Crash Bandicoot: 5 Reasons Why It’s The Best Platformer

Naughty Dog has taken the spotlight recently due to gaming marvels like The Last Of Us, The Nathan Drake Collection and the upcoming (and much anticipated) release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. With all the praise and excitement received on behalf of these unquestionably awesome titles, it is almost as if we’ve forgotten that some time ago now, The Naughty Dog team presented us players with the greatest, most memorable platformer of all time, Crash Bandicoot.

The game’s aim was all but a simple one, ”beat the bad guys”, and yet Crash Bandicoot proceeded to go down as legend, a wonderful Playstation Classic. Here’s 5 very plausible reasons as to why Crash Bandicoot is in fact the best platformer game.

1. The Game Is Wack!

To summarise Crash Bandicoot generally, the game is extremely whacky. The foundations for this general feel to the game are laid at the very first level, Crash’s home N.Sanity beach (an obvious play on the word ”insanity” for the more oblivious reader). As soon as Crash, Naughty Dog’s anthropomorphic rendition of a bandicoot, gets swept up onto the sandy shores of the island, the craziness begins to unfold as he has to traverse through evil crabs and tortoises in order to complete the level. Snapping plants and lily pads, hostile mammal wildlife including bosses Ripper Roo (a mutated kangaroo in a straight jacket) and Koala Kong (an over grown, body-building koala) and strange unpredictable settings all contribute to the whacky atmosphere the player will be subdued to as they play eagerly through this platformer’s painfully addictive levels.

A game series released more recently with mildly comparable wackiness was Rayman Origins and it’s sequel Rayman Legends (Ubisoft). Despite it’s vibrant, crazy settings and the games general incoherence, it still struggled to compete with our Crash Bandicoot classic.

crash bandicoot 4

 

2. Crazy Yet Cute

Nothing makes a game more memorable and enjoyable than a downright awesome character stealing the leading role. Crash Bandicoot, the games protagonist, achieves this criteria exceptionally, mostly evident in the fact he is the face of the more classic side to Naughty Dogs releases and generally in Crash Bandicoot’s overall success as a game.

Crash is eccentric, crazy and cute. Upon playing this game in it’s prime, I found myself spending countless occasions being inactive and leaving Crash to his own devices, watching him fail at juggling apples. These animations were funny and gave Crash the character he couldn’t portray verbally (he doesn’t really speak aside from his emotional outbursts after completing a level or boss battle). Furthermore, Crash’s slapstick death animations and end of level summaries (given boxes are missed during a level) are incredibly comical also as he must stand on a pedestal and take the boxes he missed to the head. Crash is not all comedy however, he is actually rather adorable and as the player more or less tortures him during a playthrough they will no doubt grow to pity the poor soul.

Crash is a well developed starring role to this legendary platformer and it is hands down one of the reasons Crash Bandicoot remains to be the best platformer ever.

crash bandicoot

 

3. Superb Soundtrack 

Although not immediately a noticeable contributor to the awesomeness of Crash Bandicoot, the soundtrack accompanying the madness within the game plays a huge part in the overall tone and enjoyment of the game.

The music for each level in Crash Bandicoot is fun and bouncy, maintaining the general feel of the game whilst still remaining suited to the specific tone and setting of each individual level. If we take one of the levels titled Slippery Climb as an example, we can see more literally how the soundtrack contributes.

The level itself is relatively dreary and dull, however, the soundtrack for this particular level somehow manages to capture this but twists it to be somewhat catchy and bouncy, maintaining the collective pace and ”feel” of Crash Bandicoot.

In certain levels, the rhythm and beat incorporated within that levels soundtrack actually provide some aid in level completion. For instance, in levels The Lost City and Sunset Vista the rhythm of the soundtrack coincides and matches up with the speed of the interchanging platforms within the level that Crash must jump between, making the level considerably easier to get to grips with.

