Soon after when space invaders were big, came the golden years, a time of gaming greats. So in a week that saw Birmingham City FC finally jump off the Zolacoaster, PFTP’s bluenose trio Bri, Gaz and Ste celebrated with a trip to the arcades like it was 1982…
Pacman is arguably the most famous game of them all with iconic graphics and punchy munchy sound. Chomp the pellets and dodge the ghosts, that’s it, the gameplay is both simple and highly addictive. And the real fun kicks in with with power pellets, the first power-up in video game history, that reverses the roles and temporarily allows you to chase and gulp a ghost or two. There’s strategy too but none of us knew the perfect path through each level but no matter this game oozes a timeless playability, especially for Bri who devoured the night’s highscore.
PFTP Rating: 4.8
With talk of Man vs Snake we returned to Nibbler. Can’t say I remember this from back in the day but guiding the virtual snake through an enclosed maze to consume dots (ala Pacman) whilst avoiding your ever-growing tail (ala Snake), this mash up brought back memories of the the old nokia preloader. Except it’s much harder! Bri, however, slid through the levels with ease for top spot.
PFTP Rating: 2.7
What. A. Game. On a HD screen with amplification there’s much to admire in this side-scrolling shooter masterpiece. Surely slickest ship in shootup history who’s firework-like exploding end is almost worth dying for, and man, nothing on the planet sounds like Defender! This is tough, sure, but there’s a real thrill to the gameplay too. Defending the humans from landers and blowing away baiters, bombers and swarmers, you need hefty firepower including the strategic use of smart bombs or, if you dare, the hyperspce option. A real blast, notably for Gaz, who nicked the highscore and knows he’ll be coming back for more.
PFTP Rating: 4.7
Donkey Kong (’81)
One of the early platformers and Mario’s first video game appearance, Donkey Kong has strong nostalgia but somehow the memory eclipses this night’s revisit. Maybe we just need to skill-up but those barrels just keep on coming, sometimes randomly, not to mention that pesky flame just as you’re waiting for that right gap. Kings of Kong we weren’t and that ‘squidgy arsed Mario’ didn’t prove so popular sadly though Gaz did make it to the second level lol
PFTP Rating: 2.5
Pole Position (’82)
Prepare to qualify! This racing classic inspired countless imitations, but Pole Position was first on the grid. Surprisingly smooth the impressive 3D graphics are great on the eye with a solid feel to the gameplay. And speed too, you can put your foot on the gas alright but some of those bends are unforgiving to say the least, and like all games of the time, there’s no hand-holding tutorial mode here. The sound effects were less impressive, almost dentist drill like at times haha but Gaz with the bit between his teeth qualified for the race though I can’t remember him finishing it lol
PFTP Rating: 2.5
Star Wars (’83)
A Star Wars fan’s dream of a game, alright, this has Tie Fighters, the Death Star and best of all the Trench! What more could you want? The sound effects and speech samples provide great atmosphere and colour vector graphics render impressive battles adding to the sense of being in space. Back in the day this had a major wow factor and there’s still a thrill to stiking the Death Star’s exhaust port, though the ZX Spectrum-esque circle drawing excuse of an explosion is an underwelming reward lol Nevertheless the force was strong in Steve that night who went home with a Jedi score. And as the arcade closed down for the evening, we talked of themes for another night sometime in the future but not so far, far away….
PFTP Rating: 4.2
Star Wars 4.2
Pole Position 3.3
Donkey Kong 2.5