The Chronology Of Video Games

Most popular games since 1976

1980 — May 27, 2015

1980

1980Welcome to the 80s! As the Arcades Machines continued to rule, 1980 is mostly famous for the Arcade releases like Pac-Man, Berzerk and Missile Command, but some of us remember Centipede and Warlords (which is my personal favourite) as well! We also saw the release of Nintendo’s infamous first handheld system – Game & Watch.

This was the year when Atari 2600 finally got going with the port of Space Invaders and for some reason, suddenly everybody wanted to have it (and their other games) at home! Mattel had a proper release for their home console – Intellivision (which they partly released already previous year – for the test markets). These were definitely steps closer to the Arcade Coin-Op Machines – but not yet ready to take over!

Home computers continued to improve too. Radio Shack released a new home computer with colors – nicknamed CoCo (TRS-80 Color Computer). We saw the release of the ZX80 and Atom home computers for the UK market, but the biggest steps came from the software developers! Infocom released their first text adventure game – Zork I. And influential RPG game Rogue was released (which in fact created a new genre – rogue-like games). Graphical adventure games became the most popular genre for the home computers for almost entire decade.

In my next posts I will first take a closer look at the Game & Watch handheld systems and its games. Then I will take you to the best games released for the home consoles, home computers and the Arcades in the end!

Lets continue the journey!

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NINTENDO – GAME & WATCH —

NINTENDO – GAME & WATCH

gunpei_yokoi_vacant_expo-17Game & Watch – is a series of electronic handheld games (every console had just one built in game and no possibilities to change it). Other than that, it included a clock and/or an alarm. It was a product to put Nintendo amongst the market leaders of the video games industry!

Games were split into the series and in 1980 we saw the release of the Silver Series, which contained five games – Ball, Flagman, Vermin, Fire and Judge! All simple games, controlled mostly with just two buttons! But it didn’t mean less fun – they were highly popular!

After being lucky to try all of them, I must say my favorites are Ball and Fire – others are fun too, but these kept me busy for hours! Ball is a juggling game, where you have to make sure you are not going to drop the balls. In Fire you take control of two firemen with trampoline and catch the people falling from the burning building.

In my next post I will take a closer look at the best games for home consoles.

Stay tuned!

HOME CONSOLE GAMES IN 1980: PART 1 —

HOME CONSOLE GAMES IN 1980: PART 1

In this section I am going to play all the video games released for the home consoles in 1980 (and few what were released maybe a year later – it is not easy to find the exact release dates for all these games). I had to split this section into two parts. In the first part I will play games for Fairchild Channel F, 1292 Family Consoles and Magnavox Odyssey 2 consoles. In the second part I will take a look at the games for Atari 2600, Bally Astrocade and Intellivision consoles.

Fairchild Channel F – first, to get done with Fairchild Channel F (re-released by Zircon), I decided to play all the games released in 1980/1981 by Fairchild and Zircon. It wasn’t huge challenge, there were only 5+1 games to play (one was actually a homebrew what was released in 2009). And then again, it was a challenge – all these games compared with games for the other systems in 1980 were horribly aged! But just to get the idea, I played them all! And after playing all these 6 games, I could only recommend to try two of those – Alien Invasion and homebrew game Pac-Man (was actually not released before 2009). Alien invasion is a clone/port of Space Invaders and Pac-Man is a homebrew version of Pac-Man for the Arcades.

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1292 Family Consoles – same story as with Channel F – not only were all the games aged, it was hard to find the exact released dates and I decided to play all the remaining library! And there were not many, also only 6 more games released after 1980 (or somewhere around 1980). And to be honest, none of them is worth to waste your time! Better skip it!

Magnavox Odyssey 2 – 1980 was a really quiet year for Magnavox Odyssey 2/Philips Videopac. Most notable release must be the Space Monster (Alien Invaders Plus) – which is another version of Arcades Space Invaders. Slightly modified and quite enjoyable.

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Space Monster (Alien Invaders Plus)
In Space Monster the player controls a robot inside the mobile laser cannon, which is used to attack the enemy robots. The Merciless Monstroth (an eye shaped enemy that constantly moves back and forth across the top of the screen) leads the invasion force of 8 robots. Each robot has a cannon and is protected by an indestructible green shield. The shields constantly move back and forth giving both the player and the enemy the opportunity to fire.

Games released in coming years:

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Stone Sling/Smithereens/Catapult (1981)
It is a catapult/tower attack game, where your mission is to take down your enemy’s tower and catapult! It is a fun two-player game – unfortunately you cannot try your skills against the computer! But still definitely one of the best games for the system!

