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Category Archives: Arcade

Crystal Castles Atari 2600

Comparing the Crystal Castles Arcade Classic with Its Atari 2600 Port

I can’t blame folks in 1983 for thinking Atari’s arcade hit Crystal Castles was incredible. Its isometric viewpoint made great use of its limited resolution, presenting a tangible 3D environment. Plus, you can tell a good deal of work went into its character designs and animations; just look at how much detail there is on the dancing skeleton in the above image or the game’s red-shoe-wearing protagonist Bentley Bear. Its gameplay holds up too. While navigating the narrow pathways can be a little finicky with the arcade cabinet’s trackball, Bentley handles smoothly enough that players will advance further and further into the game as they memorize layouts and practice the required movements. And there’s a satisfyingly crunchy low-bit noise when Bentley collects the gems that are scattered across each level.…
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 2

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of classic Atari games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. This is just a matter of opinion, but we think Vol. 2 has more variety (sports titles feel a bit over-represented on the first volume), while Vol. 1 has better cover art. Unfortunately, the back covers of these games just mention a few of the high points instead of a full list of all 50 titles included on each disc. But we at Retrovolve have your back: A complete list of games found on Vol. 1 can be found here, and Vol. 2‘s games are listed below. Arcade Asteroids Asteroids Deluxe Crystal Castles Gravitar The Adventures of Major Havoc Missile Command Red Baron Sprint Super Breakout Home Console Adventure Asteroids Atari Video Cube Basic Math Brain Games Breakout Casino Championship Soccer Codebreaker Concentration Crystal Castles Demons to Diamonds Double Dunk Flag Capture Golf Gravitar Hangman Haunted House Maze Craze: A Game of Cops ‘n Robbers Missile Command Night Driver Off the Wall Outlaw Race RealSports Baseball RealSports Basketball RealSports Tennis Return to Haunted House Secret Quest Sentinel Sky Diver Space War Star Ship Stellar Track Street Racer Submarine Commander Super Breakout Surround Video Checkers Video Chess Video Pinball  …
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 1

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of its classic games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. Each collection includes game manuals, multiplayer support, leaderboards, Trophy/Achievement libraries, and, of course, 50 classic Atari games from arcades and home consoles. While Vol. 1 has some real stinkers in the mix, it’s also got some essential classics, like Centipede, all three released SwordQuest titles (the fourth was never completed), and Yars’ Revenge. Upon closer inspection, you might also notice that a few games are included twice in the collection when there are both arcade and home console versions. It’s kind of neat to be able to compare versions, but note that these games are counted twice to make up the total of 50.…
The Duke of Lancaster's Arcade Haul

The Duke of Lancaster Ship Contained a Treasure Trove of Arcade Machines

For some, finding a long-forgotten arcade machine and getting it into the hands of a collector who will care for it can be a thrilling experience. Few arcade excavations (or arcade raids, as The Arcade Blogger‘s Tony Temple calls them) can match the bounty that Oliver Moazzezi found inside The Duke of Lancaster, a ship that’s been resting in Llanerch-y-Mor, North Wales since 1979. The ship, once a pleasure cruiser, held over 50 arcade cabinets just waiting for someone like Moazzezi to find them a loving home. The Arcade Blogger did a very thorough article that documents the whole process, from finding the cabinets to getting them out of the ship, and it’s fascinating. We definitely recommend checking it out.…
Deathsmiles on Steam

Deathsmiles and Its Notoriously Saucy Papercraft Minigame

Deathsmiles, Cave’s 2007 arcade bullet-hell classic, has never really been a mainstream hit here in the United States. It’s notable, however, for using some pretty “unusual” tricks as part of its marketing strategy. Promotional flyers were handed out in Japan that contained a papercraft minigame on the backside of them, the point of which was to get a peek at an anime girl’s bottom. By cutting and folding this thing properly (following the included directions), you’d wind up with a skirt and slip that you could blow on, lifting it up to reveal the character’s panties. Did it work? Maybe. The game found its way outside of arcades, with a 2009 Xbox 360 release, an iOS version, and a PC version via Steam (released March 10, 2016).…
Half-Glass Gaming Arcade Machines

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 27] : I Thought I Smelled a Little Wasserman on You

This week, we escape the Minnesota cold by gathering around a warm mic and lighting up the toasty fire of conversation. We tell tales of Star Wars action figures, reddit arguments about plotholes, and Josh’s bad luck at picking checkout lines. After the break, we grab some quarters and try to find a concrete definition of the term “arcadey.” Which qualities make a console video game similar to an arcade game? How much of the classic arcade “feel” still exists to this day? How did arcade cabinets encourage players to keep feeding them coins? Are mobile games the arcade games of the present? Is putting “ASS” in the leaderboards an essential part of the arcade experience? We’ve also got some things to say about short-term vs.…

How Many People Has the Berzerk Arcade Game Killed?

