The Game: You’re the commander of a small squad of robots, and your opponent – be it a second player or the computer – is commanding a similar platoon o’ droids. Your job is to avoid the enemy’s robots while you wait for your robots to reach the enemy commander. Of course, the enemy’s robots could reach you first, but that’s another story. The only control you have over your robots is to press the action button and call them toward you. The robots fight hand-to-hand, rather than shooting, and your robots may become incapacitated. You can leap into the fray and touch one of your malfunctioning robots to repair it and return it to the fight, but in so doing, you run a risk of being captured by enemy robots. (Magnavox, 1979)
Memories: This is a game about the Arnold Rimmer vision of combat.
In the Marooned episode of Red Dwarf, Rimmer says “Generals don’t smash chairs over people’s heads. They don’t smash Newcastle Brown bottles into your face and say ‘Stitch that, Jimmy.’ They’re in the nice white tent, on the top of the hill, sipping Sancerre and directing the battle. They’re men of honor!” Which is pretty much your function in this game.
Personally, I always find it amusing to march up to the enemy commander – who cannot, for some reason, capture your general – and call my robots over to come and get ‘im.
On a purely historical note, War Of Nerves! is most likely the first real-time strategy title ever to appear on a console – and for that matter, it probably predates any computer implementation of that genre too. (Turn-based strategy was already alive and well on computers at this point, however.) For that, War Of Nerves! is a pivotal and important game – one which few remember just because it was on the Odyssey2.