1977

1977
The home video game industry suffers its first crash, and many companies quit the industry. Atari’s VCS home console system (later renamed the 2600) is released. In Japan, Nintendo releases its first home video game, Color TV Game 6. Kee Games’s arcade game Super Bug introduces 4-directional scrolling.

The main cause of the crash was that the PONG concept was finally exhausted, with so many “TV Game” system varieties that were nothing more than variations on PONG games.  And without cartridge interchangeability, people got bored of buying variations of the same games.

Home Computers for the masses starts to become a reality, however, with 3 companies competing in this new space.  The Apple II, Commodore’s PET, and Texas Instruments TRS-80 (trash-80 haha).

TOO MANY systems and people in the “Gaming” Industry crashed it and caused it to start cleaning up, and consolidating.  Mostly what was left were the handheld games, Odyssey2 and the Atari 2600 (VCS) held on… but it wasn’t until Space Invaders was to land on the Atari 2600 that it took off… and that’s still a year or so away.

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POP CULTURE:
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MOVIE:  Star Wars!    (Han Solo shot Greedo in Star Wars – Greedo didn’t shoot nothin!  Deal with it.)
MOVIE:  Rocky
MOVIE:  Grand Theft Auto  (seriously!?)
CHUCK E. CHEESE – PizzaTime Theater!  (the seed begins for FNAF)
HANDHELD Games – Mattel
Slim-Fast began selling in 1977
The Chia Pet® comes out
Hotel California – The Eagles
Voyager I and Voyager II are launched unmanned to explore the outer solar system
The King ” Elvis Presley” dies at the age of 42 from a heart attack

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IN COMPUTER NEWS…
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ZORK
– the very first version of this classic is first programmed by 4 men who eventually go on to create Infocom (in a large part because of this very game itself).  They are all students at MIT, and ZORK runs on a PDP-10 mainframe computer only.  It will later have to be cut up into 3 different games for home computer systems, as the grand scope of this adventure is too much for the smaller computers to handle. Coming from the “ADVENTURE” tradition, ZORK is another major early computer game that caught the public’s attention and helped shape the interactive-fiction industry.

Interesting to note they created a “Z-Machine” for Zork – which was a virtual chip that ran Zork (and later all the Infocom Games).  The Z-machine Interpret Program (or ZIP) was a terrific compression utility… and makes me wonder if that’s where we ended up getting the ZIP files that are so prevalent in computer compression over the years!?

MICROCHESS
–  was one of the first games for microcomputers which was sold to the public. First sold in 1977, Microchess eventually sold over 50,000 copies on cassette tape.  It was eventually ported to Commodore PET, Apple II and Atari 400/800… but will make an official appearance in 1978.

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COMPUTER GAMES OF 1977:
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–     OTHER/MAINFRAME    –
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ZORK  (aka – Dungeon 3.2b version I played)

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–     Commodore PET    –
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BASEBALL  – home adaptation of the top-down baseball game seen in the arcades around this time.  Kinda neat they even did it… although not much reason to stick around and play (2-player anyway)
* KINGDOM  – an early food/population strategy game (like Hammurabi).  You soon learn the way to win is simply buying & selling acreage when the price is favorable, as your population is full of hungry under-producers who eat themselves into starvation!

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–       APPLE II       –
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Although this system was officially released in 1977, there are are still no listed games that came out in 1977.  Perhaps Breakout, but the only surviving versions of any Apple II games dates from 1978 onward.  (UPDATE:  I’ve found a number of games that were either dated 1977, or were talked about in magazines from that era.  I’ve now played them and added them to my list)

BREAKOUT – there is a hi-res version which is an okay clone of the arcade.  The blocks are a little irregular, and so the bouncing is not always what you’d think it should be.  Also, if you clear the screen – you win.. that’s it.  Max score:  19,268

HANGMAN – released in 1977, this is the classic hangman game against the computer.  Nice to have graphics, and computer remembers which letters you’ve guessed.  Some good variety in the words used.  A 1984 update merely added some additional Y/N options for instructions and the like.

