Monthly Archives: March 2015

#11: …TRAZ


April 1988 – …TRAZ

In spite of the intense lack of actual factual basis for it, there is a significant part of my mind that remains solidly convinced that it stands for ‘Totally Radical Arcade Zone’ and will not be told otherwise. But no, while the none-more-eighties stylings of the game (”WICKED AND BEAUT!” it sometimes declares when you make a high score, or “WELL CRUCIAL!”), not to mention the fact that there are clearly four letters there, might suggest otherwise, …TRAZ actually stands for ‘Transformable Arcade Zone’. It’s a hell of a name. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in 1988, Commodore 64


#10: Out Run

Out Run

March 1988: Out Run

The first thing to note about Out Run is that it is the first appearance in this blog by a company by the name of Sega, who will go onto become something of a major player in this story a little later on. The next thing to note about Out Run is that it is not a Commodore 64 game, not really. Out Run was a big hit in the arcades, which was later ported to home computers and consoles, on the pretty reasonable assumption that if people were going out and paying money to play this thing, they would probably be quite likely to pay money to own a copy that they could play any time. It’s not the first time we’re looking at a game that originated in the arcades (Bubble Bobble being another notable example), but with Out Run, the home version is a clearly and substantially inferior copy of the original. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in 1988, Commodore 64


#9: Predator


February 1988: Predator

Avatar, the most successful film of all time, took seventeen days to reach box office sales of $1 billion. The most successful game, on the other hand, took just three. In this day and age, games are clearly a huge media industry, maybe even bigger than any other. And yet there is still a wider public perception of the medium as being disposable, facile and vaguely disreputable. And yet, throughout this project, we will periodically be invaded by the worlds of other media; games that succeed not on their own terms, but because they come attached to a property that has succeeded in another industry, usually film. And this begins here, with Predator. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in 1988, Commodore 64


#8: Metroid


January 1988: Metroid

More than any other game so far, my experience playing Metroid was decidedly blemished by having played the sequel before the original. To some extent, this has happened before; there are certainly sequels to both Dizzy and Zelda that I played before the originals, and would rank as better games than their predecessors. But I feel like Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure failed on its own merits, and not purely because I was comparing it unfavourably to its successors, and while The Legend of Zelda is absolutely a great game, it is simply lacking entirely in some of the features that make my favourite Zelda game my favourite. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 10, 2015 in 1988, NES


#7: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

December 1987: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

One does not imagine that Mike Tyson has ever spent a significant amount of time actually playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, though doubtless he has played it at least once, on camera, for publicity purposes, if nothing else. But the image of Mike Tyson spending hours learning the patterns and perfecting the timing required to beat each of the racial stereotypes that stand before you as obstacles on the path to a bout with Mike Tyson himself is rather preposterous. He did, after all, have an actual boxing career in the real world to concentrate on, which you’d have to assume would take precedence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in 1987, NES