Crash Bandicoot’s original soundtrack is not only key to generating the fun, bubbly feel of the game, but also poses to be helpful too. It definitely adds up in making Crash Bandicoot the best platformer.

crash bandicoot 3

 

4. Crash Caters For All

I quite vividly recall the first time my mum sat me down, Playstation One controller in hand, ready to play Crash Bandicoot. After some swift tutorials from her on which button did what, how to tackle the crabs, the first notable enemy of the game and some insight into the Aku Aku mask that hovered beside me, it was safe to say I became addicted. Now, the best part about that little anecdote is the fact that 14 years on from my first playthrough, I am still undoubtedly addicted to Crash Bandicoot. The fact that this game can be appreciated over a span of age groups is what in fact makes it such an outstanding game. It has the profound and valued ability to appeal to the adult with a love for addictive games and too much time on their hands whilst also being able to devour the attention of youngsters attracted to the games vibrancy and simplicity. Crash Bandicoot can even manage to engulf a nostalgic fan as if it were their first playthrough.

crash bandicoot 2

 

5. Adamantly Addictive

Lastly, yet most importantly, Crash Bandicoot harnesses the profound addiction factor expected from a platformer. No matter how many times you fail on a level or become infuriated as Crash stands on that pedestal in humiliation as the one or two boxes you missed drop shamefully on his head, you will always continue to play. Crash Bandicoot almost taunts you with its simplicity and being a seemingly straight-forward platformer and, in doing so, continues to draw in players. Furthermore, Crash Bandicoot’s incredibly fun levels are almost impossible to turn boring or repetitive, allowing you to indulge time and time again.

All in all, a combination of its catchy original soundtrack, simple game dynamic, strange characters and unquestionably lovable protagonist is the reason Crash Bandicoot remains to be so darn addictive and in turn the best platformer.

crash bandicoot 5

 

The legendary platformer

Crash Bandicoot will always be the best platformer in my eyes. It harnesses each and every aspect to a successful platformer and will always stand as my means of comparison for any more recent platformer as I just don’t think it can be topped. 14 years after my first playthrough, I can still sit there happy as Larry playing this awesome game for hours upon hours and, to me, that makes it the best platformer.

Pokemon – Still On The Pokeball

In 1996, Game Freak introduced the Pokemon game franchise into the gaming community, a game franchise that even today revels in high demand and levels of enjoyment spanning over a variety of age groups. The franchise possesses a simple yet addictive objective of catching various monsters known as ‘Pokemon’ in order to befriend them, train them up and battle against other Pokemon trainers.  The franchise has adapted over the evolution of Nintendo consoles, becoming more intricate, gaining better graphics and deepening the content upon each release of a new installment. Originally, there were only 151 Pokemon and today we presented with now over 700. It is apparent that even after so many years that the demand for this game refuses to slack, so the ultimate question is, why are we still relentlessly trying to ‘catch ’em all’ after so much time?

still on the pokeball 1

 

Pokemon Is In Our Hearts 

The beauty of Game Freak is they know how to capture the hearts of a mass of age groups and they do well to maintain their interest in this beloved franchise. By expanding Pokemon further than just the main game series, Game Freak have allowed Pokemon to not only maintain fans, but also to gather more.

One of the first spin offs within the Pokemon game franchise was the Pokemon Trading Card Game (Gameboy). This targeted the fans more interested in the physical Pokemon Trading Cards, allowing them to build and alter decks and compete in game.

 

still on the pokeball 2

 

 

Some spin offs became a series in themselves, taking the Pokemon Ranger series for example. It allowed players to indulge in a different perspective to the Pokemon games in which you do not catch Pokemon as such but take care of them and see they coincide with the humans in the world. The games are quite hands on in regards to battles as opposed to the turn based  style of the main series and again allows the opportunity for different types of players to indulge in the Pokemon franchise. Then there’s the Mystery Dungeon which series allows players to play as a Pokemon themselves. Again, another expansion to the franchise to cater for another different type of player.

 

still on the pokeball 3

 

More recent spin offs have targeted specific addictions in the gaming industry. Pokemon Shuffle is a puzzle game quite clearly aimed at the mass of Candy Crush Saga addicts. So whilst remaining to be a fun game for younger generations it can also snatch up some older generations who like to play puzzle games when they get a little free time on their hands.

The greatest part is the spin offs not only engulf new fans but it is also fun for the more general Pokemon fans that love the series as a whole. The diversity within the Pokemon franchise is truly one of the reasons it is still standing strong today.

 

Everlasting

There is always a distinct feeling of despair when you finish a game as although feeling accomplished for beating the game, there is a hint of sadness in respect to the fact it’s over. Game Freak however, like to ensure that there is still plenty to do upon finishing a Pokemon game. Even after beating the Elite Four (a selection of the best Pokemon trainers in a specific region) and completing tasks only available post-game, there is always another Pokemon you can train differently or a new battle you may partake in.