KLINGON CAPTURE – You just have to guess where the Klingon is hiding on a grid.  Fire a shot at the grid, and computer tells you the direction of the actual ship.  Quickly beatable.  Simple guessing game.

ROCKET PILOT – using the analog controls, fly a rocket ship from one docking port, up & over a mountain to the other docking port.  I saw this as a type-in game in 1978 (01) Kilobyte magazine… so it was created in 1977.  Doesn’t “feel” real, but it’s a good early attempt at a lunar-landar type of game.  Very hard to land the ship at all.

SAUCER INVASION – simple timing shooter game.  Launch a missile, hit the saucer above…  see how many points you can score in a short time.

* SHOOTING STARS – don’t know when the apple version was actually implemented, but this Puzzle game was showcased in many early BYTE magazines (on the Altair for example).  I LIKED this game — a nice straightforward puzzle… not impossible to solve, but a decent, easy-to-learn puzzle.

SPACE MAZE  – This was an earlier version of the more polished “Star Wars” or “Star Wars II”.  You have only one shooting option, without a graphic representation… whereas Star Wars has two options and graphics.  It plays okay… not a bad early Apple II game.

* STAR WARS – Saw people playing this in a BYTE 1978 (02) magazine… so it had to come out late in 1977.  A great programming feat… including sound effects, and lasers or photons as shooting options.  Photos are bigger and not so hard to use, but take 2x the amount of energy (out of our 25 total).  Cool game.

 

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–        TRS-80        –
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Although this system was officially released in 1977, there are are still no listed games that came out in 1977.  All MS-DOS software seems to get going even later, around 1979… but the TRS-80 closely aligned with software found on the PET and you don’t see any software dating from 1977 as of yet.

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OVERALL:
The HOME COMPUTER revolution had not started yet.  Games really started to appear as “commercial” possibilities in 1978.  So peek in to see what happens next year.

 

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CONSOLE SYSTEMS:
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ATARI VIDEO PINBALL
–  Pinball, Basketball and Breakout on a home gaming device.  One paddle and a few buttons.

ATARI STUNT CYCLE
–  Another conversion of a popular arcade game “Stunt Cycle” into a directly playable home version.  This one involved two handlebars (like a motorcycle) that allowed you to do stunt jumps.

BINATONE
–  (look it up)

COLECO TELSTAR COMBAT
–  The popular TELSTAR line by Coleco goes in a different direction by replicating the “TANK” arcade experience at home, unlike all their PONG variant machines.  It actually has two-players each with two tank thread controls.  No other home system had such elaborate controls.

GAME BRAIN

MAGNAVOX 2000, 3000, 4000
–  Last year’s models were only in the hundreds… now they’ve already reached the thousands.  Thankfully the next year was simply the ODYSSEY 2, or it would have started to get ridiculous.  With a 10x factor every year, we’d now have an Odyssey 3×10^38 – how’s that for a name!  Coleco went for the cheap versions of home PONG, but ODYSSEY was going for high-tech.  Their line of 1000’s was arguably the most advanced dedicated home PONG systems.  2000/3000 had paddles 4000 had joysticks and other slight differences.  4000 had 8 variations on PONG

NINTENDO COLOR TV GAME 6
– Only available in Japan, but I mention it to show you that Nintendo didn’t come out of nowhere.  They were building home pong variations as well and the most popular one was the Color TV 6.  There were 3 variations on PONG with 1 or 2 players each.. hence 6 options.  Also, you might have guessed, but all these games were in COLOR as well.  😉

RCA STUDIO 2
– Actually released after the Fairchild Channel F, this system was doomed from the beginning.  It had removable cartridges, but it had no controllers (just 2 strange keypads making it look like a double telephone device or something), no color display and just plain looked unattractive.  The games were just terrible and no fun to play.  For example, the built-in Bowling game was impossible to get a strike – you only knocked down the pins the ball actually touches.  MESS actually has an entry for this console, but it has never been fully implemented, and nobody seems to have much of an interest in this obscure and strange entry in the videogame world.  A game machine so lame I’m not even going to bother reviewing its games.  Go check it out on Google… laughable!

