This is cover of the first issue of the fan magazine Electronic Games published in the Winter of 1981. Nightrob has a great set of EG cover art in his Flickr stream if you’d like to see some quintessential 80’s game art. The moving 8-bit creatures are from the famous game Space Invaders, sadly I was never particularly good at that game but I love the look of the graphics. Take a listen to some sounds from the original play – I love the old-school oscillators and beeps.
In the era of stand-up arcades, I played occasionally at a roller skating rink called Great American Skate (and yes I did skate too, badly). My favorite stand-up by far was Tempest which had a dial instead of a joystick to rotate a shooter about a variety of almost crystalline spaces. Various geometric objects would attempt to climb toward the exterior of the crystal and you were to shoot them back.
But I spent much more time playing games on the memorable consoles built by Atari, Colecovision, and Intellivision. I played a lot of 8-bit Donkey Kong, Pit Fall, and Pac-Man. But I didn’t really go over the gaming deep end until I bought my Commodore 64, a system that almost single-handedly destroyed the still young video game industry. The C64 used rewritable floppy disks, instead of ROM based cartridges which made it very easy to copy and trade games. I made an homage animated GIF for my favorite game on that platform – Karateka.
Probably for the better, I peaked as a gamer at around 13-14 years-old. I’m a total novice with games today and mastering a controller that requires every single one of my digits to perform independently isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Joystick #4life.