The Space Invaders

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 Retroist.com. 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 Amazon.com as well as from the director’s web site. Check it out and let me know what you think!

The History of SNK

I’m not sure if Neo-Geo machines got a mention in the final chapter of Arcadian or not, but I remember seeing them in arcade during my high school years.  I also remember being aware of the home console.  I never played either, but I was interested in them.  I was particularly interested in the memory card feature.  I don’t know how it actually worked, but I thought it allowed you to take the arcade game home with you.  If that’s not how it worked, it is how it should have worked.

I remained interested enough in the Neo-Geo to watch this short doc on the rise and fall of SNK.  If you were a Neo-Geo fan (or just a casual observer like me), check it out.

 

Arcade Space Ships

In Arcadian, I said that the space ship in Galaga was the best in all the arcade, and I stand by that.  The colors, the lines, and the little gun barrels at the bottom make this look like a sleek Buck Rogers or Battlestar Galactica ship.

 

This ship is so cool, it has been featured in the Day in the Extra Life series.

 

This awesome ship, though, wasn’t the only ship in the arcade.  There were several others.

The Galaxian ship.  Not nearly as sleek.  To me, it looks more like a cargo vessel.

The Pheonix ship.  Again, more cargo vessel than fighter.  But it did have the benefit of shields.

The Defender ship.  Now this one could give the Galaga ship a run for its money.

The Space Invaders ship.  This one wasn’t a ship at all, but a laser base.

The Asteroids ship.  Pretty sleek, but it fought asteroids, not alien invaders.

There were dozens of others.  I think it’s safe to say, though, that the Galaga ship was among the best, if not the best.

Preferred Playing Position

There are lots of positions to take at an arcade game.  Some guys grip the sides, other guys rest their hands on the control panel.  But this position, which I demonstrated while playing Ms. Pac-Man at the California Extreme Arcade and Pinball Show, is my favorite.

Doug playng MS Pac-Man

As you can see, I’m not only hanging my left hand off the top of the cabinet, but I’m also crossing my ankles.  Admittedly, there are only a few games you can play in this way: the Pac-Mans, Frogger, Q*Bert, and any other game that doesn’t require two hands.  Still, it is my preferred position, and I’ll jump at any chance to assume it.

California Extreme Arcade and Pinball Show

This just came to my attention.  Next week, there will be an arcade and pinball show in Santa Clara.  An extreme arcade and pinball show.  It costs $40 to get in, but the games are all set to free play.  I found out about this too late to get in on the preregistration, but I’m still going.

Here’s a list of the game they plan on having:

