Archive for the ‘Arcadian’ Category


Game Pro TV

February 18, 2014

I’m finalizing my latest book, TV In My Time. It is about all the TV I watched in the 80s. As I was finalizing it, I remembered a show that times into my video game books: Game Pro TV.

Actually a show from the early 90s, Game Pro TV featured J.D. Roth (who would appear in a host of other youth-oriented shows) and Bren-nan (a Bill and Ted clone) talking about video games. The only clear memories of this show is a preview of Act Raiser for SNES and a clip that ran that was submitted by a viewer. This viewed explained that if you left one creature alive on any board of The Legend Of Zelda, the creatures would not be respawned. So if you left one creature on each board, you would easily be able to navigate Hyrule. I thought it was a lame tip, especially considering that The Legend of Zelda was an old game by that time. Still, I liked the show and am glad I remembered it.


Dragon’s Lair on Android

January 21, 2014

My wife has become addicted to Candy Crush on her Kindle Fire. Seeing her indulging her addiction made me wonder if I should look for a game to play on my Kindle Fire. I don’t game much on the Kindle as I don’t find the controls that accessible (I have the Atari collection, for example, but I can’t really do any serious gaming on it because the controls are so unwieldy). Still, I decided to look and I found something I’ve always wanted: Dragon’s Lair.


I have always wanted a home version of Dragon’s Lair. I’ve wanted it for a couple of reasons. One is that I like the game. The other is that I’m no good at it and I need a home version that doesn’t require quarters so I can learn to last more than five seconds. I’ve never been able to find this home version. Even the PC versions I bought didn’t work. I think this was because they were always a system behind whatever system I was using and I was no good at hacking them. But that is now moot, because the Android Dragon’s Lair is the port I have been waiting for. It is even better, actually. Not only does the Dragon’s Lair app have the arcade version, an exact translation of what you found in the arcade, but it also has a home version, which includes deleted scenes.


I was quite pleased with those options. I was also quite pleased with the controls. Dragon’s Lair doesn’t really require aggressive controlling, so controlling wasn’t a problem. I got much further through the game my first time through than I ever did in the arcade. It looks pretty good as well.



Now this Dragon’s Lair will put a hurting on your Kindle storage. After it originally installed, it had to download additional data, and I think that data was 5 gig, more than half my 8 gig Fire HD. That aside, it is the best version of the game I have personally had, and I’m quite happy with it. You can get it for a reasonable $4.99 in the Kindle App store. There is also a Space Ace app as well. I did not see Dragon’s Lair 2, but hopefully that will be coming soon. Until it does, I highly recommend the original.


And don’t forget to check out my book Arcadian, which describes my original experiences with Dragon’s Lair in the arcades!


High Scores Interactive Arcade Museum

July 27, 2013

I recently learned about High Scores arcade in Alameda, CA from the No Quarter podcast and headed out today to spend some time there. I really loved it. You can read my full thoughts at, but here are some pics.








One thing I didn’t mention at is that they must have the games set to “easy”, because I did a lot better at all the games today than I normally do!


The Space Invaders

July 14, 2013

I couldn’t make it to this year’s California Extreme arcade game convention, and I’m super bummed about it, not just because I missed a chance to play some great retro games, but also because I just learned about a great documentary that was shown there. That documentary is called The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time.

I haven’t gotten to watch this documentary yet, but I will later this week and will write a review on I can tell from this trailer, though, that I’m going to love it.

If you want to beat me to it, you can get The Space Invaders from both as well as from the director’s web site. Check it out and let me know what you think!


Sword of Pixels Blog

July 6, 2013

Just got word of a new blog started by a fellow named Joe. The blog is called Sword of Pixels and it starts off with a review of Arcadian. A good review of Arcadian! You can find the review here. Thanks to Joe and good wishes for the blog!


Space Invaders, Galaxian, and Galaga ships

May 10, 2013

There must be a lot of people out there looking into retro arcade space fighters, because “Galaga ship” is the number one search that brings folks to That being the case, I wanted to add a couple better pics of the Galaga ship and a few others. I hope these are better, anyway. In either case, I grabbed them myself and tried to resize them without losing two much quality.
Space Invaders
First is the Space Invaders laser base (yeah, it’s a laser base, not a ship). Again, I grabbed this one myself. For some reason, it is solid. The horizontal lines that a visible in the other pic I posted aren’t visible in this one. I don’t know why.
Next is the Galaxian ship. Again, not my favorite. It still looks more like a freighter than a fighter to me.
And finally is the Galaga ship. I still contend that this is the best looking space fighter in the arcade. It is even better looking than a lot I’ve seen on film.