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Satellite Attack (1981)
Satellite Attack is another fun Asteroids-like space shooter. But it plays a little differently – you can’t always choose what you are going to shoot. Every time you move your aim moves clockwise! And that actually makes this game even more enjoyable, like a little twist to the gameplay. One of the best games for the system!

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Munchkin/K.C. Munchkin! (1981)
K.C. Munchkin is a Pac-Man-like game, which due to similarities was even sued by Atari and the production was ceased! Some people would say – yes, it’s a ripoff, but it’s actually better than Pac-Man! I am going to use my privilege and let you to decide, which one is better! Definitely one of the all time best games for Magnavox Odyssey 2 / Philips Videopac G7000!

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Jumping Acrobats (1982)
Jumping Acrobats is a port of Arcade game called Circus. You may ask, what is this game doing here, in this list? And I can answer – out of all the different versions (including the original), this is the best version of this game so far. It has smooth and responsive gameplay, it has colors and it has death picture! Other than that, its just a fun game to kill your time with!

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4-in-1 Row (1983)
4-in-1 Row is a fun puzzle game! You can play it against the computer or against your friend – your aim is to line up 4 pieces horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Pieces will be dropped from the top and they will fall until they reach the ground or touch other pieces, so you can’t put your pieces everywhere. Recommended for puzzle game fans, but even I enjoyed it – and I don’t like puzzle games that much!

That should be it! If I missed any of the games what definitely should be here – please send me an email: predrulez@gmail.com

See you in the PART 2

HOME CONSOLE GAMES IN 1980: PART 2 — May 30, 2015

HOME CONSOLE GAMES IN 1980: PART 2

ATARI 2600 – Atari had a strong year! They finally started to live up to expectations. One of the main reasons behind the success was the release of the Space Invaders. Suddenly everybody wanted to have it at home and not just that, they started to buy the other games what Atari had released before. But enough talking – here are the best games from Atari in 1980:

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Space Invaders
Space Invaders – of course I need to start with Space Invaders – another port of the Arcade’s super hit at home, and a good one! But everybody knows the game, so you should definitely try this version too – if you haven’t before!

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Othello
Othello is maybe not the most innovative game, but a decent port of Arcade’s video game. Except the graphics, the game is same – it’s a chess-like puzzle game, where you need to change the pieces on the board into your colors. hard to explain, but it’s smooth, runs well and it’s easy to play! A must for people who like chess-like games!

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Steeplechase
Steeplechase is a horse riding game! Normally I would not be excited, but this game has a quite decent gameplay – it’s smooth, good graphics for the time, easy to play and easy to control your rider. For the first time, horse riding is fun!

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Boxing
Of course Boxing is a boxing game! Don’t let the cover fool you – it’s more like a crab fight! But, it’s megatons of fun! This game was actually really innovative for the time – it was one of the first games with bigger characters. So appreciate the past, have fun with crabs in single player or two player mode!

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Fishing Derby
You must be thinking I’m nuts by now – a fishing game? Yes – and the reason is simple, it’s the the shark! This shark is one of the first bigger real looking characters in video games history. So better catch your fish, do it faster than your opponent or else – it will get you! A nice way to spend your time!

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Skiing
Skiing is another downhill skiing video game – maybe not the most innovative or original, but it’s the smoothest and best looking skiing game so far for sure! Play alone or beat your friend – the time is merciless!

Bally Astrocade – it was another disappointing year from Astrocade! Just one game was released (Dog Patch) – and even if it’s not a bad game, it’s not so good either! It’s just a two player can shooting game! Aim, get the rhythm and shoot!

INTELLIVISION – after a proper release of the system the game was on! Finally we saw loads and loads of quality releases on system (mostly sports – due to lack of 3rd party support and Atari 2600 had already licensed most of the mayor arcade titles, but it got better for Intellivision later on). But even so, Intellivision had become a serious competitor!

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Auto Racing
Auto Racing is a racing game, which had amazing graphics for the time! Unfortunately only possible to play with two players, but still a lot of fun!

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NASL Soccer
NASL Soccer is an early soccer game – one of the first that started to look like soccer, not only dots and squares moving around! Was a soccer game to go with in early 80s – for two players only!

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NBA Basketball
NBA Basketball is the most realistic basketball game released so far! Recommended to all the basketball fans! By today’s standards it has aged like all these other titles, but at the time its release it was unbelievable realistic!

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NHL Hockey
Not much necessary to say – like all the other sport releases, this NHL Hockey game was the most realistic hockey game ever released!

