Magical SpotThe Game: The good news: Darwin was right, evolution is a thing. The bad news: this does not work in your favor. You man a laser cannon trying to intercept alien insects making their way toward the bottom of the screen; at the most inconvenient times, the bugs revert to a pupal stage during which they’re either impossible to hit or invulnerable. They then emerge in a newer, faster, deadlier form bent on destroying you. (Universal, 1980)

Memories: Evolution is a pretty interesting idea to try to frame in the context of a game; almost without exception, it’s been used as an excuse for the game to suddenly make either the player’s enemies stronger and faster. The strangely titled Magical Spot – referring, perhaps, to the single-pixel points on the screen upon which enemy bugs can perch and shrink down to un-shootable size – is a prime example.

As if the game’s title isn’t odd enough, there’s also its cabinet: a wonder of trippy artwork of a kind that had disappeared in the 1970s. With its paisley-inspired patterns and even its color scheme, Magical SpotMagical Spot‘s outer casing is like a relic of another time.

The difficulty curve when playing Magical Spot is fairly significant; it’s easy for newcomers to get discouraged quickly. Though, in two years’ time, sensory-overload games like Robotron would be all the rage, there are sometimes just too many things to keep track of on the screen in Magical Spot.

3 quartersUniversal tended to turn out wildly different variations on popular arcade themes, and Magical Spot definitely fits in with that trend, even though it never quite caught on like some of Universal’s non-shoot-’em-up titles.