This year’s greatest video arcade games
By Adam Tatelman, Staff Writer
There was a time when arcades were just places for kids to blow all their parents’ spare change on pinball, pizza, and pool. But that time is past, dig? This is the future! We pinball kids have quarters of our own now, and brand-spanking-new video arcade machines to spend them all in. Every year, a host of new arcade games muscles their way into the local arcade scene—everything from racing to boxing titles. This year was one of the best we’ve had so far, so let’s count down the five supreme quarter-crunchers of 1976!
This one’s almost like tennis for one player—with cannonballs. The object of the game is to bounce a ball between your paddle at the bottom of the screen and the three layers of bricks lining the top. Hit a brick and you break through it, but your ball speeds up. The faster it goes, the harder you have to work to keep it bouncing. If you let the ball hit the bottom of the screen, you lose a turn. You get two extra balls though, so make them count!
This one’s not for kids—but that won’t stop you from playing it! Based on the hit David Carradine film Death Race 2000, the object of the game is to run over as many gremlins as you can. Players use the steering wheel on the cabinet to drive the car. Hitting the gremlins causes them to disappear and be replaced with tombstones. If you hit a tombstone, it’s game over! That’s what’s so incredible about this game—it gets harder as your score gets higher!
This one’s a game for two players, so bring your pals with you and go head-to-head! Each player controls a snake that gets longer over time. The longer you get, the easier it is to block your opponent with your tail—but be careful! If you let your snake get too long, you might run into your own tail and lose a turn. If you like high-risk, high-reward competitive gaming, then take this one to the max!
This one’s for all the kids who want to be boxers without getting a busted face. Each player grabs a lever that pumps in and out of the machine, so you’ve actually got to punch to play! You can also shift the lever up or down before punching to make your boxer on the screen punch for the face or the body. If you and your pals missed the fight last night, re-enact the highlights on this machine—the very first game to feature hand-to-hand combat!
The game so nice Sega branded it thrice! That’s right, Moto-Cross, Man T.T., and Fonz are really all the same game in different arcade cabinets. They all have the same handlebar controls. Pull up a chair and grip the handles, and you’ll feel like you’re really riding Fonzie’s motorcycle. Steer the handlebars to avoid obstacles and drive as far as you can to get the high score. If you crash, the controls actually rumble in your hands! That’s the miracle of haptic feedback, baby!
Let’s face it. If you’re not in the arcade on the weekends, you’re as square as geometry class. The arcade is the new pool room and, as long as we have our quarters, the pastime will never die. The only way anyone could possibly outdo the arcade is if they found a way to put video games in people’s houses—but we all know that’s impossible!
So save up those quarters, take the wheel, and say it with me: long live the arcade!