This was one of the original, if not the original, maze shooting game. Simple graphics for a simple time. You just ran from room to room avoiding and shooting robots. There was a time element of sorts, because if you didn’t clear out of the room fast enough, a super giant bouncing robot would come along to destroy you. Easy to play at early levels, but this game grew increasingly difficult. An early favorite.
Captain America and The Avengers
This game from 1991 was kind of a latecomer during the heyday of the video arcades, but it had some fantastic graphics for the times. You played Captain America or one of the other super heroes from the group The Avengers. This was basically a scrolling fighting game where you faced all different kinds of enemies, including some pretty tough bosses at the end of each level. The action was superb, and the graphics were top notch. Really an excellent game.
I’ve always had a certain fondness for Food Fight, though I never could get past the first few levels because the game just got too fast for me. It had cartoony graphics, but that was part of its charm. The little guy you played went around grabbing food and tossing it at chefs. A joy to play.
Jungle Hunt (aka Jungle King)
This arcade game came in two different versions, Jungle Hunt or Jungle King, and they were basically the same game except in Jungle Hunt the character you played was a mighty hunter with a pith helmet while in Jungle King you played a character with long hair who kind of looked like Tarzan. This was another game that was sort of like playing four different games. Basically there were four different screens you had to go through to complete a level, and each screen had you doing different tasks. The first screen you had to jump from one swinging vine to another. Then you had to jump rocks. The third screen had you swimming through a river while avoiding crocodiles. The final screen you had to jump over two witchdoctors and rescue a fair maiden. A simple game, even for the early ’80s, but still fun to play.
This was one of the better games that was basically another version of Donkey Kong. In Kangaroo you play a mother kangaroo who has to climb ladders, jump holes in the ground and avoid monkeys to reach your baby kangaroo. The graphics were decent for the time, and had some of the brightest colors I can remember.
You’re in a moon car patrolling, where else?, the moon. You have to avoid craters and boulders on the ground and alien spaceships above trying to drop bombs on you. Another scrolling game. This one had what at the time was sort of a unique feature allowing you to slow down or speed up your scrolling moon vehicle. Of course this quickly became pretty standard stuff. The graphics were a bit clunky, but that didn’t matter much in the early ’80s.
What a game? You played a giant monster destroying buildings and eating people. What more could you ask for? And the graphics were pretty solid, giving a bit of a cartoon effect to whichever monster you played. If your monster proceeded too far, the military would show up with tanks, but you could tank them out, too. And there were always people sticking their heads out of windows while trying to shoot at you or drop dynamite on you.
A very early game that was possibly my first favorite video game. There’s an enemy mother ship in the center of the screen. That ship is surrounded by force fields. Your job is to fly in, shoot away the force fields, then destroy that enemy ship. Sounds easy. It wasn’t. The force field would continue to grow, and other enemy missiles and ships would come after you. I spent plenty of hours playing Star Castle.
There were a ton of Pac-Man sequels, but this was always my favorite. Instead of eating boring old dots, you got to eat items that were special in earlier Pac-Man games, like keys and fruit. And by eating a special, yellow dot, you’re Pac-Man became a giant Super Pac-Man that was immune to the ghosts wandering around. I liked it, but this was always a hard game to find for me.
Kind of a goofy game. You’re in a race floating down a river. You have to avoid garbage and animals in the river that will sink you, and you need to go through certain markers that increase your score. I got pretty decent at this game, and it could get hard at higher levels. The game controls took a little to get used to because you were constantly slapping buttons to get your floating innertube to flap from one side of the river to the other. Still, that unique control system only added to the game once you got used to it.