Area 51

Area 51

As any conspiracy theorist can attest, deep in the confines of the Nevada desert lies the super-secret Area 51, a hotbed for extraterrestrial activity unlike any other in the world. Atari took arcade gamers to this mysterious locale in 1995, as a highly trained marine from STAAR (Special tactical Advanced Alien Response, of course) whose mission was to rid the base of a gaggle of unfriendly interplanetary visitors and (for good measure) their human zombie cohorts. The result was a hit in arcades around the globe. Continue reading...

Lunar Lander

Lunar Lander

A decade had passed since humans set foot on the moon, when Atari decided to give their quarter-bearing customers a whack at it. Released in 1979, Lunar Lander was a challenging, pressure-filled game that probably sucked up enough quarters to finance the real Apollo mission. Continue reading...

Pole Position

Pole Position

Since the advent of arcade games, those that offered a chance at testing your racing skills have always remained a popular attraction. In the early days, the graphics left much to be desired, as you guided your dot through a track of dots without a fellow racer to be found. This all changed in 1983, with the introduction of Namco's Pole Position. Offering state-of-the-art graphics and realistic controls, the game offered a much more realistic racing experience - and aspiring drivers lined up in droves. Continue reading...

Odyssey

Odyssey

It's strange to fathom those dark ages prior to the advent of the home video game, but civilization waited until 1972, when we were forever changed by the release of the Odyssey. We owe our thanks to a man named Ralph Baer (who would later introduce us to a beloved electronic memory game called Simon). He was the mastermind that teamed with Magnavox to change the world forever and make home gaming the preferred recreational activity of children and adults alike. Continue reading...

Paperboy

Paperboy

Space hero, cowboy, mythic warrior…all pale in comparison to Paperboy, the arcade game that allowed the player to work his own virtual paper route. It’s a game that might very well have been boring if it wasn’t for the fact that the main character wielded newspapers like lethal weapons, just perfect for launching through a glass window. Released by Atari in 1984, the game consisted of players earning points by being a good paperboy and delivering the papers safely and on target, right in front of each subscriber’s house. But not everyone was a paying customer and those houses were designated by muted colors, making them fair game for the paperboy and his deadly morning edition. The game actually awarded […] Continue reading...

Tetris

Tetris

Call it the Russian Revolution… In 1987, software company Spectrum Holobyte, Inc., released a PC game designed by Russian programmer Alexey Pazhitnov. Dubbed Tetris (from the Greek word for "four"), the game was deceptively simple: Using seven differently-shaped bricks-each made of four blocks-players tried to build complete rows at the bottom of the screen. But what might have appeared an easy task at first glance, proved to be a little more maddening once the pressure was on, which made this one addictive video game. Continue reading...

Centipede

Centipede

The male-dominated video game industry was injected with a woman’s perspective in 1980, when Dona Bailey became the first woman to help design an arcade game. Alongside the legendary Atari programmer Ed Logg, who had unleashed Asteroids on the public a year earlier, the pair created a masterpiece called Centipede, one of the first games to appeal to both men and women alike. The result was one of the most successful titles in arcade history. Continue reading...

Missile Command

Missile Command

Would you like to play a game? Back in the 80s the Cold War was still a very real threat so naturally, the whole global thermonuclear annihilation thing made a fantastic subject for arcade games. Missile Command, released by Atari in 1980, took advantage of the U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. standoff to create a virtual world where missiles were indeed flying fast and furious and only you and your quarters could save the country. Continue reading...