The Game: Alien invaders are descending on your world, taking on unusual forms in the process: sneaker-clad stomping creatures, roaming eyeballs, “H-wing fighters,” flying saucers and more. Try to use their unusual patterns of movement against them and keep them from destroying your fighter. (Sirius Software, 1981)
Memories: If this description sounds an awful lot like Activision‘s early hit Megamania!, it’s no coincidence – both games attempted to add a dash of whimsy to the basic game play of the ubiquitous arcade sleeper hit, Astro Blaster. Both Sneakers and Megamania! nearly duplicate the unique meandering movement of Astro Blaster‘s alien invaders.
Sneakers barely beat Megamania! to the punch, but of course, Megamania! had the added advantage of a massive marketing campaign and being on a much more widespread platform at the time, the Atari 2600. Released on such computer systems as the Atari 8-bit machines and the Apple II, Sneakers found an appreciative audience among early home computer adopters, while Megamania! became almost a household name. It was enough, however, to help cement the future of Sirius Software as one of the more high-profile computer game publishers.
Though it wasn’t anything especially new if you’d spent any time in an arcade in 1981, Sneakers was a breath of fresh air to computer gamers who weren’t faced with an especially wide selection of games – yet.