Williams Electronics Defender
It’s all about the smart bomb! Side-scroller Defender was hard and fast, and with five buttons to master seemed way ahead of its time. Having more buttons like fire, thrust, smart-bomb and hyperspace seemed like heady days in the time of Space Invaders. Here you couldn't see what the aliens were up to unless you flew past them. Being a spaceship has always appealed to me, but until the arrival of Iain M Banks' Culture novels, never more than this.
Want to feel like you're training for some secret alien-killing military mission? I spent a couple of hours recently playing this on a friend’s iPad and it brought me right back to the original's strange perspective and wireframe weirdness. Surrounded by a landscape of pyramids and cubes you battle with opposing tanks, missiles and sometimes even flying saucers. With it’s periscope viewer this game was a novelty at the arcade, and used Asteroids-style vector graphics to draw it’s distinctive visuals.
Next page: Atari Star Wars
Space Harrier FTW. The sheer *speed* that all the scenery came up at you was mindblowing, even before you reckoned on the scenery being 50-foot-high multicoloured metallic mushrooms. Afterburner was fun, but nothing like as good as Space Harrier.
But the list misses out Pitfighter. OK, it doesn't have the special moves of other games, but it replaced those with being realistic, and with moving at the speed of a real fight. Street Fighter, you could hang back and fire stuff. With Pitfighter, hanging back just got you kicked to death.
The list also misses out Hard Drivin'. Fully 3D graphics, a steering wheel which pulled against you when you do stuff, a manual box with 4 gears, and tracks where it wasn't just about going flat out with briefly dropping to low gear. And you got a stunt track with a broken-bridge jump, a loop-the-loop, and various other goodness. Outrun was cool and fun, but Hard Drivin' was *THE* first realistic driving game, the daddy of every current rally/F1 sim.
People around my age (43) just timed it right for video games, and home computers for that matter. I still remember my friends describing Space Invaders to me, after they discovered it at the local baths: "It's like pinball! All these monsters.. you shoot them its like pinball!". They were in a frenzy about it.
Pinball's not dead, the real machines are still around - aren't they ?
Only 10? And no Strider or R-Type?
Tcchh - I'm not coming to your video arcade. Hardly worth getting my change from the grumpy git in the glass box for...
I remember playing GORF some years before Gauntlet. I was drawn to its ominous cabinet by the hypnotic "INSUURT COYNE" digitised speech. Cost me a bleedin' fortune, it did!