In recent installments Pokemon has become more competitive. In being able to battle and trade with players worldwide, it has opened up an inlet for more strategic and focused Pokemon training. Players now train highly planned teams of Pokemon that have been bred to perfection in order to battle with players all over the world. There are also tournaments in which players may win prizes for doing so. This is a lovely addition to the Pokemon franchise as although aimed at more dedicated and competitive gamers, it doesn’t take anything away from the franchise itself. It is a fun, addictive addition that allows players to continue their journey in a more sociable and competitive manner.

 

Pokefans Speak

I asked some Pokemon fans to tell me what they thought kept the Pokefire burning, Pokemon-personalities from Tumblr wrote:

 

tumblr answer 2 why pokemon lives on

 

It is true, Game Freak are now adapting recent installments and remaking older games in order to not only expand the series further, but to also keep the fans of the older generations hooked and excited about the franchise. Game Freak understand their audience and the whole ideal that ‘it wasn’t as good as the originals’ can be overcome in some shape or form by incorporating the old into the new and engaging every part of their ever growing audience.

Also from Tumblr, Perditus-bliss writes:

 

tumblr answer why is pokemon lives on

 

This point does highlight how the uniqueness to the series appeals and is important to fans. It also draws attention to the fact Pokemon may be hitting adults in the sweet spot, the part inside of them that wants to relive their youth and it is truly heart-warming and moving that this video game franchise has the power to do that.

 

One Of A Kind 

The whole ideal behind Pokemon is extremely unique in itself, as well as being every child’s fantasy. A world in which from a young age you are given a Pokemon partner and allowed to journey the world, free of parents, no school (except Trainers School which actually sounds rather fun) being able to decide what you want to do and where you want to go. This concept is radically different to any game out there and therefore will always remain to be intriguing.

A game that started with a choice between three cute little monsters has transpired into one of the most successful and indulgent game franchises to date. Game Freak has the profound ability to snap up fans old and young and also maintain them. This is evident in their immense sales and the fact that the vast majority of Pokemon installments will hardly ever lose their value. I know the Pokemon franchise remains to be a video game I am emotionally attached to, and I’m sure that it is a common feeling among ongoing fans of the series.

still on the pokeball 4

What do you think keeps the Pokeball rolling? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion. 

Retro Corner: The Simpsons Arcade Game

The Simpsons Arcade Game

Arcade

Now, I’m not the type to bust out a long, rage-tastic diatribe about licensed games. Let’s all just admit that they (usually) suck monkey nuts, and get on with our lives.

Still, it wasn’t always that way. Like the decrepit old gamer I am, I remember the glory days. The days we had truly fantastic games-of-the-movie to enjoy. The likes of the Mega Drive’s The Lion King and Aladdin are still celebrated as some of the best platformers of the early nineties. Right around this time also came… The Simpsons Arcade Game.

Released by Konami in 1991, this was a scrolling beat ’em up in the Streets of Rage vein. Think of it as a toony Golden Axe, with less of those dodgy-looking dragon things to ride and more of Homer swinging Marge around by the hair as a special attack. You don’t want to miss that, so let’s take a look.

As far as plotting goes, this is all fairly conventional for the genre. There’s been –wait for it– a kidnapping. Here, it’s Maggie, after she inadvertently swallows a flying diamond during a jewellery raid. The thief is none other than Waylon Smithers, who snatches the girl so as to not lose her precious shiny cargo. Naturally, Ma and Pa Simpson don’t take kindly to the theft of their daughter, and so they set off in pursuit of Smithers with Bart and Lisa in tow.

The Simpsons Arcade Game 2

There’s a little suspension of disbelief needed here. When was ol’ Waylon ever such a dastardly criminal? Where did he get a whole army of goons to attack the family? Is he suddenly some kind of camp underworld kingpin? None of that matters. This is a fine setup for a little side-scrolling punchin’-and-a-kickin’ goodtimes, and that’s all we need to know.

You’ll chase Burns’ underling through all manner of familiar Springfield locales, from Moe’s Tavern to the power plant and Krustyland. There’s also a level set in a dream sequence, which is a popular device in the show itself. Throughout the stages, there are cameo appearances from other Springfieldians, and lots of in-jokes and such which are sure to be appreciated by fans.

In gameplay terms, too, this is a standard-issue brawler with a Simpsons makeover. Controls are as simple as you’d expect, with the usual jumps, throws and quick combos on offer. There are also tag team attacks, appropriate to the characters using them, which are highly damaging and pretty darn funny too (Homer’s spousal abuse mentioned above, for instance).

