A Gaming Decade in Review: 1970s

Wow, is it already the end of the decade? It seems like such a short time that I have been covering the games of the 1970s, though a part of that may have to do with me starting in 1978 and then (much) later going back to fill in the previous games. Whoops. Silly me. Silly, silly 2011 version of me. Well, at any rate we can take a look back now and see what has led us to this point. As we welcome the 1980s let’s appreciate the triumphs and (it is hoped) learn from the failures that came to pass.

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Centipede, [1980] |Arcade|

Centipede Cabinet
Refinement has always been as central an aspect to video gaming as innovation. As soon as a brilliant idea comes to the medium, it is edited and polished at such a dizzying pace that cinema seems downright sluggish. Devil May Cry (2001) introduced a semi-fixed camera that was refined by God of War (2005). Stardust (1993) used pre-rendered 3D sprite graphics that were refined by Donkey Kong Country (1994) and perfected by Vectorman (1995). Back in 1980, Dona Bailey was inspired by Space Invaders which created the “shoot ’em up” genre in 1978. Let’s look at her addition to the genre after the jump.

Tempest, [1980] |Arcade|

Tempest Cabinet

No, I’m not thinking of the play by Shakespeare, or the painting by Giogiorne, though both were quite good. I’m talking about the arcade game by Atari. Fresh off their success of Asteroids, Atari once again called upon the sexy power of vectors to make their next space-shooty game. In light of Asteroids’ marked success and the countless clones it inspired, just what makes this unassuming twitch game so special? I mean, aside from the awesomely angular cabinet? Let’s take a look. (Seriously, look at that thing. Atari was not messing around when they chiseled those edges and corners!)

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Free Coffee Coupons! Inquire Within!

OK, That title was the bait, now time for the switch.
I decided to try something a little different with the way I discuss things and wrote this monologue as I thought it up. As with any free writing exercise, I started typing and didn’t stop until I was done; essentially producing a stream of consciousness diatribe. It’s guaranteed more invigorating than a nice cup of tea (once you’re down to just the leaves)! Anyway, I didn’t change any words since finishing. I only added punctuation, edited spelling, etc., and inserted links for your browsing enjoyment.