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1001games Part 1: The 1970s

Welcome to my new blog series, 1001games. And yes, that's one thousand and one, not 9 in binary. You see, a while ago I got this book, 1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die, edited by Tony Mott. I really admire this thick tome with its super-high-quality presentation. The glossy screenshots are glorious, and the writing is thoughtful. I don't agree with all its selections (and you'd better believe I'll be bitching about the ones I disagree with), but it's overall a very solid set of games with loads of all-time classics. What really drew me to it, though, was the sheer number involved. 100 games? Yawn. A thousand? Now we're talking. I wondered what I should do with it, and my girlfriend said I should start a blog where I play all of the games. I think that's a great idea, so here I am.

Right from the start, I am approaching this project as a noble failure; I won't be able to cover all of the games in the book. Some games are impossible to play anymore - how is one supposed to play Ultima Online, this many years after its servers were taken down? Others, I simply lack access to and don't think I'll be able to gain it. I don't own an Xbox, 360 or PS3, and I doubt I'm going to get one of any of them for the purpose of this blog. My certain failure doesn't get me down, though - actually, it excites me. I mean, with failure assumed, what's the downside? So join me as I fail. I will try to cover as many as I can, which will be interesting since many games I'd ordinarily have zero interest in are covered.

Yes, that header was made in MS Paint. If you like my writing and have any sort of design skill, please save me from myself.

THE 1970s

Just a year after Space Invaders, the shmup had already come a long way. This game's full-color display is a real eye-opener after all the monochrome that's come before it, and it's even got real theme music. Instead of following a rigid pattern, the aliens here break formation to dive-bomb you in a difficult to avoid pattern. The scoring system is fun and deep for the time, with bonuses that reward high risk for taking out the back-row enemies first or knocking out an entire dive-bomb formation. The book correctly notes that Namco's follow-up Galaga, an all-time classic, is superior, but you can't hold that against this game, which is still a lot of fun.

0010. Lunar Lander (Arcade)

Lunar Lander is an unusual game. In a time when gameplay was simplistic, it had a rare focus on accuracy over fun. Using your limited fuel, you must adjust your lander's trajectory with great care and precision. A tiny, split-second adjustment can mean the difference between a successful landing and a crash.

This game is unforgiving and intense. It took me quite a few tries to land successfully - if you're coming down even a little bit too fast (you should barely be moving at all) you might get a result like "landed, but stranded forever due to broken gear." This game is not screwing around; stuck to slowly die on a lunar surface is its idea of mercy. Forget making you sweat - Lunar Lander will punch you in the genitals.

I'm happy to report that after my first landing, I actually got the hang of this game and was able to successfully land on one of the tiny, high-multiplier landing spots. Maybe I don't totally suck at video games after all.

That's all for the 70s. Next time, we'll go through the arcade classics of the early 1980s.
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Ramminchuck   1



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About tim333one of us since 5:53 PM on 12.11.2007

Regarding my 1001games project: There's only one deadline. I haven't hit it yet!

I'm a 90s gamer and Sega kid for life. I like platformers, adventure games and JRPGs. I'm not that into first-person shooters or sports games.

I spend more of my time playing older games than new ones. I do have a PS3 now, though, and I like buying games on PSN. I like the Wii and have a ton of games for it. I'm encouraged by some of the stuff out on Wiiware - to me, games like Bit.Trip Beat are more appealing than the "triple-A" titles coming out on the HD consoles.

Some of my all-time favorite games are Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Dragon Quest III, Heroes of Might and Magic III, The Curse of Monkey Island, and Dance Dance Revolution.