Tag Archive: 1980s video games


Review by C.J. Bunce

Not many books give you goosebumps as they take you back to a moment in time.  How do you create not only a new game, but a new industry?  Your next time travel adventure needs to be Arjan Terpstra and Tim Lapetino’s giant look back at not only Pac-Man but the rise of video games.  It’s Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon, simply an incredible, deep dive into the development of the video game and all its incarnations from its beginnings as Puck-Man, almost called Paku-emon (sound familiar?).  From development via pinball, coin-op, and theme park companies Namco, Bally, and Midway (and side-dances with Atari), fans of 1970s and 1980s nostalgia will see how a few key players in Japan created Pac-Man, and even more around the world expanded it into an icon–all out of 111 yellow flashes of light on a computer screen.  The giant book is full of vintage photographs, marketing materials, corporate and engineering design notes, and much more.  Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon might be the best video game history yet, and it’s now available here at Amazon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Video game dabblers and players turn into game company entrepreneurs in Netflix’s latest retro fix, High Score, a documentary in the vein of shows like VH1’s Behind the Music and The Toys That Made Us.  Pioneer designers and creators like Space Invaders creator Tomohiro Nishikado, Nintendo’s Hirokazu Tanaka, and Atari’s Nolan Bushnell piece together a brief history of video games with an emphasis on home play in this new six-episode, limited series now streaming on Netflix.  The series goes through the development and rise of games moving from upright consoles to the television set, with Mystery House, Space Invaders, Star Fox, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Madden Football, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, and Doom rising to the top as the touchstones of this modern corner of history.

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Last Starfighter clip

Greetings, Starfighter.  You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada

It’s no secret that we at borg.com are fans of sci-fi videogames–especially if they are part of a classic sci-fi movie like Tron or The Last Starfighter.  Thanks to the freeware programmers over at RogueSynapse you can download a freeware version of a brilliant, true looking version of The Last Starfighter as seen in the movie right now, and spend the rest of the weekend mastering your Starfighter skills.

Grig and Centauri would be proud.  Our apologies to your spouse.  The picnic will probably get rained out anyway.

Oh, and you’re welcome.

Starfighter video game screen freeware

Those from the generation that lived through these early video games recall keying in entire games like this that were included in Games or Compute! magazine.  It looked just like this, only it went on for dozens of pages:

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