Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #50: Arcade Flashback

Thirteen Video Games That I Played As A Kid

Before adulthood and it side effects (bills, bills, and more bills) set in, one of my main concerns was making sure I stretched my allowance until I got paid again by Mom Inc. A good part of that coinage went towards video games and thus helped to put the kids of Midway's employees through college. Below, in alphabetical order, are 13 video arcade games that I played back in the 1980s. Dig those state-of-the-art, cutting edge graphics in the screenshots below!

Feel free to talk about your favorite video game(s) in the comments section.

1. Asteroids- Because I sucked at this game, I didn't play it as much as some of the others.

2. Berzerk- Who wouldn't want to be a humanoid with the ability to blow robots to smithereens? Until I went to Wikipedia, I had forgotten all about the main nemesis of Berzerk... the bouncing smiley face known as Evil Otto.

3. Centipede- Whenever I think of this game, I am reminded of Michael Jackson's older sister Rebbie's hit of the same name (even though the song has nothing to do with the video game).

4. Donkey Kong- I never quite got the mastery of this one down. Avoiding the oil barrels tossed by DK and those damn flaming balls were a bitch!

5. Frogger- Another one that I dumped alot of quarters into as a teen. Although I was no George Costanza, I held my own OK.

6. Galaga- This was my all-time favorite game. Me and my friends eventually learned how to fix it so that the aliens couldn't fire back at you. A few years later while living in Marquette, I was with my then girlfriend at the campus rec center. Because of the trick I learned earlier, I had been playing for about 3 hours. I finally gave my game to a kid who came over to watch. Because the aliens weren't firing at me, he gave me a "what the fuck" look. I told them that I beat them so badly, they gave up and stopped shooting. I wonder if he went back and told his friends the "secret".

7. Galaxian- This was similar to Space Invaders, but had the added danger of the aliens making periodic kamikaze-like dives at your ship.

8. Gorf- This was sort of like Midway's Greatest Hits because it combined elements of games such as Space Invaders and Galaxian. I was only OK on the arcade version. However, because I had more time to waste... er practice, I got pretty good at the version we had on the Commodore Vic 20. Achieving the highest rank of Space Avenger was a crowning achievement in my video game career.

9. Ms. Pac Man- I didn't play this one as much as Pac Man. Maybe I felt the design was a little too girly.

10. Pac Man- This was one of the first games where I actually demonstrated some skill. I remember a friend had one of those books that had different patterns to help you avoid the ghosts/monsters.

11. Pole Position- The first job I ever had was working one summer as one of my older brother's assistants when he was a Community School Director. During lunch time, I would go to the nearby arcade and play Pole Position quite a bit. This was back when I actually thought that driving was fun.

12. Space Invaders- My introduction to arcade games. I was far from an ace at this one. Had Space Invaders given out ranks, I probably would have been a Space Captain... barely.

13. Stargate- This was a sequel to Defender. Just like it's predecessor, Stargate had a shitload of buttons. I remember once that a kid was playing at the neighborhood grocery store. He was hitting one of the buttons frantically, wondering why it wouldn't fire. I had to break the news to him that he was hitting the "Player One" button.

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pjazzypar said...

Man don't those graphics look like something Fred and Barney might have kicked backed on stone sofa and played when compared to today's games. I remember some of these game from Atari. I was actually pretty good at Frogger until I got to the higher levels and the cars ran my ass over. Donkey Kong was another favorite. Remember Burger World and Popeye?

pussreboots said...

I played most of those too but was terrible at PacMan. I didn't try Ms PacMan because it just looked lame. I really hate most of the marketing games for girls.

Nicholas said...

I played PacMan and Space Invaders a few times, but I can't begin to guess how much money I fed into the Pole Position game that sat in the corner of my local pub in the 80s. Far too much!

Hootin' Anni said...

The only one I can remember [I'm ancient and my kids were kids twenty some years ago] was Pac Man. LOL

My 13 is published, hope you can stop by sometime.

Karen of Sillymonkeez said...

I remember most of those! Now I feel old. LOL!!

Here's mine . . .

SandyCarlson said...

Sadly, this nerdy girl knew none of these. Thanks for improving my cultural history knowledge. God bless.

Lilibeth said...

