2nd Generation Video Game Notes

This list doesn’t include every game from the 2nd generation, unfortunately–I lost the original files. But here’s what I have.

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Centipede

Original version: Centipede, released in 1980 for arcade
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 and Tempest 2000

Original version for game 1: Tempest, released in 1980 for arcade
Original version for game 2: Tempest 2000, released in 1994 for Atari Jaguar

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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Missile Command

Original version: Missile Command, released in 1980 for arcade

If you were alive during the cold war you must remember the fear and uncertainty that came with wondering how long the arms race between the US and USSR would last. Missile Command was inspired by this very fear and puts you, the player, in charge of millions of lives.

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Pac-Man

Original version: Pac-Man, released in 1980 for arcade

 

Waka waka waka waka waka waka waka waka. I guarantee that the sound effect of Pac-Man eating pellets is etched in your brain (unless you’re a Shakira fan and you hear the song “Waka Waka,” but the less spoken about that, the better).

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