So those are the best pics of these ships I can get. If anybody finds any better ones, let me know!


How To Win At Donkey Kong

May 8, 2013

I always get all my video game playing tips from the editors of Consumer Guide. That’s why I was so excited to get their book called How To Win At Donkey Kong, another video game pdf I recently found.
This short book (really more like a pamphlet) gives us an introduction to the characters, patterns for each board, ideas for finesse, and ways you can grandstand. I found it pretty helpful mostly because of the patterns. There were some other things in it, though, that were interesting. It covered the pattern of the “Springese” on the elevator board. I had never heard of that until Steve Wiebe mentioned in in King of Kong. It also mentioned that Mario can be killed while using the hammer, something I talked about in Arcadian.
There were some oddities about the book as well. It listed several alternate names for Donkey Kong, such as “King Kong” and “Chimp Face”. I wasn’t sure where those names came from. It also said the blue things on the girder board are “beams”. I always thought they were just blue barrels.
Those oddities aside, this book was a fun read (yet another example of my “portable nostalgia”), particularly because the authors seemed to have the same goal I had: getting to the next board. The book seems to be geared not towards score but to advancement, which is always what I played for. Maybe with the patterns this book gives, I finally can get to the cement factory!


How To Beat Video Games

May 7, 2013

In addition to all the great ebooks I got with my Christmas money (and that I’m still working through), I also found some old video game book pdfs. Among them was this title: How To Beat Video Games by Michael Blanchet.
This is one that I may or may not have had as a kid. I know I had a similar book to this one, and I know it covered Qik, but that’s all I have in my memory banks to go on, so I’m not sure if this is the same one or not. It starts with some general tips about arcade gaming that I would have taken seriously as a kid (check the joystick action, ground yourself from static electricity, etc) but just blow off now. And it gives general tips on how to play all the games listed on the title. It even has some diagrams of boards and moves.
Books like this aren’t that helpful to me today. Since I don’t play for a high score (and never did, as I explained in Arcadian), I don’t pay attention to scoring strategies. But the real value of the book isn’t in the tips or strategies. The real value is in the nostalgia, or, since I have it on my Kindle Fire, the “portable nostalgia”, the ability to give me just a quick taste of some of the good things of my childhood. This book serves that purpose just fine.


Podcasts Worth Catching

March 10, 2013

I’m a big podcast listener.  For the past several years, most of the podcasts I subscribe to have been movie-oriented.  But there are several good retro gaming or retro gaming-related podcasts out there that are worth a listen, a couple of which I’ve just found in the past couple of weeks.


The Retroist, of course, is one of my favorite podcasts, and has been for years.  I am on his latest issues talking about arcade memories with several friends.

You Don’t Know Flack covers all sorts of retro tech.  I sponsored his NES episode, so I knew he was going to mention ANESthetized.  But he also defended Arcadian against a bad review.  Thanks Flack!

No Quarter: classic arcade game podcast

The No Quarter podcast covers a different retro arcade game every week.  They also mentioned me on their latest episode (Amidar) and likewise defended Arcadian.  Much thanks to them as well.

Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast

And my latest discovery is the 2600 Game By Game podcast.  Ferg plans on covering all 600 (?) plus Atari 2600 games.  He hasn’t been going long, but I like what he’s done so far.


Just What Are The Galaxian/Galaga Invaders Anyway?

February 25, 2013

I’ve book looking at the cartridge art for various Atari versions of Galaxian, and it’s got me confused about the nature of the alien invaders from that game.  I always assumed they were giant insect-like creatures who could survive in the void of space.  Some Atari art, though, suggest that they are insect-like ships piloted by regular-sized humanoid creatures, while still other Atari art suggests that they are something else.

Now the authoritative answer to this question should come from the cabinet art, as the cabinet is the progenitor of the home console games.  Unfortunately, the cabinet art is ambiguous.  We get a close-up of the invader, but to me it looks like it has both biological and mechanical parts, so it doesn’t answer the question either way.

The Galaga cabinet art should also be considered here, as Galaga is a sequel to Galaxian.  But while the invaders here certainly look more vessel than creature, I still think the case could be made either way.

From there, we go to the Atari art, and that’s where things really get crazy.  First, we get this image from the Atari 2600 version.  Here, the invaders are clearly portrayed as insect-shaped ships with the pilots in the cockpit “eyes”.

When we go to the 7800′s version of Galaga, we find a very similar depiction.

When we go to the 5200 version of Galaxian, though, we find the invaders depicted like Valkyries or some other winged humanoids.

And if we throw in other versions, things get even more confusing.

So what are the Galaxian/Galaga invaders?  I just don’t know.  All I know is that I like to shoot them.


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