Gorf

GorfThe Game: The Gorfian Empire is attacking Earth, and naturally you’re our only hope. Symmetrical waves of space invaders lead off the invasion, followed by more unpredictable laser attack waves with long-range weapons. Next, you must pick off Gorfian robots as they emerge from a space warp, and finally you take the fight directly to the Gorfian flagship, trying to get one perfect shot in at its most vulnerable point. (CBS Video Games, 1982)

Memories: It’s almost like the original, this home translation from CBS Video Games, though there’s one rather major omission. When Bally/Midway licensed out its popular original coin-op Gorf, it had to make sure that one whole stage of the pioneering multi-level game was left out – the Galaxians screen. Continue reading

Omega Race

Omega RaceThe Game: In an enclosed track in space, you pilot a sleek, lone space fighter up against an army of mine-laying opponents. In early rounds of the Omega Race, only a few minelayers activate at a time…but in later rounds, they all deploy their full arsenal at you at once, leaving you to dodge through a deadly maze in zero gravity while trying to turn to draw a bead on your opponents. You can bounce off of the walls of the track, but anything else is deadly to touch. (CBS Electronics, under license from Bally/Midway, 1982)

Memories: Cashing in on Omega Race‘s cult following in arcades – it was Midway‘s direct response to the Newtonian physics of Atari‘s AsteroidsCBS gave its home version of Omega Race the dubious distinction of being playable only with the included Booster Grip joystick “enhancer” – and as many second-hand copies of Omega Race have circulated on the collectors’ market without the Booster Grip, some gamers have been scratching their heads in bewilderment. Continue reading

Satan’s Hollow

Satan's HollowThe Game: Hellish flying demons try to formation-dive your well-armed, devil-fryin’ vehicle at the bottom of the screen. Each time you knock one of this gargoylesque beasties out of the sky, they drop a piece of a bridge you must drag over See the videoto the appropriate spot on the screen. When you’re close to completing the bridge, the Prince of Darkness sends in some heavier artillery – a spooky floating demon head who spits fire at your cannon – to do away with you. Once you’ve toasted the flying meanies out of the sky and cross the bridge, it’s time to do battle with Satan himself. (CBS Video Games, 1982)

Memories: CBS’ home video game division was focused on releasing a library consisting largely of arcade games licensed from Bally/Midway on cartridge for the Atari 2600. But CBS wasn’t content to limit itself to a single platform (unlike quite a few third-party software houses that appeared in the wake of the stellar success of Activision and Imagic). They also had the Atari computers in their sight, which also put them in a good position to release games for the Atari 5200, which was based on the same processor. Continue reading

Blue Print

Blue PrintThe Game: You are the intrepid, barbershop-quartet-suited J.J. (hey, it’s better than being O.J.!), out to save a damsel in distress from a pursuing monster. How does a guy in a little striped suit do this? By building a mobile, tennis-ball-launching contraption to dispatch said dastardly monster, naturally. The catch? The eight pieces of your mechanical creation are hidden somewhere among ten little houses in a maze – and those houses that don’t contain parts of your machine contain a bomb that must be dumped into the bomb pit immediately (else they’ll explode and kill J.J.). Critters also roam the maze to annoy you, including one pesky monster who will prematurely jump on the “start” button, rattling your still-unfinished machine to bits. If you don’t build your Rube Goldberg gizmo in time, the monster catches the damsel and you lose a life. (CBS Electronics, 1983)

Memories: One of my favorite genre-crossing arcade titles, Blue Print was one of several in-house gems from Bally/Midway which were licensed under an overall deal with CBS Electronics. And while I mourn the fact that they never got around to making Kickman for the 5200, I can take come comfort in the work of art that is CBS’ home version of Blue Print. Continue reading

Blue Print

Blue PrintThe Game: You are the intrepid, barbershop-quartet-suited J.J., out to save a damsel in distress from a pursuing monster. How does a guy in a little striped suit do this? By building a mobile, tennis-ball-launching contraption to dispatch said See the videodastardly monster, naturally. The catch? The eight pieces of your mechanical creation are hidden somewhere among ten little houses in a maze – and those houses that don’t contain parts of your machine contain a bomb that must be dumped into the bomb pit immediately (else they’ll explode and kill J.J.). Critters also roam the maze to annoy you, including one pesky monster who will prematurely jump on the “start” button, rattling your still-unfinished machine to bits. If you don’t build your Rube Goldberg gizmo in time, the monster catches the damsel and you lose a life. (CBS Electronics, 1983)

Memories: Sometimes arcade translations for the Atari 2600 miss the mark, and sometimes they’re right on the money. Blue Print isn’t necessarily either extreme; it’s close enough for government work. Continue reading

Targ (Universal Chaos)

TargThe Game: You’re trapped in a symmetrical maze with a bevy of robotic target vehicles – “Targs” – which are programmed to do just one thing: collide with your vehicle. You have one advantage on these decidedly mean streets, however – you can fire missiles ahead of your car (but the Targs are capable of dodging your projectiles too, so don’t get too cocky). Every once in a while, one of the impregnable blocks in the maze will disgorge a new enemy which is just a little bit faster and deadlier than the rest. Clearing the screen of Targs advances you to a new level with faster enemies – and eventually they’ll put the brakes on your attempts to survive. (CBS Video Games, 1984)

Memories: Exidy‘s offbeat menagerie of arcade games was ripe for licensing in the early 1980s, and for the most part it was Coleco that jumped on that bandwagon, grabbing the rights for games such as Mouse Trap, Venture, Ladybug and Mr. Do, both for their own ColecoVision console and as a third-party title for competing platforms like the Intellivision and the Atari 2600. CBS‘ short-lived entry into the video game market saw them licensing games originating with Bally/Midway (Gorf, Omega Race, Blue Print, etc.), but at one point CBS won the rights to, and advertised, a cartridge version of Targ. The game was completely programmed and ready to go – and then the crash hit. Continue reading

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