Nintendo‘s 1982 arcade game, Popeye, was somewhat ahead of its time, and also in some respects as archaic to play as a Game & Watch.
It was ahead of its time in the way that it used a relatively high screen resolution (512×448), which results in quite detailed, high res sprites that are unusual for the time.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the background graphics, which look like something designed on an Atari 2600… In fact: Popeye is a weird mix of graphical resolutions, but this weirdness doesn’t affect the gameplay at all.
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The video game arcades of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s were very special places. They were where the majority of innovation was taking place in the video games industry, and over those three decades countless classic video games were released into these dingy, constantly noisy places for friends to crowd around and play. Video game arcades were social places where all kinds of different people hung out.
Arcade games were usually defined by three things. 1. You had to put coins into video games to play them (why they were also called ‘coin-ops’). 2. They usually featured the most cutting edge graphics and sound, or gimmick, to attract players to play them, and 3. They were more often than not incredibly difficult games to master, because everyone involved in their manufacture and distribution wanted you to put as much money into their machines as possible.
The good thing now is:…
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Aero Fighters 2 (also known as Sonic Wings 2) is a superb vertically-scrolling bullet hell shooter from 1994, developed by Video System and published by SNK on the Neo Geo.
It can be played single, or simultaneous two-player, and you can choose between eight different aircraft to fly. Well, not really ‘fly’, but you know what I mean…
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The Neo Geo is a high-end Japanese video games system, designed for use in both arcades, and at home. It was developed by SNK and first launched in 1990.
The MVS (Multi Video System) was for arcade cabinets. Arcade operators could buy a single cabinet and easily switch out the MVS cartridge inside for another game. Making them very versatile machines on the circuit. And very rentable.
A home console version of the Neo Geo, called the AES (Advanced Entertainment System), was first released in 1990 too (as a rental – 1991 for the actual home version) and it really blew people away. The capabilities of the AES blew away other home consoles out of the water for the best part of the decade too. As did its price, which was eye-watering… The Neo Geo AES is and was always considered a “luxury” console…
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Taito‘s Arkanoid was released into arcades in 1986 and did for bat and ball games (often referred to as Breakout clones) what Mario did for platform games. That is: revitalise them with new ideas and features.
The name “Arkanoid” refers to the ship that the player’s vessel – the “Vaus” – escapes from, which is shown in the introduction. Controlling the Vaus was by a dial, or paddle, on the cabinet, which allowed for quick, analogue movement of the bat. This was pretty much essential, because the ball speeds up the longer it is on-screen. Playing the game now, in MAME for example, the analogue controls are often switched to digital, which seriously hampers the player’s ability to move quickly. It pretty much ruins the game… So anyone wanting to play Arkanoid the way it should be played will have to switch the controls back to analogue…
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