720 Degrees
Accelerator
Akka Arrh (Atari prototype)
Aliens Extermination
A.P.B. 
Arkanoid
Arm Wrestling
Armor Attack
Asteroids (w/Asteroids Deluxe & Lunar Lander multikit)
Asteroids Deluxe
Astro Fighter (ct)
Area 51/Maximum Force duo
Arcade Classics (prototype w/Missile Command II and Super Centipede)
Atari Football (X’s and O’s)
Ataxx
Bandido
Barrier
Battlezone
Battlezone (mini)
Beatmania IIDX 18: Resort Anthem
Beatmania III
Beavis & Butthead (Atari prototype)
Berzerk
Black Widow
Blaster
Blasteroids
Blue Print (mini)
Boot Hill
Bounty Hunter (Atari prototype)
Bosconian (mini)
Boxing Bugs
Boulder Dash (Exidy Max Flex)
Bubbles
Bump’n’Jump
Burger Time
Burger Time (DECO multigame)
Centipede
Centipede (mini)
Championship Sprint
Chase H.Q.
Circus Charlie
Cloak & Dagger 
Cobra Command
Crash ‘N Score
Crazy Climber
Crystal Castles
Cyberstorm
Dance Dance Revolution
Dark Silhouette: Silent Scope 2
Defender
Die Alien Scum
Dig Dug
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong (cocktail)
Donkey Kong II: Jumpman Returns
Donkey Kong, Junior
Donkey Kong 3
Dragon’s Lair
Dragon’s Lair II
Electric Yo-Yo
Elevator Action 
Eliminator (4 player)
Empire Strikes Back
Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters
Fast Freddie
Fighting Vipers
Firebeast
Firefox
Fishin’ Frenzy
Food Fight
Forgotten Worlds
Frogger
Frenzy
Front Line 
Fun Four (cocktail)
Galaga 88
Galaxian (cocktail)
Gaplus (Galaga 3)
Gauntlet Legends
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Global VR Paradise Lost (prototype)
Gorf
Gorf (cabaret)
Gravitar
Gyruss
Hard Drivin’
Hard Drivin’ Airborne
Hit Me
House of the Dead 2
Hyper Sports
I, Robot
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Inferno
Journey
Joust
Joust (cocktail)
Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest
Jungle King
Kangaroo
Kicker
KLAX
Kung-Fu Master
Lethal Enforcers
Liberator
Lunar Lander
Mad Planets
Major Havoc (Space Duel conversion)
Mambo a Go Go
Marble Madness
Marble Man (Marble Madness II)
Mario Bros. 
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
Millipede (w/multikit)
Millipede (cocktail)
Minefield
Missile Command (cabaret)
Missile Command
Missile Command 2 (Atari prototype)
Moon Cresta
Moonquake
Mouse Trap 
Motor Run (Atari prototype)
Ms. PacMan 
Ms. PacMan (mini)
Mr. Driller 2
NARC
NFL Blitz 2000
Nightmare (Atari prototype)
Omega Race (mini)
Outrun
PacMan (w/multikit)
Pacmania
Panic Park
Paperboy
Pengo
Pepper II
Peter Packrat
Phoenix
Pole Position
Pole Position II (cockpit)
Pong
Pooyan
P.O.W. Prisoners of War
Primal Rage
Prop Cycle
Punch Out!!
Puzz Loop
Qbert 
Qix
Quantum
Rampart
Reactor
Rebound
Relief Pitcher (Atari System 1 prototype)
Rescue
Road Runner
Robotron: 2084
Rush 2049 Tournament Edition (X 4 linked)
Satan’s Hollow
Silver Strike Bowling
Sinistar
Slick Shot
Smokey Joe
Solar Quest
Solar Fox
Space Ace 1991
Space Duel
Space Dungeon
Space Harrier
Space Invaders Deluxe
Space Race
Space Wars
SparkZ
Speed Freak
Sprint 1 (LeMans prototype cabinet)
Sprint 8 
Spy Hunter
Spy Hunter (cockpit)
Stargate
Star Castle
Star Castle (cocktail)
Star Trek
Star Wars (upright)
Star Wars (cockpit)
Street Fighter
Street Fighter II Championship Edition
Street Fighter EX
Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting
Stunt Cycle
Sunset Riders
Super Don Quixote
Super Hang On
Superman
Super Mario Bros.
Super Missile Attack
Super Punch-Out!!
Super Sprint
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Tail Gunner II (cockpit)
Tank 8 (The big one!)
Tapper
Targ
Teeter Torture (Exidy prototype)
Tempest
Tempest Tubes (mini)
Terminator II Judgment Day
Terminator Salvation
Tetris (cocktail)
The Act
The Grid (X 6 linked)
Timber
Time Soldiers
Time Killers
Time Pilot (Atari prototype cabinet)
Time Traveler
Toki
Toobin’
Tournament Cyberball 2072
Track and Field
Tron
Turbo Out Run
Tutankham
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Venture
Video Pinball
Vindicators
Vs. Golf
Vs. The Goonies
Wacko
Warlords (upright)
Warlords (cocktail)
Warp Warp
Warrior
Wild Western
Willow
Wizard of Wor
Xevious
Zookeeper

PinBall
4 Square
AC/DC
Addams Family (controlled by pedal power)
Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Friends
Alice in Wonderland
Alien Poker
Amigo
Apollo
Apollo 13
Attack from Mars
Balls-A-Poppin
Bank-a-Ball (wedgehead)
Bank-a-Ball (woodrail)
Banzai Run
Barracora
Big Bang Bar (original)
Big Valley
Black Hole
Black Knight
Black Knight 2000 
Black Pyramid
Black Rose
Bounty (1938)
Bronco
Cactus Canyon
Captain Card
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Centaur
Cirqus Voltaire
Cleopatra
Comet
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Cybernaut
Demolition Man
Dimension
Disco ’79 (cocktail pin)
Dodge City
Doodle Bug
Dr. Dude
Doctor Who
Earthshaker
Eight Ball Champ
Eight Ball Deluxe
El Toro
Excalibur
F-14 Tomcat
Fast Draw
Fathom
Fireball
Fireball 2
Firepower
Fish Tales
Flash Gordon
Flip-a-Card
Flip Flop
Foxy Lady
Freedom (Bally SS)
FunHouse
Galaxy
Happy Clown
Harlem Globetrotters
Harley-Davidson (Early Stern)
Haunted House
High Speed
Hyperball
Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure
Jack-Bot
Jack in the Box
Jolly Jokers
Jolly Park
Jungle Lord
Jurassic Park
Kingpin
King of Diamonds
King Tut
Kings of Steel
Laser Cue
Lethal Weapon 3
Loop the Loop
Lucky Hand
Mata Hari
Medieval Madness
Medusa
Melody
Meteor
Mini Pool
Monopoly
No Good Gofers
Orbitor 1
Pat Hand
Paul Bunyan
Phantom of the Opera
Pinball Magic
Pinball Pool
Pinbot
Pirates of the Carribean
Police Force
Pop-A-Card
Revenge from Mars
Rapid Fire
Ripley’s Believe It or Not
RollerCoaster Tycoon
Rollergames
Sally
Scared Stiff
Silverball Mania
Simpsons Pinball Party
Sing Along
Sky Jump
SlugFest
Solar Ride
South Park
Space Ship
Space Shuttle
Spectrum
Spy Hunter
St. Louis
Starship Troopers
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trip
Star Wars: Episode 1
Strange World
Super-Flite
Superman
Super Mario Brothers
Sure Shot
Surf’n’Safari
Swords of Fury
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Target Gallery
Taxi
Teacher’s Pet
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Getaway: High Speed II
The Machine: Bride of Pinbot
Time Machine
Totem
Transformers Limited Edition Combo
Transporter the Rescue
Triple Action
Twilight Zone
Vector
Whirlwind
Whirlwind (w/ industrial fan)
Whitewater
Wild Fyre
Wizard!
World Cup Soccer
X-Files
X Men (3 of them!)
Xenon