These aren't really before my time...but my time for video games didn't begin until my kids were old enough to beg me for one so the first games I saw were Mario,Zelda, and Dragon Warrior. I do think we had a Donkey Kong and a Packman. My all time favorite was Tetris.

sobeit said...

great list....I still have my atari and every so often I play. I have to play on an old 13" tv circa 1986, because it won't connect with newer televisions. Asteroids, Towering Inferno, and PacMan...such memories!

Visit soon!

marcia said...

12. Space Invaders-was the only one i was any good at:)

Jill said...

I never really on the real arcade game, but I did enjoye very Pac man and Centrip├Ęde.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I love love love these games! In fact, I have a few of them in my Google Sidebar. They are just so uncomplicated and fun. Thanks for the memories.

Happy TT

Mama Luxe said...

I played so many video games. Moon Landing and Tron are two I recall that I didn't see on your list.

I stunk at Pole Position; was decent at the rest.

Happy TT--Come on by to mine, too!

Jenny McB said...

Wow, what a trip down memory lane. Played them all and another one that I loved was Quix. So what was the secret of making the aliens stop shooting?

Fun spot at Weirs beach in Maine has most of these games if you are ever looking for a vacation location!

SJ Reidhead said...

Where's that old Star Trek game? The graphics are wild.

Space Invaders - my favorite.

The Pink Flamingo

Lori said...

GREAT, GREAT, GREAT list. Im sooooo glad you included Galaga. You know, both of my kids are video game experts BUT, neither can beat me on Galaga:) Happy TT. Loved it!

Carol said...

Woah. Deja vu, man!

Meju said...

Pac Man and Space Invaders rocked!

Firefly mom said...

Hehe - I did this same TT last week! Great minds think alike ;D

Most of our lists were the same. I completely forgot about Berzerk! I used to play that all the time, too!

Robin said...

I was terrible at most video games but I did gain a certain skill at Tetris. Had to stop playing when I started dreaming of falling shapes!

Candy Minx said...

Amazing...they are so simplelooking...but I remember being very intensely involved in many of these games.

I later re-discivered my arcade game love with the shoot em game of Terminator. I loved that game. If I win the lottery I'll buy myself that arcade game! Aerosmith had a similar structured game which i also liked.

The Gal Herself said...

I'm such a loser. I believe I only ever played Donkey Kong. Though a nemesis known as Evil Otto does sound worthy of my time! (Thanks for visiting my TT -- and "On the Town" made the AFI's list of Top 25 musicals, I believe, just not the Top 13.)

BeckEye said...

I RULED at Centipede when I was a kid. No one could beat me. My best friend at the time ruled at Pac-Man so we were definitely Queens of the arcade. It was interesting too, because she sucked at Centipede and I sucked at Pac-Man. I've always found Ms. Pac-Man easier for some reason.

I used to like Q*Bert a lot too. He was cute.

Anonymous said...

We had an atari that was from Sears and it had a different joystick with two side buttons...but the games were still Atari brand. We only had Pacman and Space Invaders. But, my brother had a spoiled friend that would let us borrow other games. I still play a free frogger type game on the internet. It's called Sheepish:

Great trip down memory lane!

Lori said...

I remember my father bringing home Atari, and then Sega and then every new video game system as it came out. I was a born and bred gamer, I guess.

I loved Frogger and Pac Man and Space Invaders and Pole Position. It is amazing though that we were able to entertain ourselves just fine with the little bars and dots and now our children (okay, who'm I kidding? I mean me!) get to be entertained with movie quality graphics and storylines. I'm not complaining!

X. Dell said...

I hate to say it, but I played every single one of those games.

Cindy Swanson said...

I have just never been a video game person. Back in the day I played PacMan and Ms PacMan...actually really enjoyed those a lot...but that was all. While in Texas I played SceneIt with my 25 year old son, and absolutely LOVED it...I could see myself getting hooked on that real quick!

Stop by my TT when you get a moment, Malcolm...I've noticed you haven't commented in a long time (pouting.)

The Mistress of the Dark said...

You know those are the only video games I enjoy. Loved asteroids and pacman..and frogger :) I sucked at donkey kong!

Malcolm said...

I want to thank everyone who stopped by to comment. I really enjoyed reading about some of your favorite video game memories. Some of you even mentioned games that I didn't play, but do remember.

With the exception of two people (who I responded to via email), I wasn't able to reply to comments the way I normally would. Last week was crazier than usual. This week is a bit calmer... let's hope so.

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