TELSTAR RANGER / COMBAT / ALPHA / COLORMATIC

ATARI VCS (Video Computer System)
(NOTE:  it became the Atari 2600 in 1982 when the more advanced 5200 was released.)

This was the first REALLY BIG ONE!!   This system was reported to have sold over 25 Million units in 5 years, raking in over 5 BILLION dollars  (yeah, with a B).  That is simply a staggering number for an emerging market.  Although it did have a slow start, that changed quickly when Atari first licensed Space Invaders for the home market.  Soon the VCS became THE system to OWN and sparked a fire frenzy of sales.  As well as bringing licensing to the forefront, the popularity of the system also pushed the idea of a videogame system from a “Christmas” item, to a more mainstream toy that was now sold all year around.

Some might laugh at the pixelated graphics and basic sounds, but compared to the previous home console systems, the Atari 2600 was indeed a revolution.  As programmers became more familiar with how to program this system, some truly remarkable games were developed that still offer great fun today.

The Atari VCS was the game system which helped bring about the golden age of video games, and brought more excitement and awareness to the home video game market than anything that had gone before. This system made Atari a familiar household name and was far-and-away the leading 2nd-generation console system.  In fact, when most people think of “Retro Gaming” or “Old School Gaming” the Atari 2600 is the system that springs to mind.  Any videogamer over the age of 30 will likely tell you that the Atari 2600 is where they started.

I was a little backwards… my first system was the ODYSSEY 2 (released in 1978).  Stay tuned.

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CONSOLE GAMES OF 1977:
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–  FAIRCHILD CHANNEL F –
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BTW… cracks me up how every Channel F Game Manual ends with “Have Fun”.  haha  It’s kind of like wishful thinking on this system, but sometimes it works out.  😉

* VIDEOCART-4: SPITFIRE – A cool dogfight game.  Simple but works.  Most enjoyable game so far on the Channel F.  You can actually play single player, so pick a score to play to and see if you can beat the computer.

VIDEOCART-5: SPACEWAR  – Super Lame-O.  I’m sorry.  This just stinks.  Space duel with bad controls and a quick refueling option.  Virtually impossible to score a point by depleting the energy of the other ship.  No strategy. Slow controls . Needed a 1-hit kill.

VIDEOCART-6: MATH QUIZ 1 /Addition/Subtraction:  STUPID!  Why did they split this game cart up into two, when they should have had addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all in one.  Consumer-milking bastards!  It just takes so long to manually change your digits one-by-one… so much better learning tools nowadays.  AVOID!

VIDEOCART-7: MATH QUIZ 2 /Multiplication/Division:  SEE ABOVE, except multiplication & division.  Argh!

** VIDEOCART-8: MAGIC NUMBERS – MIND READER & NIM:    I’ve always enjoyed a good game of “mastermind” no matter what it’s called.  This is a fairly decent version, with a selectable 2-5 digit number and time limit or 20 tries.  As for NIM, I LOVE the strategy of this game.  First I figured out winning combinations, then moved backwards from there.  You eventually realize that the VERY FIRST MOVE either wins or loses your game if you know what you’re doing.  Awesome game, and this is a PERFECT game for this system since it doesn’t depend on graphics at all.  The BEST cartridge yet.

VIDEOCART-9: DRAG STRIP  – Clearly this is simply an attempt to cash in on the “Drag Race” type of game that was somewhat successful in the arcades.  I don’t fault them for trying, but this is a very poor imitation.  The cars wrap around the screen, blocky graphics, terrible sounds.  It’s fun for about 5 minutes, though, have to say that.

