Archive for the ‘Midway’ Tag

Spy Hunter   2 comments

Spy Hunter cabinetAt first glance Spy Hunter appears to be a driving game, but it soon becomes apparent that it’s actually more of a top-down shooter like Galaxian or Galaga.  The player controls a sports car which is initially equipped with machine guns, and later acquires oil slick, smoke screen and missile capabilities by driving into the back of a weapons van while driving down the road at full speed.  The player must evade and destroy enemy vehicles while avoiding any damage to civilian vehicles.  The player’s car also transforms into a boat at times when the road meets a waterway, then transforms back into a car when necessary.

The game’s has a unique set of controls, consisting of a control yoke, a gear shift and an accelerator pedal.  The control yoke has two triggers, two thumb buttons and a button to call the weapons van.

Spy Hunter is one of the few games I played in an arcade as a kid.  A friend had his birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza, and each kid got a few tokens to play whatever they wanted in the arcade.  I spent all my tokens on Spy Hunter, and it was worth it.

Spy Hunter was created by George Gomez, and features the Peter Gunn theme by Henry Mancini as it’s background music.  The game was produced by Bally/Midway in 1983.


Baby Pac-Man   Leave a comment

Baby Pac-Man cabinetBaby Pac-Man is a sequel to Pac-Man which is part video game and part pinball.  The game starts in video mode with a fairly standard Pac-Man maze, with one difference – there are two escape chutes at the bottom of the screen.  When Baby Pac-Man goes down one of the chutes the game switches to pinball mode.  The player gets power pellets (referred to as energizers), fruits, extra lives and other power ups when playing the pinball portion, then once the ball is lost the video portion of the game resumes.

Baby Pac-Man was released by Bally in 1982.

Galaga   2 comments

Galaga cabinetGalaga came out in 1981 and is the sequel to Galaxian.  Like Galaxian, Galaga is a space shooter.  Unlike Galaxian, in Galaga each level starts with no aliens.  Several waves of aliens fly in and take up formation at the top of the screen, after which a few aliens at a time will dive and attack the player’s ship.  One particular type of alien, called “Galagas,” occasionally use a tractor beam to try to capture the player’s ship.  If the player’s ship is captured (and the player still has additional ships), the player can attempt to free the captured ship by destroying the Galaga which captured it.  Once the captured ship is freed, it joins the other player ship at the bottom of the screen, and both ships fight the aliens side-by-side.

Galaga was produced by Namco and distributed in North America by Midway.

Posted October 20, 2012 by darthphilburt in Video Games

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Ms. Pac-Man   1 comment

Ms. Pac-Man cabinet
Ms. Pac-Man started its life as an unauthorized modification of Pac-Man by General Computer Corporation called Crazy Otto.  Around the time GCC was creating Crazy Otto they were being sued by Atari over Super Missile Attack, an unauthorized modification they had made of Atari’s game Missile Command.  GCC lost that case, and decided to try selling Crazy Otto to Midway, the company which had distributed Pac-Man in North America, rather than risking another lawsuit.  Midway had been waiting impatiently for Namco to produce a sequel to Pac-Man, and they jumped on the chance to buy Crazy Otto.  They modified the character sprites to make them look more Pac-Man-esque, making the main character female as a tribute to the female fans who helped make Pac-Man so popular.

The gameplay of Ms. Pac-Man is essentially the same as Pac-Man.  The main differences are that the level color and layout change every other level, and the fruit bounce around the maze rather than remaining stationary.

Ms. Pac-Man was released in North America by Midway in 1981.

Journey   1 comment

In Journey the members of the band Journey have had their instruments stolen by aliens.  The player has to navigate each band member through a stage full of obstacles to retrieve their instrument.  Once all the instruments are retrieved the band plays on stage while the player controls a bouncer fighting an uphill battle against fans rushing the stage.  Eventually a fan will get through, the instruments are stolen again, and the stages repeat at a higher level of difficulty.

I expected this game to be lame when I first tried it, but it was actually pretty fun.  The character sprites each have a black and white cutout of a band member’s head, which sounds cheesy but works surprisingly well.  The background music for each stage is a digitized version of one of Journey’s songs, except the concert stage, when a looped tape inside the machine plays Journey’s song “Separate Ways”.

Journey was released in 1983 by Bally/Midway.

Posted September 28, 2012 by darthphilburt in Music, Video Games

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Galaxian   2 comments

Galaxian Cabinet
Galaxian, while not an official sequel to Space Invaders, was its spiritual successor.  Like Space Invaders, in Galaxian the player controls a ship which shoots at aliens flying in formation.  However, in Galaxian there are no shields for the player to hide behind, and the aliens leave formation to attack the player.

Galaxian was the first game to feature multi-color sprites.  It was created in 1979 by Kazunori Sawano, Kōichi Tashiro and Shigekazu Ishimura for Namco and distributed in North America by Midway.

Space Invaders   1 comment

Space Invaders cabinet
Space Invaders is the grand daddy of all space shooter games.  It was released in 1978 by Taito in Japan, and distributed in the North America by Midway.

The object of the game is to defend the planet against waves of alien invaders as they descend from the sky.  The player controls a laser base, moving it back and forth to shoot the aliens or hide behind a set of shields.  The game’s designer, Tomohiro Nishikado, took advantage of the limitations of the game’s hardware: The game moves slowly at first due to the large number of alien sprites on the screen, but as sprites are eliminated the game becomes faster and more frantic.