Before there was Pac-Man, before there was even Space Invaders, there was Sea Wolf.. Introduced in 1976 by the Midway company, Sea Wolf was the first arcade video game many of that generation got to play.
The game controls were unique for the time, and are still unusual even today, with a periscope as the main control mechanism. A player peered through the periscope’s viewing glass, lined up a shot against enemy ships, then pushed a little button on the side of the periscope to launch a torpedo. The torpedo’s shot out from the bottom of the screen and smashed ships at the top of the screen, though there were floating mines in the water that could get in the way of your shots.
Also, Sea Wolf helped to set the standards for arcade game packaging with its plywood body and artwork on the sides and front of the machine, still a common practice to this day for many arcade games.
Sea Wolf was a relatively slow game, even by standards of the mid-1980s, but during the mid-1970s it was great fun. Sea Wolf introduced thousands to video games and arcade games, and it helped to pave the way for the future success of such arcade hits as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger and more. Without Sea Wolf, early arcade games wouldn’t have been the same most likely.
Unfortunately, Sea Wolf was never the most popular of games and is mostly a forgotten game nowadays except by the oldest retro gamers. It was ported a few times to computer systems of the early 1980s, and in 2008 a retro 3-D version was released called Sea Wolf: The Next Mission, but the game never had much success beyond the arcades where it was king for a very short while.
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