VIDEOCART-10: MAZE / JAILBREAK / BLIND-MAN’S-BLUFF / TRAILBLAZER
– Well, as long as you figure out how to select the “Cat” variations, this is a pretty fun game.  Each variation on the maze (which makes up the game title) lets you select 1-4 in cat speed.  I was able to escape from the cat on each variation other than Blind-Man’s Bluff, where the entire maze is invisible.  Eventually I guess you could do it, but man – that’s a hard one.

VIDEOCART-11: BACKGAMMON / ACEY-DUECEY
– if you want to play backgammon with a friend, go out and buy a simple little backgammon gameboard.  Not only would it be cheaper, faster, and far easier to move the pieces… but the graphics are WAY better.  And ACEY-DUECEY is just a variation of backgammon where all the pieces start in the home position.  This will allow your game to last LONGER… with crappy slow controls, oh joy.

VIDEOCART-12: BASEBALL
– Okay, perhaps this was a novelty to get to play a baseball game in your home on a computer… but it just isn’t very good.  Blocky graphics, very limited gameplay, 2-player only.  Hey, at least they tried!  I do like how you can mix-up the pitching at the last second and throw the curve in there, etc.  That’s cool, but it’s still WAY to easy to score.  Then again, I was playing against myself.  One simple thing would’ve helped a lot – when the hitter hits, programmer’s should have at LEAST made the dude at the plate disappear.  As it is… he just stands there all the time, even when the runner’s are running around the bases.

* VIDEOCART-13:  ROBOT WAR / TORPEDO ALLEY
ROBOT WAR… OMG, so easy it’s not even a challenge.  Just move your “Man” behind the “Force Fields” and let the “Robots” crash into them.  I scored 11 without even trying, but the game informs me if I get to 99 it rolls over back to 00.  Oh wow… so fun. However, the game was decidedly better when I bumped the speed to MODE 4 – the fastest it goes!
TORPEDO ALLEY… Okay, I can see how this might provide a little fun for 2-players going head-to-head.  A simple timing shooter game with 3 levels of boats to shoot down.  The 2600 COMBAT catridge was so much better it’s ridiculous.  But, still fun enough I actually played to 99 and finished the game in as little time as possible.

* VIDEOCART-14: SONAR SEARCH
– Can you say Battleship?  Good.. that’s the basic idea.  But instead of a “grid” you have more playing field with smaller increments.  In single-player, you have a countdown timer indicating your firepower.  The way to find the ship is to LISTEN to how many beeps after you fire a shot.  Learn to read the Sonar indicator, and you’ll sink all the ships.  Easy enough I did it first try, though.  A pleasant surprise on the CHANNEL F.

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–      ATARI 2600      – http://www.2600connection.com/eastereggs/eastereggs.html
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*AIR-SEA-BATTLE (aka. TARGET FUN 27)   – Great fun!  Good 2-player battles, also has dummy shooter for computer opponent.  Atari just nailed the fun aspect in so many games, as shown here.  Simple graphics, great execution. (Easter Egg…stereo)

BASIC MATH (aka. FUN WITH NUMBERS) – Basic all right.  Although on the harder difficulty it does pose a challenge.  Only thing wrong with this is the sound effects would get annoying and the interface takes awhile.  Easier to just write it on paper… but you know how kids love computers.  Fake ’em into learning.

BLACK JACK – A decent attempt, although it is missing a number of options:  Split, insurance, shuffles after each hand, etc.  In its time it might have been a novelty to play blackjack on the computer, but you don’t really get the feel for the game, can’t count cards, etc. etc. (MAX score is 1,049 – get 999 in the bank and then DOUBLE-UP to achieve)

*COMBAT (aka TANK-PLUS) – CLASSIC!  Great fun… tanks, airplanes, head-to-head.  Sweet!  A great catridge with a bunch of variations on gameplay.  Came as the pack-in game with Atari 2600’s for the first five years until Pac-Man.  Arcade games did it first, but COMBAT showed off the power of small variations adding much repeat value. (See Easter Eggs!)

