Tag Archives: blasto

Childhood Video Games: Part 1

Inspired by KateKintail‘s recent posts about favorite childhood video games (here and here), I decided it was high time I blathered on about mine for a little while.

I’m going to split this into three posts. A lot of the games in this first post will probably seem almost-but-not-quite familiar to you, because our main gaming console was a TI-99 computer, and thus most of our favorite games were blatant Atari rip-offs. We never owned an Atari or Nintendo, so this is all we knew (though I remember watching friends play Q*Bert, Legend of Zelda, and Duck Hunt). And I say “we” because it was usually a group of us huddled around the computer, watching someone else play and not-so-patiently awaiting our turn.


TI Invaders

It was only several years after playing this game that I was even made aware of the existence of Space Invaders. I did pretty well, even getting to levels where new aliens were added, but of course it’s not a game you ever actually beat.

TI Invaders game play video



Tunnels of Doom

My first real RPG, and we just loved it. Watching actual gameplay on YouTube is excruciating, though – I’d completely forgotten how you had to wait a few seconds for the screen to reload every. single. time. you took a step. This is one I don’t recall ever winning, but I do know we often played as a group, each claiming a character and telling whoever had the controller what they wanted to do next.

Tunnels of Doom game play video



Blasto

Another one that’s super annoying to watch now, as the music restarts every single time there is another sound. Which was a lot, since this entire game is about tanks blowing things up.

Blasto game play video



Munchman

TI’s answer to Pac-Man, only instead of eating dots you leave a chain in your wake, and the monsters change every level.

Munch Man game play video



A-MAZE-ING

You play a tiny mouse trying to get through a maze without getting eaten by a gigantic cat. (Seriously, the mouse was about the same size as the cat’s eye.) I got pretty good at it, but I preferred to make the cat dumb. I was kind of a wimp. (Still am.)

A-MAZE-ING game play video



Alpiner

“You forgot to duck!” The theme music to this game was Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg, and you can imagine my excitement when I later played it on the piano. What was most memorable about this game was the reasonably sophisticated (if maddening) voice synthesizer. We often would protest, “But I can’t duck!”

Alpiner game play video



Parsec

A side-scroller with a ship blasting its way through the cosmos while trying not to crash into rocks. That’s…pretty much it, actually.

Parsec game play video



Car Wars

Cars making horrendous noises as they race around a squarish track until they smash into each other. We had simple pleasures back then.

Car Wars game play video



Hustle

Pretty sure this game is a rip-off but I don’t know the name of the real one. It’s the game where you’re a snake and every move you get longer and the idea is to last longer than your opponent without running into them or yourself.



Return to Pirates Isle

I only mention this one because we played it – or at least tried to. We never could figure out the proper commands to input in order to actually accomplish anything beyond finding the glasses.


What did you play in the 1980s? Did you have a TI-99, or was it an Atari or Nintendo or something else? What were your favorite games?

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