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Tennis
Tennis of course is a tennis game – most realistic at the time of its release!

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U.S. Ski Team Skiing
U.S. Ski Team Skiing is a downhill skiing game – one of many (and maybe even not that advanced compared with others). But there is something in this game what makes it good enough to be amongst the best titles in 1980! Try yourself and I believe you will like it too! A fun game to spend time with!

And that’s it – time to move on! In my next post I will write about CoCo (TRS-80 Color Computer) and then I will start playing all the home computer games released in 1980! Got to be excited!

Stay tuned!

TRS-80 COLOR COMPUTER (COCO) — June 10, 2015

TRS-80 COLOR COMPUTER (COCO)

480px-TRS-80_Color_Computer_1_front_rightTRS-80 Color Computer (CoCo / Tandy Color Computer)  Рis a line of home computers released by Radio Shack. It had three generations of hardware and it lasted until 1991. Despite its name, it has nothing in common with earlier TRS-80! It has colors, a different processor (Motorola 6809) and its even not compatible with TRS-80.

In 1980 we saw the release of 9 games, but none of them deserves a special attention! Instead, in my next posts I will take a closer look at the other home computer games released in 1980 and come back to Coco when it has some good games to offer! And it might happen already in 1981?

Stay tuned and see you soon!

HOME COMPUTER GAMES IN 1980 — June 11, 2015

HOME COMPUTER GAMES IN 1980

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TI-99 – had a decent year. We saw the release of many puzzle and action games, also a version of Space Invaders was released. Here are some of the titles I enjoyed most:

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Hustle
Hustle is a worm-like game with some differences. First of all, its a game with two players on single screen (one could be computer) able to block off each other and collect more points than opponent! Its fast paced, smooth and fun!

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Car Wars
Car Wars is a port of arcades Head On. With some improvements! In this game you have to drive in circles and collect dots (like in Pac-Man), but you also have an opponent who you must avoid! It is actually the first version of this game I enjoyed, all the other ports (including the original) were not that responsive and smooth. A fun game to spend your time with!

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Hunt The Wumpus
Hunt the Wumpus is a hide and seek format computer game where your mission is to stay alive – not to fall into the pits and not to get eaten by the monster. Its a different and fun game to try! Recommended to everybody!

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TI Invaders
TI Invaders is another decent port of the Space Invaders! Even after so many ports of this game, its still fun to pick up and play!

APPLE II – also had a decent year! Apple II was mostly in picture with many RPG and graphical/text adventure games. Some of these games are remember for being first (or one of the first ones) of the genre. And here are the best:

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Hellfire Warrior
Hellfire Warrior is a direct sequel to Temple of Apshai! An early enjoyable RPG for retro gamers! Maybe a bit aged but give it a try. Little advice would be to start from the Temple of Apshai – Hellfire Warrior is made for expert players!

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Rescue at Rigel
Rescue at Rigel is a science fiction RPG, where your aim is to rescue 10 human captives in 60 minutes. Was a decent fun for the time! For nowadays the graphics and gameplay have aged! But if you were young back then you may still like it!

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Odyssey: The Compleat Apventure
Odyssey: The Compleat Apventure is an early dungeons&dragons-like RPG game. It has very basic and a bit boring graphics but for the time of its release it holds up! Most of the actions take place on an island, where you need to find castle and ruins, fight with monsters and collect treasures!

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Mission Asteroid
Mission Asteroid is one of the first graphical adventure games. Made by On-Line Systems (now known as Sierra Entertainment). Your aim is to get to the asteroid and blow it up! Sounds fun? It definitely is!

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Voodoo Castle
Voodoo Castle is a text adventure game, where your aim is to wake up Count Cristo by moving around and solving puzzles! A fun game for text adventure fans!

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Zork I: The Great Underground Adventure
Zork is an early and one of the most famous text adventure game, where can type in quite advanced text commands – not limited to two words like many other games in this genre! Game takes place in the Great Underground Empire and your aim is to get out of there alive and with treasures. A must try game for all video game fans!

ATARI 8 BIT – it was good to own an Atari 8 bit home computer in 1980. First of all, more video games were released on Atari home computers than on any other gaming device. And you could choose between very different games – from RPG-s to text adventures, strategy to arcade games. So lets have a look at the best games on Atari 8 bit home computers!

Dogbite!and Domination– these two simulation strategy games were awesome! In Dogbite you must deliver post without being bitten. You get a description of the situation and then you can choose between different options, trying to succeed! In Domination like the name says your aim is to dominate – by selling and buying goods like gold or petrol and making and army to take over!