*INDY 500 (aka. RACE) – Too cool.  I guess these use the “DRIVING CONTROLLERS” and is the only game that uses them.  Pretty fun, and I like the different variations of racing against an opponent, the clock, on ice, pick up the blip, etc.  Good smooth gameplay, which makes the Atari games so much fun.  (See Easter Eggs)

STAR SHIP (aka. OUTER SPACE) – Lame-O.  I like that they tried first perspective and you’re flying a ship to shoot down the enemies… but everytime you shoot one, the action stops and you get a dumb sound effect (not even close to an explosion).  So it gets old during the first play.. not a great sign.  The other game modes are even less fun… warp drive and lunar lander.  Warp drive you just speed along your way as fast as possible… and lunar lander is more like “tag the asteroid with your butt”.

STREET RACER (aka. SPEEDWAY II) – Well, some variety here, but the gameplay mechanics kinda suck.  You get going fast and it’s just impossible to have any reaction time to avoid cars and other things coming at you.  I like they tried to put in 4-player modes, that could be really frustrating, though!  Fun is limited on this one.

SURROUND (aka. CHASE)  – Good ol’ TRON light cycles.  I know this was big in the arcades at the time, so to be able to play it on a little home system was pretty cool.  The beeping gets rather annoying, but at least you can play against the computer.  Not much in the way of real variations, but they did innovate with diagonal movement, and the ability to turn off the trail you leave behind, etc.

*VIDEO OLYMPICS (aka. PONG SPORTS) – Ah yes!  THE PONG KILLER cart, as I like to call it.  ATARI (who owned the rights to PONG) was saying with this cartridge one thing:  “If you ever need another ball & paddle game after this you’re stupid.”  50 variations with 1,2 or 4 players, basketball, volleyball, soccer, hockey, etc.  and NO overlays to achieve any of it.  Honestly, a great cart… just can’t play much by yourself.

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ARCADE GAMES of 1977:
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BARRICADE 2 – Sequel to Barricade  (Still Boring)

*BOOT HILL:  Sequel to Gun Fight (1975).  What a cool background.  Play against computer!  Nice job… especially the depth element, and seeing the tombstones appear on the hillside.

*CANYON BOMBER:  Great Atari game.  Just hit the bomb button at the right time.  Blast as many balloons as you can, but you only get 3 misses. Play against a friend or computer… computer is too easy.

CAR POLO:  Kudos for trying.  Use your car to knock a ball into the goal.  Execution lacks.  What’s up with the three-armed, fish flopping dude who puts the ball in the middle of the screen? Ahh!  That is freaky.  At least it was a little fun.  Put a coin in quickly, and you see a glitch where all the cars move away from the ball.

CATCH (in Mame) – just a prototype of Avalance (released in 1978)

*CHECKMATE: Finally!  A tron light cycle game that lets you play against the computer — all 4 players at once.  Fun enough that I kept playing until I beat the computer perfectly.  Just turn off the sound! AI is not great, but score is fair, and the game speeds up if you lose.  Nice touches.

*CIRCUS: Another Classic!  This is a great year for arcades.  Pop those balloons.  I remember Circus Atari, so it was great to play the classic original.  13,220 points dude – which is just insanely lucky, this game gets hard quick.  I just had a bunch of bounce-around luck.

*DEPTHCHARGE / SUB-HUNTER:  A little slow, but good action & anticipation.  Shoot down as many subs in 90 secs (45 sec bonus).  I ended up with a best of 2760.  Can’t help overcome the feeling that some luck is definitely involved.

*DESERT GUN / ROAD RUNNER:  Shooting Gallery type of game.  Pretty cool.  Quick reflexes.. extended time.  17,900 is my best score… and this is likely better with a mouse than the original gun.

DESERT PATROL:  Looked like a fun shooting game too, but is not emulated and couldn’t play it.

*DESTROYER:  Again, great action.  I scored 4,175 beating official 4,000 (but I had a mouse?)  Faster version of dropping bombs on submarines, and the added challenge of your bomb-dropping boat scooting across the top of the screen on its own.

