Though my love of high resolution graphics and artsy indie games is strong, there is nothing quite like a classic arcade game. I had come across a preowned copy of Midway Arcade Origins hidden away in an EB Games, which I then had to fight my Dad for (I didn’t win). However, I did get to play it, and there on it I found Robotron: 2084.
This seemingly simple arcade game was originally released in 1982, but has been making a come back under new ownership. I say seemingly simple, because even though it starts as a shoot ‘em up with few rules and two-dimensional graphics, it quickly turns into one of the most frantic games ever created and almost sent a controller through the window (that would not have ended well, for me).
Robotron has a backstory, like most arcade games, that doesn’t really mean shit all in the grand scheme of everything. The game is set in the year 2084, in a world where robots have taken control and wiped out most of the human race, you are a superhuman tasked with saving the last human family. The gameplay is simple, defeat waves upon waves of robots without dying, while collecting members of the last human family to get extra points, before they’re killed or turned into an enemy.
It’s easy to understand why Robotron was such a hit, even with simple game mechanics, the frenzied pace and attacks are more than enough to have everyone aiming for that highscore. In my case, the reason I kept playing it is because my Dad is a master at these games and I wanted to beat him so fucking bad. He completely destroyed me and then held it over me for as long as he wanted, so you can bet your ass I played that game until my eyes were blurry and I was numb from the thighs down.
My Dad is a big part of why I am so into video games to the point where I study about, and make them. He was the one who introduced me to so many games. So, spending our afternoons yelling, and trying to throw off the other, is pretty perfect in our eyes. Not many people I know can say that their parent approves of them spending hours in front of a tv or monitor playing video games but I guess I am my father’s daughter, and all that. Especially when I win. There’s something about how simple, yet addictive, arcade games are that will always appeal to me and why they place high on my list of favourite games.
Robotron was made as difficult as possible, and ended up being a great way to test a player’s skill level and a good challenge for “expert” players. The game play was made more challenging in comparison to previous shooting games such as Space Invaders and Galaxian because players have to deal with enemies and projectiles from all directions, something its creators took pride in. The character is placed in the middle of the shit storm to purposefully instill panic in players. They must fight continuous waves of robots until they lose all lives, only then will the game be over, and if there is a secret way to get to the end, well, I don’t think I’ll ever fucking find it.