I'm old enough to have had a Magnavox Odyssey video game system when I was a kid. My brother owned one of those mini arcade cabinets from Coleco (Pac Man), and we'd take turns running the map, swallowing dots and chasing ghosts to beat each others' high score for hours.
I never had an Atari like my friend down the block, or a Commodore 64 (but my cousin did).
That's why spending time at the Video Game History Museum, plopped down smack in the middle of the show floor at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last week in Los Angeles felt like coming home.
Enjoy these photos of some of video games' long history (sorry, Apple fans, there wasn't a Pippin on display), and I'll try not to feel too old.
This is one of the first arcade games I can remember playing. It was released in 1980 by Atari, and later licensed to Sega for European countries. The controls consist of a round ball that you spin with your palm to move a crosshair across the screen, and a button to fire laser beams at the missiles coming to destroy your city. It gets frantic as the missiles come in from all directions.
My very first exposure to video games came from my dad, who came home with a new TV in the early 1970s. This Magnavox television had a video game built right in — you’d plug the weird controllers with the one button and a radial dial on top into the set, and get to play one of three Pong variants, each with a slow or fast speed. It was crazy fun, at least until my neighbor got an Atari.
The Atari Mindlink was never released, though it was supposed to come out in 1984 for the Atari 2600. It was developed to read your head muscles (not actually your mind) and move stuff in the games developed for it, Bionic Breakthrough and Mind Maze. The games never even came out, either. Test players got headaches, apparently, moving their eyebrows around to play these uninteresting games.
I never had one of these pretty things, but I wish I had; it looks like it’s right out of a sci-fi movie. Bambino’s Superstar Football is way cooler than the one I had. I mean, just look at that thing: I want to play it in an egg chair.
My brother had the PacMan version of this amazing little Mini Arcade game and boy did we play the crap out of it. I still have sense memories of lying flat on my stomach and gripping the tiny little joystick in my hand as I anticipated every twist and turn of the never-changing map. The ghosts were my nemesis, the dots, my salvation. Apparently, Coleco sold 3 million units of these bad boys in 1982.
The kids playing this game last week at E3 all looked up and cheered when another old dude walked by and said, “That’s the best game, ever!” Put out for the arcade by Sega in 1989, it’s loosely based on the film of the same name and endorsed by MJ himself. This is still a pretty cool game.
Here’s the original wearable game controller, the Nintendo Power Glove. Made by Mattel and released for the Nintendo entertainment system in 1989, it was supposed to be the future of video gaming, much like 3D and VR are today. Nintendo pushed the peripheral in its 1989 film, The Wizard, giving us the best line ever: “I love the Power Glove. It's so bad!”
I didn’t even know this thing existed for real until last week, but given my own name, I sure wish I had. Released in 1985 as a novelty toy to save Nintendo from the video game crash of 1983, it only worked with two games and never really took off. It's still cute as all heck, though.
Sega’s answer to the super successful Nintendo Entertainment System, the Master System came out in 1986. Even though it’s generally considered a better technical system than the NES, the Sega Master System didn’t quite overthrown Nintendo’s juggernaut, most likely due to mascots like Mario and Link. It did, however, become the basis for the handheld Game Gear, and saw the first release of Sega’s own popular mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, in 1991.
These fine young gentlemen are engaging in a round of Virtua Cop 2, a light-gun arcade game that moves the player’s characters through a predetermined route, asking you to shoot the bad guys as they appear, like a moving shooting gallery. There are still games in arcades to this day that play almost identically, just with better graphics and sound. These guys were having a blast, though.
It was my job to stalk the surrounding map, eating smaller creatures in order to build up my armor and get evolution points, which would let me add and strengthen my special monstrous abilities.
I had to do this while being hunted by a team of four humans, each with their own specialty: the heavily armored, damage-dealing Assault class, the crafty Trapper with her energy-field dome to fence me in, the Support class, with a variety of ranged weapons, and the Medic, who kept healing those bastards as I hit them with my own smart bombs, electric attacks and sharp claws.
It was a heady, scary time, but I persevered. I flew up to the sky, hurling furious attacks upon their heads. I ran away, hiding behind huge rock columns to avoid their deadly assault. I ate and evolved.
Then, after about 20 minutes of furious action, I died, the victim of their unwarranted greed and violence.
I loved playing Evolve, and so will you. Check out the trailer below to see the Kraken, the second monster revealed for the upcoming console and PC game.
