Tuesday, May 11, 2010

10 Forgotten Arcade Games I Still Love

Crazy Climber
A simple game. You climb a building, moving from side to side as you climb because windows are closing and if one of them closes on your fingers, you fall. Crazy Climber was never actually a popular game, but it was something different from the more traditional shooting and maze games popular at the time. I enjoyed it.

One of the cool things I remember about this game was that the controller was actually built to the size and shape of a crossbow. Your goal was to shoot at anything on the screen that could kill a group of adventurers who wandered from one end of the screen to the other. Sounds simple. It's not. Especially after you've gotten past the first few levels.

Elevator Action
Probably my favorite game listed here. In Elevator Action, you play a spy who is working his way from the top of a building down to the car garage in the basement. Along the way, enemy spies will try to shoot you. And you have to avoid falling down elevator shafts or being squished by an elevator from above. By today's standards, Elevator Action wouldn't have the best graphics, but it's as much fun as many a game I've played on my Playstation 2.

Does anyone remember this game besides me? Seems not, or at least when I name it, no one call recall it. But when I was a teen, I used to play this game all the time at the convenience store up the street from my house. It's a basic melee combat combat game. You're a gladiator who has to traverse through tunnels and buildings, facing off with different enemies, some who were quite tough. One of the cool things about Gladiator was that your armor and shield and sword could be broken by the enemies, and you could do the same to them. Pieces of your armor would fly off when you received a solid hit, and your shield would get small and smaller as your foes whittled away at it. Even your sword could eventually be broken.

Four games in one! That's right! The spaceship you controlled had to go through four different waves of action to clear a level, and one of those waves looked an awful lot like Space Invaders while another looked like Galaxian. Gorf didn't have quite as good graphics as those other games, but it had a quirky sound that was interesting. I'd play it right now if it was here in front of me.

Heavy Barrel
This was a pretty standard shoot-em-up game, similar to plenty of others out at the same time in the mid-80s. You play a soldier rushing up a field while taking on enemies. Simple enough. But you could use different kinds of weapons from your standard rifle to grenades to a bazooka. And it was great fun watching the enemy fighters get blown away.

This game was originally supposed to be the first sequel to the hit that was Pac-Man, but anyone who plays this game even once realizes it has next to nothing to do with Pac-Man, other than that the little yellow guy appears in the game. In Kick-Man (also called Kick), you play a clown riding a unicycle. Your job is to catch balloons on your head before they can hit the ground, pop and you lose a man. Sound goofy? It kind of was, but that wasn't unusual for a lot of the games of the time. And Kick-Man was addictively fun.

One of the more odd games in the arcade, but it was always a favorite of mine. Basically, you have to draw a bunch of square in an open space, but only up to a certain percentage of the screen. And you had to make sure your drawing tool on the screen wasn't killed. Sounds weird. It kind of was. But it kept me entertained.

Sea Wolf
This is without a doubt the oldest game listed here, going all the way back to 1976. Yikes! Did they even have video games back then? Yep, they did, but they were few and far between at that point. This was one of the earliest to make it to the arcades, and I remember being a little kid and standing on the tips of my toes to look through the periscope viewer to shoot the enemy ships. Not a game with fast action, but it was pretty decent for its day and age.

After Elevator Action, this is my next favorite game on this list. You're a lumberjack. You have to cut down a certain number of trees before your boss blows his whistle at the end of the work shift. And you have to avoid bears throwing bee hives at you. Another simple, goofy game, but one I love to this day.

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