It’s always interesting to explore games that have had a lousy critical reception over the years, because you can look on it as a challenge to “find the good” in what the game is offering.
Such was the case with Sentinel, a light-gun shooter for Atari 2600 that has had a somewhat frosty reception over the years. After a bit of getting used to the twitchy analogue controls in Atari Flashback Classics, however, I actually found this to be a surprisingly enjoyable game.
One of the things I find kind of interesting about how gaming culture in general has developed over time is how people feel about “arcade games”.
Back in the 8- and 16-bit eras of computers and consoles that I grew up with, the seemingly unattainable dream was to have “the arcade experience at home” — or, well, more accurately, an authentic arcade experience at home. This was kind of strange when you think about it, because a lot of home computer and console games already offered experiences of greater complexity, depth and duration than your average quarter-muncher, but still the dream persisted.
Once we got to a stage where our home gaming hardware was more than up to the job of providing an “arcade-perfect” experience, however, many people had become so accustomed to those longer, deeper experiences that the dream of “arcade games” kind of fell by the wayside for a significant proportion of the gaming audience. And consequently, I suspect a fair few people missed out on highly enjoyable cheese like Sega’s Ghost Squad.