Monday, November 17, 2008

star raiders living room mods

Wil Wheaton talks about playing Star Raiders on an Atari 400:

When I was 10 or 11, I arranged a TV tray, a dining room chair, and a worn blanket to make a small tent in front of our 24-inch TV set. I carefully moved our Atari 400 onto the tray and plugged Star Raiders into the cartridge slot. I flipped the power on, picked up the joystick, and booted up my imagination as I sat in the command chair of my very own space ship. For the next hour, I was a member of the Atarian Starship Fleet. I was all that stood between the Zylon Empire and the destruction of humanity. Through my cockpit’s viewscreen (developed at great expense by the RCA corporation back on Earth) I blasted Zylon starships and Zylon basestars, and I would have defeated them all, if my meddling mother hadn’t made me stop and eat dinner!
Other than my viewscreen being developed by Sony, this is an eerily familiar story.  Were all mothers actually Zylon spies, paid to disrupt the resistance?

Star Raiders, along with Rally Speedway, were probably the two games I played the most on my Atari 400.  Star Raiders, because it had so many ways to play -- do you just run away and turn it into tail gunner? try to finish the game without docking at a base? -- and it was like playing Star Wars and was the first person game to play until Behind Jaggi Lines! leaked out into the Atari underground.  Rally Speedway, because it was multiplayer and let you make your own tracks!  Incredibly impressive stuff for 8-bit computers.

Oh, and Dog Daze, the most perfectly balanced two-player combat game ever.  I shudder to think how much time my friend John and I spent playing that game.

1 comment:

Streetviewr said...

What great memories. Hours spent playing Star Raiders, Necromancer, Caverns of Mars, Preppie, Sea Dragon, Ball Blazer... those were the days - I wonder what changed.