Apr 08 2011

Play Player 1 – Space Invaders Strikes Back


I suspect I may have spent a little too much time in pool halls and pinball parlours when I was young.


One of my first memories is having to wash the blue powder from my mouth when I mistook a block of billiard chalk for a piece of Scanlan’s Metro Gum in the parlour under the Florida Hotel in Terrigal, aged about four. By six I was familiar with every pinball machine there.


Many years later, I remember watching someone play the first Space Invaders machine in George St, Sydney, and being amazed as he achieved replay after replay. I soon learnt the special tricks – including that you needed to hit the mystery UFO on your 23rd shot of the game, and every 10 after that, to score the maximum 500. I studied ‘How to WIn at Video Games’ so that I knew by heart the optimal path for the first 10 levels of Pacman.


Mark ‘Zap’ Deller and I would walk to Manly on weekends to visit the video games ‘lounge’ upstairs above the Corso. Mark was an expert on the most complicated video game ever put to market – Defender.


In 1983 I was the Sydney University Medical Society Donkey Kong champion. The Grandstand Bar also had Ten Yard Fight, 1942, and Pengo.


All up, that’s a big investment in 20 cent pieces.


This explains why I am excited about ‘what I learnt today’. 


Atari has made available its Greatest Hits App for iPad, with their top 100 video games of all time.

Atari’s Greatest Hits – Atari


The App is free – but that just lets you play Pong. You can ‘in app’ purchase the right to unlimited play on other machines one-by-one, or for $17.99 you can get all 100 as a job lot. (Note – only 18 are Arcade games, the rest are Atari console games – which you would have to be very nostalgic to want to play)


Asteroids, Battlezone, Missile Command, Centipede, Gravitar, Red Baron, Space Duel, and Tempest are among those represented.


Meanwhile, Capcom have released a similar arcade pack for iPhone. It contains Commando, 1942, Ghosts and Ghouls, Street Fighter II, and others.


Other classic video games available for the iPhone and iPad include

Dragon’s Lair


Space Invaders




To top it all off, the team at ThinkGeek will soon release their iCade cabinet. Last year they announced this as an April Fool’s joke – the response was so enormous that they’ve partnered with Atari to develop it ‘for real’. The iCade is a video games cabinet, with push buttons and a joystick, into which you place your iPad. The iCade controls the iPad through a bluetooth connection. It will retail for $99.


I can’t wait.


What I Learnt On 8th April in other years

8th April 2013 Changing Priorities

One Response to “Play Player 1 – Space Invaders Strikes Back”

  1. C says:

    While you’re waiting…http://mamedev.org/

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