Tag Archives: arcade games

Namco Essentials: Libble Rabble

At the time of writing, people are getting seriously excited for PlatinumGames’ next release, Astral Chain — and with good reason!

As the release approaches, we’re starting to learn more and more about the game: what we can expect from it, what sort of experience it will be and what its main inspirations are.

In the latter case, an interview by Polygon reveals that a particularly strong influence on director Takahisa Taura was an obscure 1983 release from Namco, developed by the creator of Pac-Man. I give you Libble Rabble.

Continue reading Namco Essentials: Libble Rabble

Atari A to Z Flashback: Pong

It’s Pong! The grandaddy of them all. Well, okay, not the absolute first ever computer game ever EVER, but it was certainly the first widely successful one.

If you have the slightest familiarity with gaming, surely Pong needs little to no introduction, but you might be surprised to know that it actually still holds up rather well today. It’s gaming stripped down to its bare essentials, both in terms of graphics and mechanics — and it still works wonderfully as a competitive game.

Fortunately, with how well-known it is and how easy it is to program a convincing clone (even I could probably do it if I tried hard enough!) there’s no shortage of ways to play it these days… but if you really want the true experience, you gotta go Atari.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

Dave Theuer’s Missile Command is an absolute classic of the “golden age” of arcade games, and still puts up a formidable challenge today!

Embodying the paranoia many people were feeling towards the Cold War and potential nuclear conflict in the early ’80s, Missile Command is a relentless, frantic affair. Despite that, it’s more important than anything to stay calm and take careful, strategic shots rather than just blasting away in a mad panic.

I am bad at Missile Command, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy playing it! So let’s get on and do just that, shall we?

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

SNK Essentials: Athena

Sometimes there are games that aren’t the most fun to play today, but remain significant from a historical perspective nonetheless. SNK’s 1986 title Athena, in both its arcade and NES incarnations, definitely falls into that category.

Acting as a spiritual predecessor to Psycho Soldier but having pretty much nothing to do with it — the “Athena” in this game is supposedly a distant ancestor of the “Athena” in Psycho Soldier, so it’s not even the same character — Athena is a monstrously challenging platform action game that does a lot of interesting things… and a lot of frustrating things!

Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading SNK Essentials: Athena

Sunday Shooting: Shmups Skill Test

Reckon you’re good at shoot ’em ups? I certainly don’t, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to quantify exactly how bad you are at something.

Enter Shmups Skill Test by Triangle Service, then, a game that attempts to analyse your performance in a selection of common shoot ’em up skill areas, including avoiding bullets, avoiding obstacles, shooting things and TANK TANK TANK TANK TANK.

It’s an unusual one for sure, and a great title to bust out for an impromptu tournament, particularly if you’re all as bad as each other!

Delving Into Air Combat – #1

I always find it interesting to head back to a series’ roots to see what has changed and what has stayed the same over the years.

I was particularly excited to start from the beginning of the Ace Combat series, since it’s one I’ve come to really enjoy in the last few years, and I sense there’s still quite a lot I’ve missed out on.

Would the original PS1 release from 1995 be worth revisiting today, I wondered?

Continue reading Delving Into Air Combat – #1

Atari A to Z: Ixion

Here’s an interesting one: an unreleased port of an unreleased game.

Yes indeed, Ixion never officially saw the light of day way back when, either in its original arcade incarnation or its home ports. And yet here it is, perfectly preserved in its Atari 8-bit incarnation, all thanks to the efforts of the filthy dirty pirates of the 1980s. Yar-har, fiddle-de-dee.

The game itself is an interesting combination of arena shooter, puzzler and collect ’em up, and I like it very much. If you have an Atari 2600, AtariAge even released an actual physical version of that port — check it out here!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.