Sunday, April 10, 2011

Game of the Week: Space Invaders for Atari 2600

Has any video game ever been more played, more emulated or more ported than Space Invaders? Maybe Pac-Man, but I'd say it's a close call.

More than perhaps any other video game, it was Space Invaders that truly kicked off the gaming craze in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There have been sequels of the game, pinball games, all kinds of apps and ports, online versions ... you name a computer, gaming system, cell phone, just about any modern type of technology, and there's probably a version of Space Invaders made for it.

But all that got started back in 1980 when Atari released its ported version of Space Invaders for the Atari 2600 home video game system, the king of home gaming systems at the time and for several years to come.

Space Invaders (Atari 2600)The Atari 2600 has been lambasted often because of lousy graphics, but here it works just fine. What can you expect, however, since Space Invaders is a pretty simple game graphically? The gameplay, too, was pretty much the same as the arcade version, and the sound isn't that different.

Some fans of retro games even find the 2600 version of Space Invaders better than the arcade version. How is that possible? Well, this Atari game had color, which Space Invaders initially did not have in the arcades. Also, the Atari version offered 112 different versions of Space Invaders, including movie shields, different-sized shields and much more, though admittedly it was still basically just Space Invaders.

Perhaps most importantly, the Atari 2600 Space Invaders game is historic for video games. Did you know it was the very first official home port of an arcade game? It's true. Also, the Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders has been called the first killer app video game.

So, not only was the arcade game Space Invaders groundbreaking, but so was the Atari 2600 version. And most importantly, both versions of the classic game provided years of fond memories for kids growing up in the early 1980s.

And is still fun to play today.

1 comment:

  1. Good times in 2600.
    Congratulations on the blog.
    A good week for you!