Atari Games‘ 1990 arcade game Rampart is a strange but compelling single-screen castle-building action game, with artillery-based shooting sections.
This is the 1979, black and white arcade game, Basketball, as developed and manufactured by Atari Inc. It had two trackballs on the cabinet – one for each player.
Designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey, Centipede is a superfast fixed-screen shoot ’em up from the arcades of 1981.
You control a bullet-spitting head at the bottom and must shoot the Centipede as it trundles down the screen. Shooting any piece of the Centipede turns that segment into a mushroom. If the Centipede‘s head hits a mushroom it’ll turn around and move one place lower on the screen, so shooting the mushrooms can give you time and keep the Centipede higher up the screen.
When the Centipede reaches the bottom it can hit and kill you, so the game’s designers give you some leeway and allow you to move up and down within a small strip at the bottom of the screen. If you do manage to avoid the Centipede and it reaches the bottom, it will then stay in that portion of the screen until either you or it are dead.
Of course: completely eradicating the Centipede spawns a whole new level, a new, more difficult Centipede, and a colour change.
Centipede arcade cabinets were mostly fitted with a trackball, for fast, fluid, analogue control of the head. It was one of the first shooters to feature extremely fast gameplay and movement. A simple shooter from Atari, but pure and tough and influential.
Atari‘s 1980 arcade hit, Missile Command, is a frenetic and chilling race to destroy nuclear warheads raining down on your cities.
Using a trackball controller (or a mouse, if you’re playing in an emulator), the player must move a cursor to the correct place, and fire defensive shots towards the oncoming missiles, although the timing has to be right, to enable you to catch them within the blast radius of an explosion.
You have six cities to defend, and when they are all destroyed it is game over.
Missile Command is an extremely challenging and tense game, made even more difficult by the fact that the incoming missiles speed up as the waves progress. It’s easy to lose control in all the mayhem…
Always relevant, while there are nuclear missiles (and madmen controlling them), throughout the world.
Atari’s 1984 arcade hit was a very early proponent of isometric (meaning: “equal measure”) graphics, with a viewpoint that takes an overhead, three-quarter perspective of the game play area, and as a result was a huge influence on many games that followed it. It wasn’t the FIRST isometric game ever made, but it was certainly one of the first really popular ones. Marble Madness still stands up extremely well today, being very playable and beautifully constructed.