Developed by Jeff Minter of Llamasoft and published by Atari Corporation in 1995, Defender 2000 is a re-imagining of the classic Williams Electronics arcade game from 1981, but with more ‘realistic’ graphics. It was an Atari Jaguar exclusive and only appeared on Atari‘s ill-fated console, in cartridge form. It was released as a companion title to Tempest 2000 – also by Llamasoft – and which is arguably the better game of the two. Both are decent games, though.
Sheep in Space is a weird horizontal shoot ’em up, written by Jeff Minter and published by Llamasoft in 1984, and featuring a flying sheep who must complete horizontally-scrolling levels by shooting all the available enemies. Sheep in Space has its roots in Defender and Jeff‘s previous game, Ancipital.
A trippy Asteroids tribute originally released for the Acorn Archimedes in 1993, Spheres of Chaos was re-programmed and re-released free for Windows and Linux by the original author, Iain McLeod, in 2012. And it’s still available to download for free from spheresofchaos.com – at the time of writing.
Developed by Game Design Sweden AB, Kula World is an impressive ball-rolling puzzle game where you must roll around 3D mazes that are floating high above the ground and collect keys to unlock the exit.
Developed by Johnson Voorsanger Productions for Sega and published on the Megadrive in 1991, Toejam & Earl is a cult collect ’em up starring two alien rappers who have crash-landed on Earth.
Fantasy Zone is a colourful scrolling shooter from 1986. It was created by Sega and it looks simple and cartoony, but is in fact very challenging.
The main character, Opa-Opa, is sometimes referred to as “Sega‘s first mascot” and is very similar to the one seen in the earlier TwinBee. Both TwinBee and this game have been credited with the creation of the “cute ’em up” genre, and that is probably not too far from the truth.
This 1998 Gremlin/Fox Interactive release for the Sony PlayStation is a fast, tunnel-based shoot ’em up with trippy visuals and a pumping Crystal Method soundtrack. It was designed and programmed by the prolific Tony Crowther.
Developed by United Game Artists and released simultaneously for the Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation 2 in 2001, Rez is a trippy, mind-bendingly-original and visually-stunning ‘Rail Shooter’ (meaning: the path you follow is ‘on rails’, like a rollercoaster), with hacking and music influences.
This 1994 cult classic Super Nintendo level-grinder was originally titled “Mother 2” in its native Japan – later changed in English-speaking territories to EarthBound.
This was due to the fact that no one outside of Japan had seen the first Mother (released in 1989 on the NES) and the bigwigs at Nintendo of America worried that it might confuse people.