I played the BBC Micro B Boulder Dash clone, Repton,long before I played the original arcade game. Where the BBC game was a relatively slow-paced adventure, the arcade game is fast and punishing.
Bomber Man/Dyna Blaster
Competitive puzzle action does not come much better than Bomber Man — or Dyna Blast as it is also known. Again, the idea is simple: plan bombs blow up the surrounding walls and your opponents. Playing against the CPU is challenging, but playing against three others is a riot.
Dig Dug, the dragon and weird tomato monster inflating maze game from Namco. It's an all time classic that Namco has pushed out on numerous occasions — which is fine by me, because it's brilliant. The moment when the last monster makes a break for it and the tables are turned is akin to collecting the power pill in Pac-Man, only with a distinct sense of desperation, as you scramble to jab it with your harpoon pump before it gets away. It's also one of a couple of games in this list where music only played when you move, which is not relevant, but it's very endearing.
Namco's spiritual successor to Dig Dug, Mr Driller has a far great puzzle element than its predecessor, but it's also more of a maze game, as you battle through the series of multi-coloured blocks, desperately trying to balance scoring as highly as possible with escaping the level. What's interesting about Mr Driller is it's possible to get quite far just drilling down and doing nothing else. However, if you want more points, you have to go for bigger blocks and more chain reactions. That's when the game gets a lot more interesting.
Data East's Burger Time was one of a handful of food-related games to appear during the 80s. It's also a great maze game, as you control fast food chef, Peter Pepper, along a series of ladders and platforms to assemble truly super-size burgers, all while being pursued by some truly demonic foodstuffs. Seriously, it's brilliant.
Pengo might look cute, but that little penguin has no qualms about crushing snow bees (which I'm assuming are very rare) with huge blocks of ice, reshaping the maze around him as as he does so. It's a real cat and mouse game, as you try to simultaneously try crush the monsters, evade their pursuit or simply block their path.
Mr Do offers a blend of Dig Dug and Pac-Man, as the little wizard tries to collect all of the fruit before the monsters get him. And when the going gets tough, Mr Do can whip out his crystal ball and blast the little buggers out of the way. It's a real risk/reward system, as you then have a few desperate moments running like hell while you wait for your one weapon to regenerate.
Marble Madness is one of those games that almost seems out of place in the arcade. Like Lunar Lander, Marble Madness is a little slow and deliberate compared to most arcade games. It is a true classic and the forerunner to games like Kula World and Marble Blast.
I never played the Dungeons & Dragons board games nor did I read Lord of the Rings (at least not until the Peter Jackson films came out), but I loved the cartoon and fantasy films like Krull, Conan, Beast Master, Hawk the Slayer and all those other cheesy sword and sorcery films of that era. The opening screen for Gauntlet, pictured above, sold me, even if the game itself was rather lacking the graphical process. So until the likes of Golden Axe and Rastan came along Gauntlet was the quintessential fantasy game to play.
The Pac-Man series are absolutely arcade royalty and I'm not sure there's a dud in the pack. And what's more the new games, such as Pac-Man Championship Edition are absolutely brilliant. I'm not sure there's anything else to say.