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Space-Invaders1

This was never going to be pretty (we are talking 1970’s graphics here) but it sure could be hardcore. Yep, PFTP’s Medway Grovers, Bri, Gaz and Si were going right back to the beginning, back to when Space Invaders were big…

Space Invaders (’78)
Taito

SpaceInvaders-Gameplay

Unquestionably a classic, Space Invaders has simple yet inconic graphics and that forboding plodding beat of the unrelenting invasion (but don’t mention the startling flying saucer alert when played at high volumes haha). An uncomplicated game but hard as nails, yet keeps you coming back for more after all these years. Especially if you’re Gaz who’s scorecard proudly displayed the night’s highscore too.
PFTP Rating: 4.0

Nightdriver(’76)
Atari
nightdriver

“This game does something to your eyes?” “Yeah, it puts you in a coma!” Let’s just say, opinions were divided on this forerunner to greats such as Pole Position. Sure it’s primative but there’s no denying the immaculately plotted roadside markers that gave a pixel-perfect movement to the wicked twists and turns. This game has gears too (if you dare to use them!) together with smooth engine and skid sounds, that were at odds with the screen-flashing brashness when you came off road. Not that James ‘Bri’ Hunt had to face this, his steady hand at the wheel saw a photo finish in record time. Just!
PFTP Rating: 1.8

Pong (’72)
Atari

Pong
The granddaddy of them all, and the first commercially successful video game. It’s  so old, there isn’t even a rom for it. Yep, less program, more hardware! One thing’s for sure, Pong’s playability is timeless, and always will be. Gaz came off the courts unbeaten, partly the result of a strange serving technique from the net??
PFTP Rating: 3.0

Lunar Lander(’79)
Atari
Lunar_Lander
Wow! Don’t think I’d even played this back in the day but this one cast a spell. Quietly atmospheric, your lander silently floats down from space, punctuated by rocket bursts from a limited fuel supply, as you descend towards a zoomed in terra firma. My thoughts drifted to the film, Gravity, as I played this one.  Vector graphics drawn with precision, demanded skills of precision too, and there was only man for this job… Captain King! And his captain’s log, star date 2015-07-04, boldly brought him a highscore that none of us had seen before.
PFTP Rating: 3.2

Asteroids (’79)
Atari

Asteroi1
This game rocks! Pun aside, it’s darn well true. A vector graphic work of art without a doubt, that is fun and challenging in a perfect way.  Surrounded by asteroids, that splinter off into smaller and smaller pieces as you blast, thrust and hyperspace your way to survival.  Different approaches were on display tonight from Si’s  driving-by-the-seat-of-his-pants to Gaz’s selective pick-each-asteroid-off-like-a-first-person-marksman (or so he likes to think). Whatever scores we achieved tonight, I predict this won’t be the last time we revisit this one.
PFTP Rating: 4.0

Galaxian(’79)
Namco

galaxian

Multi-colour sprites!!! It’s evolution from Space Invaders was clear but Galaxian took things to the next level. With swooping, kamikaze aliens going for the kill, it’s a far more frantic shooter with enhanced graphics and sound, most notably the screaming Galaxian dives and the coolest ‘pschhhhh’ firing sound effect ever.  Definitely ahead of it’s time, this still has playability by the bucketload today.  And after Si’s eye-of-the-needle accuracy lol, Gaz somehow dodged the alien onslaught to finish the night on a high, just like England who claimed bronze in the Women’s World Cup in Canada (get in!).
PFTP Rating: 4.3

And having revisited some of arcade’s greats, we’d only reached 1979. With much still to explore, roll on the ’80s!

Scorecards:

Arcade70s - ScoreCards

PTFP Ratings:

Galaxian 4.3
Space Invaders 4.0
Asteroids 4.0
Lunar Lander 3.2
Pong 3.0
Nightdriver 1.8

Galaxian deservedly just edges ‘the big three’ here in our fun retro-ratings based on the simple average of each player’s individual rating out of 5.0.

Never mind it’s not the blog’s title track, the b-side’s a cracker too….

 

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3 thoughts on “When Space Invaders were big

  1. Great blog! What’s really cool about this is that by the time you reach the colour Spaced Invaders at the bottom it’s actually quite noticable with how bright and colourful it looks due to the preceding games being in black and white.
    Really makes you appreciate how they evolved over time.

    • Thanks! And you’re so right – retrogaming reveals more than you expect sometimes. Like you say, the progression from monochrome to colour was striking, as were the advances in game play from Space Invaders to Galaxian, and Lunar Lander to Asteroids. Keep it retro! 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Golden Years Part I | Press Fire to Play

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