 (here)

Episode 59 (here)

Episode 60 (here)

Episode 61 (here)

Episode 62 (here)

Episode 63 (here)

Episode 64 (here)