Colony 7, Arcade

Taito‘s American division developed this vertical screen base defence game in 1981. Colony 7 owes quite a bit to Missile Command, if the truth be known, and was also probably the very first video game to feature “rip-off” micro-transactions too…

What you’re basically doing in Colony 7 is fighting off waves of alien invaders, who are constantly attacking your base (probably because you invaded their lands and enacted genocide on their people – isn’t that what colonialism’s all about?).

Your base has a protective layer over it, but this can easily be eroded by aliens dropping bombs on it, so you must be quick fighting them off. If the aliens destroy your two guns (positioned either side of the base shield), or the entire base itself, then it’s game over. And – let me just say – that ‘game over’ comes fast and frequently in Colony 7… It’s not an easy game at all, and it eats coins in a manner than would’ve had me kicking the cabinet, had I played it back in the 80s!

You can fire at the invaders using three different weapons. A regular cannon shot (with area damage), the “Megablaster” (a bomb that sends bullets across the entire screen), and the “Eradicator” (a single-use smart bomb the destroys everything on screen). This is where the aforementioned “micro-transactions” element comes in. Dropping extra coins into the cabinet before playing gives you access to “extended weaponry”, which can make fighting the aliens off easier… It’s a dodgy, exploitative system that thankfully wasn’t adopted widely by arcade manufacturers at the time.

There’s no high score table either, and scoring is pretty measly overall (you get 50 points for completing stage one (which is quite hard) – wowee…), so Colony 7 seems a bit pointless to me. What’s the point of playing a wave-based game as difficult as this if there’s no high score table?!

Colony 7 was quite influential on other games that followed afterwards, though. Atlantis, by Imagic, pretty much copies this game. Maybe even improves on it…

If I was being honest: I’m not a big fan of Colony 7. It’s too frustrating – maybe even cynical – for my liking. But those wanting a challenging might like it.

More: Colony 7 on Wikipedia

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