Other

Billy Bowl
Birkball (fun, new, and very unique!)
Block-a-Shot
Championship Fast Draw (mech)
Chicago Coin Champion Rifle Range
Criss Cross Pop-Up
Cosmo Gang
Fascination
Grip Tester (Gottlieb)
Penny Pitch
Sea Raider
Shoot the Bear
Shuffleboard
Strikes & Spares
The Main Event
World Series Pitch and Bat
Zeke’s Peak

There will also be speakers and a couple of other events.  I will be there.  If you will, too, let me know.  We can challenge each other to a game of Donkey Kong.

Home

Retroist Q*Bert Podcast

I always love the Retroist’s podcasts, but I especially love his video game podcasts.  He outdid himself today with a podcast on one of the games I cover in Arcadian, the classic arcade game Q*Bert.

Check out the podcast at http://www.retroist.com/2012/07/20/retroist-podcast-episode-117-qbert/or listen to it below.

http://ia700800.us.archive.org/8/items/RetroistPodcastEpisode117qbert/Retroist-117-Qbert.mp3

Damsels In Distress

In a part I cut out of the revised ANESthetized, I wondered why heroes in Nintendo games were always rescuing their girlfriends.  Not every game followed this conceit, of course, even when the heroes were rescuing girls.  Princess Toadstool was not Mario’s girlfriend as far as I know, nor was Zelda Link’s girlfriend.  But lots of games did.  Here are a few of the many games in which the heroes had to rescue their girlfriends:

 

Kung Fu – Thomas saves Sylvia

 

River City Ransom – Alex saves Cyndi

Double Dragon – Billy and Jimmy save Miriam

Adventures of Lolo – Lolo saves Lala

These are just a few of the hero-saves-girlfriend games that came to mind.  And I really don’t have any problem with this conceit.  I do have to wonder, though, why nobody in Nintendo-land was ever married.  Why weren’t they ever saving their wives?

Game Park – A Different Way to Play

You’ve heard of the Game Boy, the revolutionary hand-held that made Nintendo portable.  But have you ever heard of the Game Park, the Korean hand-held that makes actual NES games (not just NES-like games) portable?  Now you have.  Check out my quick review of the Game Park and explanation of how it fulfills a childhood dream.

 

Coleco Mini Arcade

As soon as I saw my first arcade game, there was one thing I wanted to do: take it home.  I wanted to have my own arcade game so that I could play for free as much as I wanted without people looking over my shoulder.  Okay, I also wanted to have my own arcade game so I could be like Ricky Schroder in Silver Spoons.  There was no way I was going to get one.  I knew that.  But I could get one of the Coleco Mini Arcade games.

Coleco Mini Arcade games were tiny arcade cabinets featuring conversion of the best video games around: Pac-ManDonkey KongFroggerGalaga, and many more.  They weren’t perfect copies, of course.  They were LED conversions.  But to my grade-school eyes, they were close enough.

Donkey Kong
Pac-Man

Today, these seem like poor alternatives to arcade games.  The graphics aren’t right and the joysticks are just too tiny.  But I thought they were a great home option back in the day, and maybe it is just the quasi-arcade cabinet design, but they still have a lot of charm.