The Berzerk arcade cabinet is a fascinating piece of video game history. It was one of the first games to use voice synthesis, which was an insanely expensive process back in 1980. In fact, it’s estimated that Berzerk‘s 30-word vocabulary cost $1,000 per word to produce due to its expensive Linear Predictive Coding. The game was also notable for introducing the world to “Evil Otto,” an antagonistic smiley face that would chase the player down if he or she spent too much time in a single panel of the maze. (It’s no coincidence that Evil Otto shares a surname with Dave Otto, a security officer who had worked with Berzerk designer Alan McNeil.) Perhaps the most macabre piece of trivia about this arcade game, however, is that it’s infamously known as the first arcade game to be tied to the death of its players.…

My Life in Quarters: Galaxian

The following is a work of fiction. I remember the day I first played  Galaxian quite vividly, back in the spring of 1980. I was 14 years old and had just gotten off of work at the local Bob’s Big Boy. It was a particularly rough day for me, having earlier asked Carmen Rosedale to the big spring dance and getting shot down in a blaze of non-glory. That would no doubt be the talk of school the following Monday, but, for the time being, I wasn’t going to sweat it. I had just gotten done with my bus shift after school and was headed to the local arcade for a late night romp before going home and starting my evening chores.…
space invaders arcade

In 1981, Politicians Fought Against the “Space Invader” Menace

Politicians have a long history of speaking out against video games. The first Senate hearing on video game violence was held in 1993, and the debate has continued to rage on in the years since. But the most asinine, most beautifully ridiculous strike against video games occurred all the way back in 1981, before the Famicom was even a twinkle in Nintendo’s eye. On a sunny May morning, House of Commons member George Foulkes spoke out about the most dangerous menace the gaming world has ever seen: “space invader” machines. Foulkes wove Parliament a hyperbolic tale that contained a little bit of everything: sex, lies, and flagrant overuse of air quotes. He recounted anecdote after sordid anecdote in which children were forced to go to terrible lengths in order to feed their Space Invaders addiction.…

The First Star Wars Arcade Game Wasn’t Officially a Star Wars Game

In the 1970s, video games were just starting to find their commercial foothold. During this decade, classic arcade cabinets containing games like Pong (1972) and Space Invaders (1978) would begin passively stealing quarters from wide-eyed children. A very different game, Starhawk, has sort of fallen out of many of the history books on the medium, but it’s in the unique position of being the very first arcade game to ever rip off Star Wars. And, I mean, this was a pretty blatant plagiarism. Just try to tell me these aren’t TIE Fighters: Cinematronics, the company behind the game, never received permission to use the Star Wars license, and I’m not sure they ever asked for it. They just decided to make a game where players flew through a trench in an ambiguous-but-Death-Star-looking thing while shooting at TIE fighters (and, admittedly, other types of ships as well).…
Alpine Ski

I Will Never Be the Best Alpine Ski Player in the World

Have you ever played SkiFree, the free skiing game that used to come packaged with Windows? If you answered yes to that question, then you’ve basically already played Alpine Ski, a 1981 arcade game by Taito. In it, you control a skier on a downhill slope, a slalom course, or a ski jumping competition. One of the things I appreciate about Alpine Ski is that the win/lose scenario isn’t based on how many lives you have. Instead, you’ve got a set amount of time, and you get to play for that amount of time no matter how many times you fail. This means that you could always be certain of getting a specific amount of game time for your quarter. The controls are simple.…

The Best Arcade Ever Now Exists in Your Web Browser

Just imagine all the quarters this would have saved you had this been released twenty years ago. Better late than never, The Internet Archive has launched The Internet Arcade; a project that aims to give the public access to hundreds of classic arcade titles, many of which have never seen commercial releases beyond their original cabinets. I haven’t been able spend a ton of time on the site, but it seems to work splendidly. The few rounds of Amidar and Rally X I had the chance to play were just as enjoyable as any I had played on some console compilation or MAME cabinet. It even supports some gamepads and joysticks, which is phenomenally cool. So go ahead and treat yourself to a few rounds of Mappy in between the seemingly endless hours of office drudgery.…

