Author Topic: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown  (Read 40264 times)

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Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #75 on: October 30, 2015, 06:11:00 PM »
#32 (Tie) –

31 Points, 2 Lists, Top Vote: #8 Stethacantus

Production Date: 1981
Manufacturer: Williams Electronics

In my opinion, Defender has the most ludicrous control scheme of any game ever.

You can kinda see the thought process that led to this design decision. At it's core, Defender is a side scrolling space shoot em up. Except unlike all the other side scrolling shmups at the time, this game didn't autoscroll. So, they added a "scroll the screen" (ie Thrust) button. But you're supposed to be defending the people on the surface from alien capture, which means you need some way to turn around if any thing gets past you. So they added a "swap scrolling direction" (ie Reverse) button. And of course you need a fire button, so that makes three.

Three buttons and a 2-way joystick (for up & down). As opposed 1 button and a 4-way joystick, like any sane person would have done. But wait, there's more: A fourth, "Smart Bomb"  button, which was rarely used, AND a FIFTH button for "Hyperspace" (ie randomly teleport), which nobody who knew what they were doing ever used.

So when it came time to make the sequel, Stargate, they naturally changed the controls... By adding a SIXTH BUTTON  :o Are you ****ing kidding me!?

It is somewhat ironic that the guy who designed both this and Stargate,  Eugene Jarvis, was the same guy who later broke his right hand, could no longer operate the buttons, and subsequently was inspired to design Robotron 2084, a game with two joysticks and zero buttons. In his defense, he was a pinball game designer at Williams. Defender was his first video game.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/yrkx6vuiMrE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/yrkx6vuiMrE</a>

Fun fact: there is a little known third game in this franchise: 1991's Strike Force.  You know what else came out in 1991? Street Fighter 2. Strike Force bombed hard, which is a shame because it is a fantastic game. One of my all time favorites. It has never been ported to any other platform, so unless you have an actual Strike Force machine (or at least the boards), the only way to play the game is with MAME.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/pcOJHfxS8T4" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/pcOJHfxS8T4</a>

Up next, a sports game that tries to buck the trend of sports games sucking


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #76 on: October 30, 2015, 06:28:00 PM »
Defender: The game you can't play! But if you ever ran into someone who COULD play it was like watching a ninja!


Offline stethacantus

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #77 on: October 31, 2015, 08:52:33 AM »
Defender was designed keeping in mind that by this time most avid arcade goers had championed the average video game and needed something faster and more complicated as a challenge. Or more accurate, by this time anyone who played a lot of video games was able to walk up to just about any video game and play the same machine all day on the same quarter, and then demand a refund when the proprietor needed to close the store for the night. The only way stores and mini arcades could avoid this was to either rotate the machines ( which is why your local pizzeria kept getting a new game every few weeks, even replacing the popular games ) or installing a hacked game that was unfairly hard ( which is why you would sometimes run into a Donkey Kong game where the barrels chased Mario up the ladder. ) Creating a new generation of video games that were harder to master was the next legitimate step. It was easy to clear a level on Defender. On something like Space Invaders the learning curve was a few quarters before you cleared your first screen. Defender it was possible to clear a level on your first try. What was hard was duration. As people began to be snatched it became more important to protect the people who were still left.  Even though Defender was harder to play, it only took a week before my neighborhood had it's own Defender champion, hogging up a machine on the same quarter for hours. That is until Defender was replaced with something else.

I never actually considered that the control scheme was ludicrous. So many new video games were debuting that you got a new scheme every week. I guess it all deepened on how you played the game, with your fingers extended so each button was pressed by a different finger, or hunted and pecked via running your index finger around the board to the appropriate button.


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #78 on: November 01, 2015, 07:01:05 AM »
Just a heads up.

I apologize for the delay. I was pretty damn ill yesterday, and while I'm somewhat better today, I still feel pretty crappy. I may continue the list this evening, but more likely it will be tomorrow.


Offline GregMcduck

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #79 on: November 02, 2015, 12:57:27 AM »
*walks in*
*looks around*

Sup?

*grabs a coffee*
*walks out*


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #80 on: November 02, 2015, 01:00:26 AM »
I think a unicorn just happened.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #81 on: November 02, 2015, 07:44:41 AM »
The original List-of-Crapper has graced us with his presence! Will we ever see him again? Precedence says YES! In another year or two. :^)


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #82 on: November 02, 2015, 12:20:51 PM »
So that's who's responsible for this...

Anyway, I'm feeling much better. Working on the next entries now. 


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #83 on: November 02, 2015, 01:40:34 PM »
#28 – NFL Blitz

33 Points, 3 Lists, Top Vote: #3 Soguru

Production Date: 1997
Manufacturer: Midway

NFL Blitz is like a combination of NBA Jam and Williams' "High Impact Football". And since Williams had bought out Midway, and was using the Midway label by the time Blitz came out, it's probable that was intentional. Like NBA Jam, NFL Blitz was never intended to be a "realistic" Football simulator. Instead it was supposed to be fun, something that sports games in arcades weren't exactly stellar at.

