Monday, August 29, 2011

Game of the week: Space Invaders for Atari 5200

When the Atari 5200 home video game console was released in 1982, the Atari corporation was hoping their new system would be just as popular as their classic Atari 2600 system had been. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The Atari 5200 was never that popular of a console with game fans, which was unfortunate because the system had decent graphics for the time period and a good number of great games.

One of those great games was the Atari 5200's version of the arcade classic game Space Invaders.

By the time 1982 rolled around, Space Invaders had been in the public eye for quite a while. Plenty of new games, and better technology, had come along. So what could Atari do to spruce up this arcade classic?

Well, most notably, lots of color was added. The attacking aliens come in a variety of different colors, and even the space shields that protect the player's gun at the bottom of the screen come in varying bright colors. But colors are nothing special, right?

Okay, so you want more changes. How about fast shooting? Or maybe even missiles you can guide? Those are just a couple of the changes that were possible in the many different skill levels and variety of play the Atari 5200 offered for its version of Space Invaders. There were many other possible ways to play as well.

The action here was quite a bit faster than the arcade and other versions of Space Invaders, so gamers had to be on their toes to rack up a high score. The sound, too, is superb and quite eerie in that the sound of the approaching aliens grows louder and louder as they near the bottom of the screen.

All in all, it's still Space Invaders, just with a touch of panache. If you you own or want to own an old Atari 5200, do yourself a favor and get the classic that is Space Invaders. It's still fun to play all these decades later, and it's a proper addition for any serious retro gamer's collection.

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