DOG PATCH:  Never before heard of or seen… shoot the can to the other opponent’s side with yer shotgun! Hit the bird for extra points.  Tough to beat yer redneck friend, der, but it culd be dun!

DOMINOS:  Good tron light cycle game, although the AI isn’t way off the charts.  It was too easy to beat computer 4 to 0.

*DOUBLE PLAY:  Wow this computer hates to lose!  I finally scored 4 in one inning, thinking I would finally win a game.. but nnnooooo, the computer comes back with 9 runs in one inning!  Hilarious, but fun. You can beat the computer with a little luck.  The next generation of Tornado Baseball…. this one has great sound effects, although the outfield is WAY harder.  I eventually got home runs, but couldn’t hit a triple for anything.

DRAG RACE:  Fun game, but tricky to learn.  Start in Neutral, pop the clutch, shift quickly and steer straight.  The steering part was the trickiest.  5.5 sec

EMBARGO:  Lame version of light cycles.  Hard to steer…because of ANALOG joystick device, but it was a good idea.  You know it’s poorly implemented when the start of each level says “Anchor Aweigh”  LOL.  Easy to win… 3 rounds.  The attempts at cute death messages is commendable.

GUIDED MISSILE (or MISSILE X):   Nice little arcade timing shooter.  Missile goes up, turns back down and then has to connect with the targets.  Speeds up with more points, making the last few shots quite difficult.  My best score is 870.  Short, only 60 sec., no extended play… C’MON!

HUSTLE:  A new twist on the Blockade series, this time in single player its you against the clock to score as many points as possible.  Focus on target blocks of bonus (and sometimes MINUS) points, and wrack up a high score  Play solo (boring) or against an opponent competing for points. Death results in 500 to the other player now.

INFERNO:  Put out the fire.  Haven’t had a chance to play it yet…  emulation?

LAGUNA RACER: Cool little game.  Keeps high score, low score!  Fun to race, good gameplay mechanics… neat bezel artwork.  The “Extended Play” on timed games was really big this year, and that was the case here. 777.2

M-4: Two tanks on either side, shooting at each other, blast through a barrier wall, and also have targets behind the tank (car, plane).  Extended time available for high scores… probably 100+.  Nice to fight against the computer.  Personal best was 195!

*M-79 AMBUSH:  Okay, this was cool!  Simple shooter, the sound effects are fun the gameplay easy and effective.  9600 points after a few tries… and Save States won’t help your score here!  😉

* MEADOWS LANES:   I wanted to keep playing until I beat my real-world score of 203.  I finally hit 204 on this little bowling game from 1977.  Then I got very lucky and hit 221.  Pretty easy to use, and I like that.   Not Wii bowling, unfortunately. Save game states means you can hit 300 to see the highest possible score.

MINESWEEPER:  Another 2-player only “Tron Light Cycles” game.  Annoying sound, boring graphics. Terrible.

*POOLSHARK:  Now that is a fun game!  It’s like an arcade version of pool, where you run around as the white ball trying to knock all the other balls into their pockets.  Even bonus time for each rack of balls you clear in the time allotted.  Quite addicting.  I scored 60 after quite  a bit of playing.

ROBOT BOWL: Another bowling game… this time with little animated man.  MEADOWS LANES was faster and more fun to play, but this one does seem a little more realistic… sort of.  Eventually scored 228.

SAFARI:  Big animal sprites… move up & down and shoot as much game as you can.  PETA would be proud. Just kill as many animals in as short a time as you can!  What a waste… you can’t even eat that many burgers in time for it not to spoil.  Eventually scored 5300.

*SPACE WARS:  I remember being fascinated by this machine sitting in the “game room” of a hotel.  All those buttons, modifications, different game modes.  Then that little asteroid flying around – it is suspicious that “ASTEROIDS” looks so much like this game.  (In fact – they tried to sue Atari for patent infringement!)  FIRST VECTOR GAME! A classic re-imagined, good sound effects.  Just too bad you have to play with 2-players only.  Great stuff. Lots of modifications.. very cool.