Enjoy This Piano Rendition of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins Theme

It’s Halloween, and you don’t want to read anything right now. We get it. You’ve got gory make-up to put on and a candy coma to induce. So instead of posting a long-winded article about some fascinating tidbit of retro gaming trivia, we’re just going to share this really neat piano rendition of the theme from Capcom’s 1985 arcade classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins. So even if you don’t have time to read Retrovolve today, we hope you can at least play some spooky retro game-themed music in the background while you’re getting ready to go out trick-or-treating. This comes from YouTube user Keeper1st, who has a bunch of other cool stuff for you to listen to when you’ve got the time.…
featured jungle hunt

Jungle Hunt Was a Terrible Waste of Quarters

Arcade games are something I’ve always struggled with. While home consoles gave me hours to hone my skills, arcades required me to master controls in an instant. I’d often burn through a pile of quarters in a matter of minutes, and walk away wishing I’d played Skee-Ball instead. But while plenty of games wasted my quarters, no game could obliterate them as quickly as Taito’s Jungle Hunt. I think I was drawn to Jungle Hunt because it felt like a contradiction. Not one, but two names were boldly emblazoned on the arcade cabinet — Jungle Hunt at the top, and Jungle King at the bottom. The dual names were a mystery I desperately wanted to get to the bottom of, and I thought playing the game was the only way I could get answers.…

The Curiously Moody Soundtrack of Strider Arcade

Halloween is still a ways off, but I already have an insatiable craving for all things spooky. I have a lengthy list of creepy movies to watch, and a longer list of games to play. I’ve been thinking about my favorite horror stories, and I’ve started to dream up some scary tales of my own. I’ve also spent a lot of time listening to the Strider arcade soundtrack. Although Strider‘s boss fights can be pretty brutal, there’s nothing about it that’s particularly horrifying. It’s hard to create a chilling atmosphere when your game’s full of ninjas and robot dinosaurs. Strider was designed to be fun, not frightening, and the game is decidedly nightmare-free. But there’s something about its soundtrack that I find incredibly haunting.…
Donkey Kong

King Kong: Why Nintendo’s 1981 Arcade Blockbuster Is Still the Greatest Game Ever Made

“How high can you get?” This iconic phrase has tortured gamers for the better part of the last three decades. It seems less a challenge to the player and more a question to the game itself, as to how deeply it could permeate global pop culture. The golden age of arcade gaming is decades in the rearview mirror, but Donkey Kong has managed to maintain its relevance while most coin-op games of yesteryear have been forgotten and relegated to the basements of the dive bowling alleys. There was a time when these were far from the only sort of venues the cathode-ray tube screens illuminated, their radiant glow a comforting beacon to legions of children and adults alike, whose every quarter built the foundation for the billion-dollar gaming industry that exists today.…
X-Men arcade 1992

The X-Men Arcade Game Got Me to Eat a Lot of Bad Pizza

When I was a kid, it wasn’t food or ambiance that determined my choice of restaurant. All that mattered to me was getting the chance to play arcade games. Tabletop arcade games made Pizza Hut one of my favorite eateries, and I’d happily dine anywhere that let me play Turtles in Time. But there was one game that took precedence over any other: the 1992 X-Men arcade game. The X-Men arcade game was the most glorious thing I had ever experienced. It had room for six players, which meant that my friends and I could all play together. It had not one, but two playable female characters. The soundtrack was rockin’. There were awesome comic-inspired levels. Magneto called your character an “X-Chicken.”…
720 Degrees

Why Is the Guy from the Classic 720 Degrees Arcade Game Not Wearing Any Pants?

Reddit user Jakobud once made an interesting observation concerning the arcade classic 720 Degrees. In the game’s title screen, the skateboarder character doesn’t seem to be wearing any pants. Now, maybe I’m just being overly concerned about his safety here, but that seems to me like a really bad strategy for a skateboarder. I mean, the dude knows to wear elbow and knee pads, and possibly a helmet (though that could just be an amazing 80s hairdo), so he clearly takes the safety of his elbows and knees very seriously. But apparently he has an “everything goes” policy when it comes to his genitalia. Oof. Of course, one commenter pointed out that he’s probably just wearing orange shorts, which is probably what they were going for, but the color is so close to his skin color that you can’t really tell.…
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