All in all, The Simpsons Arcade Game is a solid beat ’em up. It’s no genre classic, but it’s a fine and fan-pleasing effort. In licensed game terms, the Simpsons have fared a little better than most through the years, and this is my favourite title bearing their name.

Brand New Title Coming To Sega Dreamcast

Dreamcast

It’s time to dig through the back of your closet, whip out your old  box, and dust it off. Sega’s last console isn’t done yet. Apparently.There’s a brand new game coming to the Dreamcast in September. It’s a bullet hell shooter called Ghost Blade. The game’s been said to have a retro style, although what we now call “retro” is what the Dreamcast would call cutting-edge graphical technology.

Ghost Blade is being developed by a group called Hucast. They’re a bunch of die-hard fans dedicated to creating brand new games for the Dreamcast, and this isn’t their first project. They’ve also released Alice and Redux: Dark Matters, both of them brand new games developed for the 17-year-old console. But the projects are labours of love, not profit, and when Ghost Blade was first announced, its original release was scheduled for some time in 2013.

Ghost Blade will now release on 17 September. That gives you a few months to figure out where the hell you stashed your Dreamcast all those years ago.

Retro Corner: SkiFree

SkiFree

I remember the first PC I ever owned. It was a vast, white monstrosity about the size of your average studio apartment. The brand was Siemens Nixdorf, which isn’t even a damn thing any more and hasn’t been for a decade and a half. There was none of this newfangled ‘internet’ thing at this time (not for me, at any rate), and my computing time with the big ol’ Nixdorf mostly consisted of making pictures with Paint and clipart.

There is a point to all of this prattle. Hold on to your underpants, because here it comes now: one of my earliest memories of the brave new IT (not ICT, I’m much too old for that) world was SkiFree. I get powerful nostalgia-pangs just from hearing the name, so here’s my little ode to it.

If you’re not as decrepit as I am, SkiFree was released in 1991. It’s a simple arcade affair for Windows (later ported to Mac, and Game Boy Color of all things), which sees you slalom down and endless slope and try to reach the furthest point you can.

SkiFree 2

There are various play options. The slalom course is a straight up time attack run, while on the freestyle course you instead aim for the highest score by accumulating ‘style points’ (by performing jumps and such). More able players can opt to take the tree slalom course, which is longer and more difficult. You can also opt to eschew all of these and just ski about. Y’know, freely, hence the name.

The controls are just as spartan as the presentation. You use the arrow keys to move, and the space bar to jump. Like most arcade games, it’s one you can pick up almost instantly, but it’ll take some time to uncover all the little tricks and techniques to get the best out of your scores and times. SkiFree is a game that demands quick reflexes, as the perspective means that you can careen at obstacles (poles, trees, other skiers, abominable snowmen) with little warning.

It’s a simple little thing, but the game had that one-more-try factor that all the best quickfire ones do. It also has a unique charm and quirky humour that’s difficult to convey with such limited resources. Startled dogs you speed past or barrel into on the course will pee in the snow in fright, and the stickman abominable snowman will eat you at the bottom on the mountain to herald the end of your run.

I’ll say it again: ah, SkiFree.

Retro Corner: Space Invaders

Space Invaders

Space

Aliens, as we know, generally get a bad rep in video games. Did Gears of Wars’ Locust horde come in peace? They did not. They came in a limb-loppy, face-shooty fury. Then there’s the Covenant, which consists of several species; all of whom rate pretty highly on the douche-o-meter. Or how about the Timesplitters? Or the Greys from Destroy All Humans!? The clue’s in the title there.

In sum, extra-terrestrials are not our friends. They do not befriend lonely little urchins called Elliot, perform heartwarming glowy fingered gestures, or phone home. And if they ever do phone home, it’s only to arrange some mail order weapons of mass destruction to vaporise us with.

So you’ll forgive humanity for being a little hostile back. Over the years, aliens have been gunned down en masse in video games. Even more so than zombies, and that’s saying something. Today, we’re tracing all of this back to the original outer space menaces: the space invaders. Of, y’know, Space Invaders.

Space Invaders 2

The game hit arcades back when there actually were arcades, way back in 1978. Its premise was as simple as you’d expect of gaming’s early days: you’re a blurry laser cannon on the bottom of the screen. Equally blurry waves of aliens approach from the top of the screen. If they reach you, it’s not going to end well. So shoot! Shoot ‘til your shooting finger can shoot no more!