European countries and capitals – is a knowledge based game. Your aim is to answer correctly to questions related to countries and their capitals in Europe. Somehow – lots of fun!

More thinking games. Lords of Karma and Inspector Clew-So – fun text adventure games! A must for all the text adventure game fans!

Datestones of Ryn and Morloc’s Tower – two fantastic RPG-s for the time. They are both part of Dunjonquest series. A must play for oldschool RPG-s fans!

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Lunar Lander, Mountain Shoot and Roundup – these three fun action/puzzle/arcade games give a lot of quality time if you like more fast paced and action orientated games!

These were the best games on home computers in 1980!

In my next post I will write about best Arcade games in 1980!

See you soon!

BEST ARCADE GAMES IN 1980 — September 5, 2015

BEST ARCADE GAMES IN 1980

Long time no see! It took me a long time to process – almost two years. I needed to decide the future of this blog! I thought I am not able to continue it as it was before! But I have changed my mind. I just needed a break and now I am ready to go on!

Here are the 11 best arcade games released in 1980:


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Armor Attack
The enemy must be destroyed! Armor Attack is a fun vector graphics shoot ’em up, where you take a control of a jeep in an overhead, maze-like view of a town. You fight against tanks and helicopters. The game uses an overlay attached on the top of the monitor.

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Battlezone
Battlezone is an addictive first-person tank combat arcade game in vector graphics. You take a controls of a tank, which is attacked by other tanks and missiles. Your mission is to destroy as many tanks and UFO-s on the battlefield as possible. The game is black and white, but uses green and red sectioned color overlay.

BERZERK

Berzerk
In Berzerk you control a green stick man. Using a joystick and a fire button (that activates a laser-like weapon), you navigate a simple maze filled with robots. If you want to survive, don’t get shot or run into robots. Stay away from exploding robots, electrified walls and most important, avoid being killed by the unbeatable nemesis, Evil Otto.
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Centipede
Centipede is a vertically oriented fixed shooter arcade game. In this game you need to fight off centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas. A round is completed after you eliminate the centipede that winds down the playing field.
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Crazy Climber
In Crazy Climber you are in a role of a stunt performer who is attempting to climb to the top of four skyscrapers. To get to the top, you need to avoid a number of obstacles and dangers like opening windows, residents who throw objects to knock you off the wall, a giant condor or a giant ape! The controls may be confusing at the beginning, but once you get used to, it’s hard to stop playing this game!
MSSILE COMD
Missile Command
In Missile Command, as a regional commander of three anti-missile batteries, you have six cities to protect from endless hail of ballistic missiles, some of the missiles are even splitting. New weapons are introduced in later levels: smart bombs that can evade a less than perfectly targeted missile, and bomber planes and satellites that fly across the screen and launch missiles of their own.
PACMAN
Pac-Man
You take a control of Pac-Man (yellow ball with mouth) and lead him through the maze while collecting dots and avoiding four multi-colored ghosts. The goal of this game is to consume all the dots in a stage in order to proceed to the next one. Ghosts roam the maze, trying to catch Pac-Man no matter what. If any of them touch the Pac-Man, you will lose a life!
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Phoenix
Phoenix is an outer space-themed, fixed shooter video game similar to Space Invaders. In this game, the Phoenix mothership is presented – one of the first arcade video game bosses ever. You control a spaceship that can move only horizontally at the bottom of the screen and you are able to fire upward. Enemies, appear on the top of the screen, above you space ship, shooting at you and periodically diving towards you in an attempt to crash into you.
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Rally-X
Rally-X is a driving game set in an overhead scrolling view. It was the first game to present background music. The object of this game is to collect all of the flags scattered around the maze before the red cars catch it. A radar shows the locations of the flags, but not the maze walls.
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Space Panic
Space Panic is the first arcade platform game. While lacking the jumping mechanism, you can still dig holes to trap your enemies and climb the ladders with limited supply of oxygen. This game is pretty hard as you enemies don’t really want to get into the traps and often you find yourself waiting between traps and oxygen is running out!
WARLORDS
Warlords
Warlords is a combination of Breakout and Quadrapong. In the four corners of the screen there are castles, surrounded with brick walls that could be broken with a flaming ball. With a spinner controller you control a shield that can bounce off or catch the fireballs and throw them towards your opponents. Your mission is to defend your castle and destroy castles in other three corners.

Some of the other enjoyable arcade games are: Tank Battalion, King and Balloon, Heli Fire, Star Castle. If you think, any of these or even something else must be the best, let me know in the comments!

In my next post I will finally start with 1981!