Chances are you’ve heard of Tamagotchi, the little handheld virtual pets that took over the world during the first decade of the 2000s, selling more than 76 million little egg-shaped devices as of 2010.
Hatch is one of the many virtual pet apps out there, but it’s an adorable one. You may even recognize the little Fugu creature from its own Facebook Messenger sticker series.
Virtual pets aren’t anything new to the iOS ecosystem, but this new collaboration between Hatch and super-popular video game Pocket God is something new. If you’ve ever thought about doing more with that little digital pal in your pocket, now might be the time. Check out the launch video below for more.
Ride the dragon to victory in Jetpack Joyride, now totally free.
Halfbrick Studios, the folks behind massively popular endless-runner Jetpack Joyride have decided that the best way to get you to play their games is to give them away for a grand total of nothing.
The Brisbane-based game development studio was founded in 2001, and has gone on to make a ton of popular games across iOS and other platforms, including fruit-slashing hit Fruit Ninja and tongue-in-cheek giant robot game Colossatron.
There’s also Fruit Ninja Puss in Boots, the endless-runner Monster Dash, the song-creation game Band Stars, dual-stick shooter favorite Age of Zombies, and the wacky Fish Out of Water, where you get to flick various marine creatures across the top of the ocean for distance and style-based high scores.
All of these games will work on your iPhone or iPad, and — since you’re buying them at the free price now — you will own them into perpetuity.
You can grab any one of Halfbrick’s premium games for nothing right now, so head on over.
Your smartphone is an increasingly important battlefield in the ongoing war of the gaming consoles. Companion iOS apps for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One aim to enhance the way you interact with your gaming system. These apps let you access your gaming achievements on the go, communicate with friends and even use your iOS device as a remote for your console.
In today’s video, we’ll give you a look at how the PlayStation and Xbox One SmartGlass apps compare.
Inventive titles like Leo’s Fortune are putting a new face on iOS gaming. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
A simple glance at the stunning games perched atop the App Store game lists reveals we are experiencing a golden age for mobile gaming.
From the surreal, mind-bending Monument Valley to the Pixar movie brought to life that is Leo’s Fortune, 2014 has seen some of the most startlingly original gaming experiences in years arrive on iOS.
“I do feel like we are in a boom period,” says John Comes, design director at Uber Entertainment, the company behind games like the newly released Toy Rush.
Although Apple has been a hub of gaming going back to the glory days of the Apple II, today’s crop of hot titles are reshaping the landscape like never before. The present explosion of innovative iOS games results from several fortuitous factors coming together. Here’s why there’s never been a better time to be a gamer.
If you haven’t gotten enough of disgruntled avians from Rovio’s hit series Angry Birds, what with last week’s Angry Birds Epic or the well-received Angry Birds Star Wars mobile games, then this news is for you.
Rovio has teamed up with Hasbro to mashup its own quirky mobile gaming franchise with yet another pop-culture phenomenon, the Transformers. And not the Michael Bay hyper-CGI movies, either. This looks to be a full-on 1980s cartoon take on the “robots in disguise” theme, complete with birds disguised as robots that can turn into cars and airplanes.
The KOR-FX Vest modeled by an actress at the E3 booth. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
LOS ANGELES — Drop this tactical-style vest onto your shoulders and fasten it high on your chest, and you’re suddenly feeling the action. Using audio-based haptic technology (the kind of rumbling vibrations that you’ll find in any video gaming controller), the KOR-FX turns the audio in the game into rumbles you can feel.
The makers of this new gaming peripheral have a few prototypes set up on the show floor at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this week, and they’ll let all comers come and try a demo.
“Some people want to wear this thing lower on their chest, but up high is what stimulates the limbic system,” Seth Fandetti, CEO of Immerz (the makers of the KOR-FX) told us onsite at the expo. “It’s more than just feeling bullets hit you; it’s a whole immersive experience.”
Game: Sunset Overdrive Artist: Julien Renoult Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: Microsoft
Instead of trotting out the cliché question, “Are games art?,” an exhibit at the Electronic Entertainment Expo aims to explore the actual artwork from upcoming and recently announced video games.
Long gone are the pixellated abstracts of yesteryear: these are fully realized, gorgeous works of art in various styles, hung for all to see in the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the Expo takes place this week.
Developing today’s graphics-rich video games –mobile, console, or PC — takes a lot of time, talent, and passion, and the images above show the kind of artistic energy that is put into them. From the painterly styles of artwork from Assassin’s Creed Unity and Destiny to the poster illustration of The Banner Saga and Sunset Overdrive, there’s a lot to like in the images above.