Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Williams Collection
The Game: Visit a shrine to the greatest hits of Williams Electronics’ spectacularly successful arcade manufacturing venture of the early 80s. Spawned almost solely by Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar, Williams’ arcade division spawned some of the most memorable hits of the golden age of video games – and these are just a few of them. (Williams/Midway [developed by Digital Eclipse], 1995)
Memories: One of the earliest classic arcade emulation collections for the Playstation, The Williams Collection was Williams Electronics‘ (now owned by Midway) answer to Namco‘s series of Namco Museum games, chronicling the greatest arcade hits of one of Williams’ biggest rivals in the early 80s. And for my money, The Williams Collection is better – no cheesy, unintelligibly bit-mapped photos of printed circuit boards here, kids; Williams brings you full-length video interviews with Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar, the game designers/programmers behind such hits as Defender and Robotron: 2084, as well as the minds behind such other games as Joust and Bubbles. But most people don’t buy Playstation games for video interviews – they buy them for the games themselves, and I can assure you that these emulations pass with flying colors. My only regret is that The Williams Collection pre-dates Sony’s analog joysticks, which would be great for Sinistar and Bubbles.
Controller complaints aside, however, this collection includes the best-ever emulation of Robotron, finally returned to its full glory thanks to the dual directional keypads on the Playstation’s controllers! Even with nice 3-D graphics, Robotron X doesn’t hold a candle to the original.
The wealth of supplemental material, and the outstanding emulations, really demonstrated what such titles as Namco Museum and the second collection of Atari titles under the Arcade’s Greatest Hits umbrella could have been – perhaps even should have been.