Sunday, February 27, 2011

Game of the Week: Rampage for arcade

By 1986, most video game fanatics thought they had seen it all. You had your maze games, your shooting games, your sports games, and everything in between.

Then the company Bally Midway put out a game about monsters tearing apart cities. The title? Rampage.

In Rampage, the player controlled one of three monsters, either a giant lizard, a giant ape or a giant wolfman. Your goals were simple. You roamed around a town and climbed buildings to tear those buildings apart. Of course those pesky little humans were there to try and stop you, which they would attempt by throwing dynamite at you or shooting you with their tiny little guns or sometimes a big tank. There were a few other dangers, as well, such as you could accidentally electrocute yourself if you grabbed a power line within one of the buildings, and sometimes if you ate something it might not be good for you.

Oh, yeah, speaking of eating ... you got to eat people, too. While climbing a tall building, you could bash a hole in a wall and reach in and pull out some poor bastard to munch away on.

All for only 25 cents.

Yes, long before the likes of today's violent video games in which you could work out your own personal frustrations (I'm looking at you, Grand Theft Auto), there was Rampage.

And coming out relatively late during the early days of video games, Rampage had solid graphics for the time, as well as good sound and decent gameplay.

My only complaint was that I felt the games didn't last long enough. See, once your giant monster took too much damage, the monster would revert into a small, helpless human and then would slink away off the screen. Still, for 25 cents, what can you expect?

Rampage 2: Universal TourRampage has proven to be a popular franchise ever since its release. Not only has it been made available on nearly every home video game system and computer system and handheld gaming system known to mankind, but there have been several sequel games, some for the arcades and others for computers and home gaming systems. A couple of the more popular sequels have been Rampage World Tour and Rampage Through Time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

10 sites for retro video game fans

The Video Game Critic
This website has been around for more than a decade now. It's a pretty basic site, but there's lots of information. Most of that information involves reviews of classic video games, though there is a growing list of reviews of more modern games. Also included are screen shots of each game reviewed, and that can be quite helpful in jarring the old memory. One great thing is these reviews are not by just one person, but by many people, and you might want to become a member of the site so you can post your own reviews.

Tomorrow's Heroes

Looming large since 1997, Tomorrow's Heroes is one of the oldest sites on the Web pertaining to classic video games. There is a lot of information here, and retro fans could spend hours pouring over all of it. You'll find a lot of information about the old Atari systems and games, but there's also a lot about the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). There's even quite a bit about comic books and poker. And there are links to where you can buy some of your favorite classic games.

Classic Video Gamers

This blog has been around for a little more than a year now. It's purpose? Each week it spotlights a different retro game. Some weeks the game of the week will be an arcade classic, another week it'll be a Super Nintendo game, or an Intellivision game, or an Atari game, etc. The list goes on. Also, sometimes there will be other articles related to gaming, and there is a growing list of retro video game links.

Label Maker 2600

A fun site! Remember the labels on the older Atari 2600 video game cartridges? Well now you can create your own labels. You get to insert your own art and your own text, and then the site will digitally on screen create the label for you. You can then save the labels, even print them out if you want.

Classic Gaming Expo

Despite the fact our favorite retro games are getting along in years, there is still a huge fan base for these games. How big a fan base? Big enough that for more than a decade now there has been an exp just for our favorite classic games. There are always lots of arcade games, set-ups with console play, live music, food, and much more. Also, there are usually a few people available who worked in the gaming industry back in the day.

Intellivision Lives

Are you a fan of the Intellivision gaming system from Mattel? If so, this is the official website for Intellivision Productions. Not only can you find out lots of cool info about classic Intellivision games, but you can also find out how to play those games on modern gaming systems, handheld, consoles and even on the iPad. Check it out!

Odyssey2 and Videopac

Or maybe you have fond memories of playing the Odyssey2 from Magnavox back in the day. For those outside the U.S., the Odyssey2 was generally called the Videopac. On this site, you can join up to take part in forums about this classic gaming console, and you can learn about the system and its awesome game.


The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time. So if you have great memories of the NES you'll probably want to check out this site, which hosts legal emulator games for the NES. Lots of classic games are here.

Who could forget the Atari 2600, the gaming system that launched a whole fad, or at least brought it to popularity. But there's more than just information about the Atari 2600 here. There's tons of info and links for just about every classic gaming console. There's also an online store for buying retro games and gear.

Colecovision Zone

Ah, the Colecovision. What would be a retro gaming list without mention of the classic Colecovision. This particular site has tons of info about the Colecovision, games for the system, links, etc. Enjoy!