But you know the setup. Space Invaders is among the most iconic games ever made, alongside the likes of Mario, Pac-Man and the equally ancient Asteroids. Even if you aren’t decrepit enough to have played the original, you’ll know the pixellated aliens anywhere.

This one was such a hit because it nailed everything that early arcade games were about. Simple, instinctive gameplay. The ol’ classic ‘easy to pick up and hard to master’ idea. It was also very addictive, and ate many, many quarters in its time. Not to mention the highscore factor.

Space Invaders
is one of those icons of gaming that is still going in some form or another. It’s been ported to all manner of systems, given spangly modern remakes and re-releases, the full works. More than that, it has been an inspiration to later generations of games and has permeated pop culture. Children who weren’t born for decades after the game’s release now wear it on t-shirts, and that’s got to say something.

“How’s THIS for an Idea for a Game?” #2: Bullet Hell in the Bathroom With ‘Toilet Kids’

Toilet Kids

As we know, arcade games aren’t big on story. There’s a time and a place for complex, convoluted Da Vinci Code-esque plotting, and this isn’t it. Was Pac-Man an ambitious take on corporate greed, eating up everything in sight to turn a profit and eating your competitors alive in the process? No, no it wasn’t. Nuts to that.

Although that does sound quite intellectual, come to think about it.

But anywho, the Streets of Rage and Asteroids of the world are about action, not storylines. There’s some brief prattling at the beginning to set the scene, maybe a sparce cutscene or two in between levels, but that’s all you get. And all you expect.

Retro-style scrolling shooters in particular know this. Even the thoroughly demented ones. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Toilet Kids.

The premise is simple: a little boy needs the toilet in the middle of the night. While doing his business, he is sucked head-first into the lav and emerges in an oddly beautiful world. While floating on his tiny toilet-craft, he has to dispatch all manner of bizarre enemies, all to get back to bed. Maybe simple isn’t the operative word, but it’s too late to backtrack now.

That angel really should put some clothes on.
That angel really should put some clothes on.

You’ll meet what appears to be a genie made of poo. You’ll be attacked by huge frogs who pee on you, and angry flying penises. But hey, we’ve all been there.

At its heart, this PC Engine oddity from Japan is a fairly conventional shooter. You’ll collect power-ups, shoot mid-air opponents and bomb the ones on the ground. There are highscores to go for, and everything else you’d expect of the genre. It’s just the enemy design and the theme itself that sets Toilet Kids apart.

It has earned itself an immortal place in gaming history, for being the first title ever to feature creepy pig-faced spiders with bare human butts.

Retro Corner: Metal Gear Solid

Solid

We’re stretching the definition of ‘retro’ a little with this one, but nuts to that. Who’s counting? This is a bona fide classic, right here, and that’s good enough for me.

Metal Gear Solid
hit the PlayStation in 1998, the first 3D installment in the stealthtacular Metal Gear franchise. It continues the story of our studly hero Solid Snake, once again sent into hostile territory alone in that skin-tight sneaking suit of his. Avert your eyes, and let’s reminisce.

The game is set six years after the events of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. It’s a similar mission for the anti-hero, a story of ventilation shafts, hiding in cardboard boxes like a big girl and lots of grey and brown army bases.

This time around, a terrorist group dubbed FOXHOUND (renegade special forces types) has commandeered a small Alaskan island. Shadow Moses is the site of a nuclear weapons disposal facility, which is just the kind of place you don’t want a angry band of crazies waving their guns and threats around.

Metal Gear Solid 2

The island is home to the nuke-armed mech Metal Gear Rex, whose destruction-tacular capabilities will be unleashed on the world if the group’s demands aren’t met. In short, the U.S government is up to its nose in the brown stuff, and a stealthy one-dude operation is in order.

In keeping with Metal Gear tradition, the story is utterly nutty. There are cliffhangers and bizarre events out the wazzoo right here. Traitors are actually triple agents, nobody’s who you think they are and everyone’s lying to everyone else. But don’t worry, you’ll have half-hour codec conversations about nothing at all to clue you in on all this useless stuff you don’t care about.

There’s little to say that you don’t already know about Metal Gear Solid. It’s perhaps the most ambitious game the console every saw, and years ahead of its time in a world of Crash Bandicoots and Spyro the Dragons. A truly cinematic experience, and a game replete with memorable moments.

