The Game: Players pilot a ship trapped in a maze of vertically stacked level, teeming with aliens who are all deadly to the touch. The good news is that the ship has an inexhaustible supply of ammo. The not-so-good news is that the bad guys have an inexhaustible supply of bad guys. Players have to keep the ship from colliding with the enemy, while shooting at the enemy and watching out for split-second opportunities to grab any bonus items that may make a fleeting appearance. Just one word of caution: the prizes turn into smart bombs if you wait too long to go pick them up. (20th Century Fox, 1982)
Memories: Similar in execution to other “vertical shooters” like Ram It!, Turmoil has speed on its side, along with the cruel twist of forcing the player to retrieve bonuses that may blow up in his face.
Turmoil was another early entry for Mark Turmell, a designer whose career kicked off with the computer game Sneakers, released by Sirius Software (where he also originated Turmoil as a computer game for the Atari 8-bit machines). Successes such as the arcade hit Smash TV were still in Turmell’s future; in 1982, he continued to crank out console games (and console-style games for home computers), and turned down offers to work for Microsoft and an up-and-coming new publisher, Electronic Arts. Turmell is still active in the game industry, covering nearly every system up to the Wii.
Turmoil may not have set the gaming world on fire – it’s actually quite an enjoyable game that happened to fall in the 1982 boom of the home video game industry (whose bust was just around the corner). It’s entirely possible that it went unnoticed (undeservedly) by some, and is still regarded as fast-moving fun by others.