Many alterations to standard NFL rules were made, partly to make things "over the top", but also largely so the game wouldn't drag. Naturally the game was much shorter. The game clock says 2 minutes per quarter (by default) and even still, the clock ran down faster than real time. No time outs either, though the clock did stop between plays. Extra points were usually guaranteed, unless you were already way ahead. 30 yards were needed to make 1st down. Quarterbacks could make impossible throws, receivers make impossible catches, and tackles were often more akin to what you might see in a WWF game (foreshadowing). The "luck" factor in the game favored whoever was losing, with the leading team inexplicably fumbling or missing extra points.

NFL Blitz had many iterations: Original, '99, 2000, 2000 Gold Edition, and several more that were never released as arcade games.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/4CQQrbEw3mE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/4CQQrbEw3mE</a>

Fun fact: The game was supposed to be even more violent and unrealistic than it ended up being. Late in its development, Midway showed the game to the NFL, and they said "we can't have our name on this", and offered to give back the license money. Instead Midway decided to tone it down, something they continued to do more and more until 2005, when they lost the NFL license anyway, and decided to return Blitz to it's original level of craziness with Blitz: The League

Up next, that foreshadowing I just mentioned... 



Offline Sugar Ray Dodge

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #84 on: November 02, 2015, 03:45:59 PM »
#28 – NFL Blitz

33 Points, 3 Lists, Top Vote: #3 Soguru


This was beyond revolutionary when I was in High School. All we ever knew was Madden and Tecmo Bowl, so to see something like this was very jaw dropping and fun to play.


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #85 on: November 02, 2015, 04:01:54 PM »
#27 (Tie) – WWF Wrestlefest

35 Points, 2 Lists, Top Vote: #2 ScottotD

Production Date: 1991
Manufacturer: Technos

Two sports games in a row. And this one a wrestling game. You guys are killing me.

WWF Superstars, Wrestlefest, and Wrestlemania all received votes. However, Wrestlefest was the only one to break the top 50.

Wrestlefest follows the success of Superstars, this time allowing up to 4 players at a time. You've got 2 modes to choose from: "Saturday Night Main Event", which is your standard tag team wrestling game, where you go up against a series of other teams, until the title match, against the Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal). Which, if you win... you go back to the beginning and do it again. So if I'm understanding this correctly, this means you have to beat the Legion of Doom twice to officially "beat" the game.

Then there's the new mode: "Royal Rumble". You pick one character, and the other 11 come in one at a time, and you try to convince them to fight each other instead of you. Or you can pick the Ultimate Warrior, hang out in a corner, and just throw people out of the ring.

You can't normally pick either member of the Legion of Doom, or pick one member of Demolition without the other (except in RR), but thanks to MAME cheats, you can do both those things. But, what if you're in an actual arcade? It turns out there is a way to pick the LoD. What you have to do is get to the first LoD match, then join in as the second player. You will now control the LoD. Win against your old team and you'll keep playing as them. The good news, they have double the energy of the other characters. The bad news, their team finisher, Doomsday Device is kinda glitchy, seeing as how you were never meant to be able to do it. If you're not standing in exactly the right place, the game can soft-lock and you'll have to reset the machine.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/PE3H7yaeai0" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/PE3H7yaeai0</a>

Fun fact: That guy from the animated GI Joe movie is in this! Sgt. whatshisname  ;)

Up next, it's SHOWTIME!! 


Offline Sugar Ray Dodge

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #86 on: November 02, 2015, 04:39:13 PM »
#27 (Tie) – WWF Wrestlefest

35 Points, 2 Lists, Top Vote: #2 ScottotD

Production Date: 1991
Manufacturer: Technos

This was such an amazing game to see and play and I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought so. It was my #5.


Offline ScottotD

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #87 on: November 02, 2015, 04:49:36 PM »

#27 (Tie) – WWF Wrestlefest

35 Points, 2 Lists, Top Vote: #2 ScottotD

Production Date: 1991
Manufacturer: Technos

YAY!  :clap:
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Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #88 on: November 02, 2015, 06:30:39 PM »
#27 (Tie) – The Addams Family

35 Points, 2 Lists, Top Vote: #6 Johnny Unusual

Production Date: 1992
Manufacturer: Bally/Midway WMS (under the Bally label)

Let's get this out of the way: The Addams Family is the most successful pinball table of all time. Over 20,000 of these were sold, which is a LOT for a pinball game, and the game still makes money to this day. If you go anywhere that has at least 3 pinball games, there's a good chance one of them is an Addams Family. But if you're into pinball at all, you already knew that

Pat Lawlor has a reputation for designing clever and popular tables. He had already made Banzai Run, Earthshaker, Whirlwind and Funhouse, all of which were unique in some way. He always seems to be looking for some idea, something that hasn't been done before. TAF had several of those. You've got the magnetized Thing hand that grabs the ball. There's the "Thing Flips" feature, where the game operates a small side flipper on its own, aiming for the swamp. Sensors on either side of the Swamp will detect a miss and change the timing of the shot appropriately.