Video game links
20 Classic Arcade Games from the Early 80s
10 Classic games for Intellivision
10 Classic games for Atari 2600

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Game of the Week: Space Hawk for Intellivision

Intellivision Space HawkSpace Hawk for the Intellivision home video game system was kind of an oddity. In many ways it was like the popular Atari arcade game Asteroids, at least in that you're floating around in space while shooting at comets and meteors and alien spaceships flying by. But Space Hawk was unique in that the player didn't control a spaceship, but instead controlled a spaceman in a suit with a jetpack on his back. This might appear like a minor difference, but back in the early days of video games, it seemed like a major change.

Another thing about Space Hawk was that you could teleport your character around when he got into trouble.

The graphics for this game were somewhat simple, but they were typical Intellivision graphics, which meant they were pretty strong when this game was released in 1981. Atari might have been king of the home video games back in the early 1980s, but there's little argument the Intellivision system generally had better graphics.

The sound was somewhat bland, but the gameplay was excellent and quite exciting.

There was one problem within the game, however, and that was that at random times your character might be teleported to another spot in space. It didn't happen often, but it happened just enough to be confusing and somewhat annoying when it did happen. Actually, according to the website Intellivision Lives, this teleporting problem was a technical flaw with the controllers that could not be fixed. So, after looking into the game's code and realizing the teleport problem couldn't be fixed, an addition was printed in the game's instruction manual basically saying that this random teleportation was intentionally part of the game. Genius!

Anyway, Space Hawk was a fantastic game and the Intellvision was an awesome system.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Game of the Week: Donkey Kong for Atari 2600

Donkey Kong (Atari 2600)In the early 1980s, it seemed every company was making it big in the arcade business. Nintendo wanted to do the same thing, and how did they do it? They released on the market a game known as Donkey Kong.

Immediately Donkey Kong was a smash hit. It was the first popular platform game, meaning a game with jumping and climbing, and it included plenty of lovable and/or interesting characters.

Of course fans of video games wanted to be able to play Donkey Kong at home, and since the Atari 2600 was the most popular home video game system, it was a natural that Donkey Kong would eventually find it's way to the system.

Coleco was the company who gained the rights to release home game versions of Donkey Kong, and they wasted no time putting out a version of the game for the Atari 2600.

Unfortunately, some gaming lovers were less than impressed. The graphics for the Atari version weren't nearly as good as those of the arcade game, and there were only two different screens as compared to the four in the arcade game. Fans weren't completely disgusted, as they would be with the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man, and fortunately most of them realized the at-home systems of the day were quite limited compared to the arcade games.

Personally, I think Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600 is a pretty solid game in its own right, and it's held up decently over the decades. Sure, it's not the same as the arcade Donkey Kong, but it doesn't have the worst graphics I've seen for a 2600 game and it does have pretty good sound and excellent gameplay.

If you're a collection of retro video games, you deserve to have an Atari 2600. And if you have an Atari 2600, you've got to own a copy of Donkey Kong by Coleco. Why? Because it's a classic game on a classic system.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Game of the Week: Frogger for Atari 2600

Frogger (Atari 2600)Back during the gold age of video games, mainly the early 1980s, one fantasy of all fans was to have the home version of a video game be as close as possible to the arcade version of the game. This rarely happened, though some games were better than others.

Also, the Atari 2600, the best seller of all the home video games systems back then, didn't offer the strongest graphics in the world. This made it even more difficult for fans to get a home version of a game that was equal to the arcade version.

There are even legends of horror about games for the Atari 2600 that were so little like their arcade cousins. The most famous culprit in this mess was the Atari version of Pac-Man, which many fans hated because it was nothing like the arcade Pac-Man.

But every once in a while there was an Atari 2600 version of a game that was quite like the arcade version. Such a game was Frogger, the cartridge released by Parker Brothers for the Atari 2600.

Frogger for the 2600 had pretty good graphics, though admittedly those graphics were not as strong as the original arcade graphics. But the sounds for the Atari version were quite impressive, and on par with the arcade Frogger.

Most importantly, the gameplay for the Atari version of Frogger was downright dead-on that of the arcade game. And that arcade experience was what many gamers wanted at home back in the day.

Was the Atari home version of Frogger perfect? No, but then few Atari 2600 games ever were, mainly because of generally sub-par graphics. But one has to keep in mind the technology level of the time, and the Atari had a lot going for it in terms of the number of games available for it and often in gameplay.

All these years later, Frogger for the Atari 2600 still stands up well, and it is a common game owned by collectors and fans of the gaming system and the game itself.