SPRINT 4:  Early racing games.  4-player.  Pretty hard to control!  Not much time for reaction speed.  At least they let you change the track and play on a myriad of tracks. Even the easiest track feels cramped competing with 3 other racers.  Bumping other cars is the hardest to predict – sending your car careening out of control.  I finally score 272 (120sec)

SPRINT 8:  8-player variation, similar to Tank 8 – where everything happens on a big table-top surface that you look down on.  Higher resolution, more complicated tracks – to allow for all 8 cars racing simultaneously. Which means you’re always crashing – the mechanics are crap, the cars drive weird, and you’re always getting slammed around.  I got 55 and was happy to quit.

SPRINT 8 “TAG & CHASE”:  Maybe more fun than the actual SPRINT 8 game… must’ve been a modded arcade board or even an official “variant”.  It lets you play a game of TAG, with countdown score.  This shows you how messed up the Sprint 8 controls are though… you can veer off in some majorly weird directions when running around.  Highest score at the end of a time limit wins.  I had 435 first time, eventually score 498.

STAR CRUISER:  Another Space war type of clone.  Enterprise-style ship against another ship.  Blasts get bigger.  Meh. Really bad computer intelligence.  Short… not so sweet.  7 to 0 is an easy achievement.

STARSHIP 1: Good 1st-person game by Atari.  Fly into deep space and shoot down a variety of ships coming at you. One of them looks like the Enterprise (so that makes YOU a bad guy, right?)  Then why are you flying for the Federation?  Hmmm. Guess some programmer never actually watched Star Trek?  Noisy – flashy game!  I suffered to 4,800 points.

*SUPER BUG: Hard, but fun!  First game to use scrolling playfield.  Race around a city – with all four directional scrolling.  See how far you can get in the time given, with extended play for doing well.  4th Gear does seem a tad beyond reaction speed would allow.  My best was finally 240 when I learned that you need to slow down MAME slightly (it’s just too fast with defaults.)  The tech specs say:  Main CPU : M6800 (@ 756 Khz) but MAME runs it at 1000Khz.  So slow it down 20-25% or so, and you’re right on the money.

TRIPLE HUNT: Another shooting gallery type of game.  But with the cool overlays and 3 modes of play, worthy of a look… but the fun is quickly over.  The Witch Hunt game gives the best score easily!  I scored 9,360 on this one once you hit extended play!  Then using the 64 sec setting I score 16,080.

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1977 was truly the year that video games arrived IN FORCE! Not only arcade games, but a decent home market is launched with the Atari 2600.  Originality is definitely on the upswing, and computers are making games more detailed and in-depth.  I noticed a trend to the “extended play” for a certain score, but many games were still on timers… no matter how good you were at the game it was over quickly.

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BEST GAMES of 1977:
* = Videogame Greats list
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* AIR-SEA-BATTLE (Atari 2600) – 2-player target shooting action.  Cool variations.
* BOOT HILL (Arcade)  – Great backdrop artwork, and computer opponent.
CIRCUS (Arcade)  – Clowns bouncing high enough to pop balloons… fun & funny
* COMBAT (Atari 2600) – Great collection of head-to-head fighting games
* DUNGEON (Mainframe ZORK)  – for being HUGE, and original and memorable on many levels.
INDY 500 (Atari 2600) – Nice variations and smooth driving
M-79 AMBUSH (Arcade) – Great sounds, good shooting action
Magic Numbers: NIM (Channel F) – For brain puzzles… this was really fun for me.
POOLSHARK (Arcade) – It’s like every kid’s dream of taking the white ball and knocking in all the balls.
* SPACE WARS (Arcade) – Really good version of a classic 2-player fight, including the lazy asteroid and modifiable gameplay.
SUPER BUG (Arcade)  – 4th gear is too fast, but otherwise important as the first background scroller
* VIDEO OLYMPICS (Atari 2600) – Just for knocking the PONG genre out of the park