And then there's The Power  :grr: Pinball fans frequently joke about there being magnets under the playfield. Well, in this game, there are. Three I believe. And they move around. I don't know the exact configuration since I've never seen under the table. But when the ball makes a 90 degree turn in the middle of the playfield, that's The Power at work. The Power is often disconnected for tournaments, because you can time it out. People would cradle a ball, and just wait for it to shut off. This was a major time waster.

But, for me, and I think for a lot of people, what makes this game really great is Raul Julia (may he rest in peace) and the rest of the sound design. Julia really put his all into this game. When you start Multiball, everyone in the arcade can tell. SHOW TIME!

Now here's Bowen Kerins, multiple time PAPA champion teaching you how to play the game:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/XSw7fK6x1mw" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/XSw7fK6x1mw</a>

And here's Bowen Kerins making the most unbelievable out-lane save ever. Remember, this is tournament configuration, which makes this kind of save nearly impossible.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Mj_hBAsaCDc" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Mj_hBAsaCDc</a>

Unfun fact: This game has no ball saver  :-\ Typical of Pat Lawlor tables.

Fun fact: That's actually not true. If you plunge the ball, and it drains without touching ANY switch. The game will give you another ball. Expert players use this to hedge their bets when making the Skill Shot. If they slightly overshoot, they can let the ball drain and try again. If they undershoot, the ball will fall into the Swamp, and no more Ball Save.

Fun tangentially related fact. The guy who played Cousin It in the movie, was also the evil preacher kid in Children of the Corn. And he was actually 25 in CotC.

Up next, best 90s dance track ever!


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC 90: Top 50 Arcade Games Countdown
« Reply #89 on: November 03, 2015, 12:57:59 PM »
#25 – Mortal Kombat

36 Points, 2 Lists, Top Vote: #5 Cole Stratton

Production Date: 1992
Manufacturer: Midway

In the wake of the huge success of Street Fighter 2, other game makers were tripping over themselves to get their own fighting games out. Most of them (including a HELL of a lot of Neo-Geo/SNK games) were little more that Street Fighter knock offs. Same style, similar control scheme. There were two main contenders in the fighting game arena that were distinctly different than what Capcom did with SF2. One was Virtua Fighter, the other was Mortal Kombat. Ed Boon and John Tobias were told by Midway they had a year to design and program a game that would rival SF2. They did it in 10 months, with only a handful of employees helping them. 

Some of the key differences between SF style games and MK included: a Block button (a la Virtua Fighter), many universal traits for all characters, such as uppercuts, sweeps, and identical jump arcs. Every character had a projectile of some sort, and projectiles didn't cancel each other out like in SF.

And then there was the violence. Uppercuts and roundhouse kicks sent blood flying, and the winner of each match had the option of doing a finishing move (aka Fatality, even though Liu Kang's wasn't fatal). The idea of finishing moves came from the "Dizzy" mechanic in SF2. Boon hated it. But he liked the idea of getting to pummel on your opponent for free. Tobias suggested they put the dizzy at the end of the match, after the winner was already decided. Thus came Fatalities, and in later games Babalities, Friendships, Animalities......

Mortal Kombat was hugely successful, which prompted Senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Khol to hold hearings about "Video game violence and the corruption of society." In truth, it wasn't so much the violence, but the fact that is was violence perpetrated by realistic looking characters against other realistic looking characters. Games like Mortal Kombat, Night Trap and Lethal Enforcers were the reason why the ESRB rating system was introduced. (Un)fortunately, arcade games are available to the general public, whether a portion of that public wants it, or not.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GqHoBe13mdI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GqHoBe13mdI</a>  <a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/CUBAKk64FS8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/CUBAKk64FS8</a>

Fun fact, guess who came up with the name Mortal Kombat. Steve Ritchie, the most prolific Pinball designer ever. At that time, Williams (by FAR the largest pinball producer in the world) owned Midway

Another fun fact, they wanted Jean-Claude Van Damme to be in the game, as himself. VD refused in favor of a different video game related project that was never finished. Boon and Tobias designed Johnny Cage as a parody of Van Damme.

Last fun fact (unless I think of more). "Noob Saibot", who appears in much later MK games, is Boon Tobias spelled backwards.

Up next, a movie, a video game and a pinball game have the exact same title....