It’s easy to go back in time to refresh your memory (or even learn about the industry back then) when you have contenders like Asteroids, Space Invaders and Galaxian to show how games could be entertaining. But what about the other good games of the time that missed the test of time? Today, I’ll present you 3 gems from the first decade of games.
Built by a single programmer, Star Raiders is an interesting piece from the pre-historical era, when it comes to graphic. It was considered complex on gameplay, and advanced in graphics, given the state of games at the time. But just check this image and we understand what “advanced graphics” can mean at this time:
Believe it or not, this visual was considered “violent” at the time of release, but the combination of colors and visual effects happening at the same time where widely used to explore the graphical capabilities of the Atari back then.
According to its creator, Doug Neubauer, the intention was to emulate the politics and combat of Star Trek into the game, hence we have the “action screen” above, and the map screen below:
For the time, the game had advanced features, such as the possibility of be attacked while examining the map screen, indicating a “embryo form” of background processing.
The game received overall praise by the computing community, and held its place in the pantheon of memorable games for it’s era.
Assuming the role of the captain of a moon expedition, your duty is to safely land the space module in the moon soil, taking into consideration your fuel, your velocity, and the power thrusted into your engines to control your descent.
The game is also made in vector display (as Asteroids), and has an incredible physics simulation attached to it. You can play it for free in Atari’s website (clicking here!).
One of the hardest to find available, Artillery also uses physics into its gameplay. You assume the position of Artillery man, and must destroy your enemy before he does the same to you.
The game started a whole sub-genre with the same premises, which in the future would include the famous Worms, from Microprose, that uses the same mechanics. It was first developed as a BASIC application by a single programmer, Mike Forman, and receives a cult-following after its publication in Creative Computing in 1976. Later, received ports for Apple II and DOS, while some clones appeared in the Commodore PET and Magnavox Odyssey, but with small changes in the aesthetics.
Galaxian is also from the same time (1979), and takes the formula established in Space Invaders in the previous year. The difference, in this case, relates to the way your enemies attack you, with different and more unpredictable way towards you. It’s a good twist in the same formula, and also attracted more players to the arcades.
Asteroids is also from the same age, and can be played online in several sites. It was a pioneer in using vectors, and you can see a good use when you die, with the pieces of your ship flying away after your destruction.
Asteroids can be played online in several websites. Check it out here!