Floating physics in gas masks, cyborg ninjas, big ol’ dudes brandishing helicopter gatling guns… this one has it all. As a child, I found the gameplay revolutionary; discouraging the usual mindless trigger happy antics for more methodical play I’d never seen before. Almost two decades later, it remains one of my favourite games of all time.

Retro Corner: Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar

Ah, Treasure. You crazy guys, with your legendary reputation for bullet-flailing, toontastic madness. These guys brought us Gunstar Alien Soldier, the lost classic in which a creepy bird-freak in a spacesuit blows up everything ever with absurd weaponry.

In the same vein, we have today’s slice of retro crazy. Feast your eyes on Gunstar Heroes.

This 1993 Mega Drive run and gunner is a game of simple tastes. It likes hordes of marauding enemies, far too many darn explosions, and ridiculous bosses. Naturally, we’d expect nothing less. Let’s take a look.

Gunstar Heroes is the tale of the titular Gunstars: Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. They’re heroic do-gooders of some sort or another, a kind of camp cross between the Power Rangers and the A-Team. When the world (which is to say, a world) is threatened by nefarious forces trying to reawaken a catastrophic power, they’re on the case instantly.

The Japanese and Western releases of the game have dramatically diverging plot lines. For the sake of familiarity, here we’re concerned only with the much-less-demented Western version. The robotic menace Golden Silver was once incarcerated by Professor White, and the gems that powered it scattered. This belligerent bot wanted to suck the planet’s resources dry, which is the kind of behavior that can ruin your whole weekend. Years later, the Empire want to gather the gems and release Golden Silver from its planet on an orbiting moon.

Gunstar Heroes 2

The game’s four main opening levels can be completed in any order, and a gem awaits at the end of each. They are in possession of some fearsome/ridiculous/ridiculously fearsome bosses, of course, so this is quite a challenge right here.

You play as either Gunstar Red or Blue, who play slightly differently. Blue can fire in eight directions, but cannot move while firing. Red, conversely, is more manouverable but less versatile in that sense. It’s standard left-to-right carnage-ery, with the addition of Treasure’s typical customizable weapons. Here, you have two weapon slots, and four varieties of shot to mix and match: Flame, Force, Chaser and Lightning. These have all kinds of effects when paired together (a close-range but deadly flamethrower/blowtorchy thing, a weaker but rapid-firing machine gun and the like), and are a lot of fun to experiment with.

Gunstar Heroes is a cult classic for its perfectly honed genre gameplay, its challenge and its pure imagination. Black’s Dice Maze is perhaps the most brilliantly odd stage a shooter has ever seen. As for the bosses, all you need to know is that this is the home of legendary transforming death-bot Seven Force.

My favourite Mega Drive game by a country mile, and a contender for my most beloved of all time.

Retro Corner: Asteroids

Asteroids

Ah, Asteroids. As retro gaming celebrities go, this guy is right up there. You’ll see him at swanky game-y cocktail parties, entertaining his groupies alongside Space Invaders and Pac-Man and other such A listers. These are the retro games, and they demand your attention.

Which is why I’m typing words at your face regarding Asteroids right now. So buckle up, because here come some more.

This arcade classic was released way back in 1979 by Atari. It’s credited as one of the games which kick-started the Golden Age of Arcade Games (which is an actual thing, a fancy title complete with capital letters and everything), which is a huge deal for a humble and simplistic shooter. Let’s take a look.

The premise is easy enough to grasp. You are the pilot of a tiny triangular spacecraft, trapped in the middle of an asteroid belt. Not relishing the prospect of a miniature fiery death, your objective is to blast the rocks flying around your ears and survive for a long as possible. Unable to ‘escape,’ the whole thing’s just one survival mode.

Asteroids 2

You control your craft by means of that awkwardy turn-y go-y system we all know so well. It will have to be mastered, as only the deftest of pilots find their way onto the leaderboards. Asteroids is certainly punishing, as a simple slip or unexpected collision will spell your doom. Health bars? Shields? There was none of that newfangled business in 1979. You don’t pass go. You don’t collect $200. You just explode.

If you’ve ever utilised hyperspace mode and cried a little as it materialised you right in a asteroid’s darn face, you’ll know how cheeky the game can be. But more important than that is how successful and influential it was. Defender, Space Invaders and the like were all cut from the same cloth, and hold all of the virtues of early gaming: accessible, instant fun, which was as addictive as it was deceptively challenging.