The Game: You’re a spider whose web seems to be a popular hangout for any number of flies who seem to have an aversion to getting caught there. So you’re left with the only option nature leaves open to a spider in this scenario: you shoot your prey down and eat the yummy grubsteak that’s left behind! Some bugs will have the whaudacity to lay their eggs in your web, which you can either push off the edge (a risky trick depending on how “developed” some of the eggs are) or wait to hatch into more bugs that you can shoot down. Beware of “grenade bugs” which destroy everything within a certain radius around them when you shoot them; they may take out other adversaries as they go, or destroy you if you’re too close. (Atari, 1982)
Memories: Black Widow is a fun number which smacks of an attempt to do Robotron: 2084 in vector graphics. It’s also one of the handful of Atari arcade games sporting the color vector monitor, which was prone to numerous technical glitches (not the least of which was overheating to the point that capacitors melted off the board). What vector graphics had over traditional raster displays, however, was fast action, and Black Widow is a beauty in that respect. Within only a few levels, the action is almost too much for the average player to handle.
Black Widow didn’t creep into homes until 2000, when systems like the Playstation, which sported two joysticks on a standard controller, were the norm. Even then, when Black Widow resurfaced as part of Atari Anniversary Edition, the experience wasn’t quite the same, though it beats trying to emulate the control scheme on a PC with anything but custom-made controls. (So far, the best home version seems to be the one included on Atari Anthology for PS2 and Xbox.) Even if you haven’t played the arcade machine in person or don’t remember it at all, give Black Widow a shot – it’s surprisingly addictive.