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Tag Archive: Space Invaders


Atari box

Atari, the company that brought us the Atari 2600–the game system that revolutionized what it meant to be a zombie–offered families in the early 1970s the benefit of the neighborhood arcade without that annoying quarter-gobbling component.  Adults who shake their heads today at kids zoning out over their smartphone games forget what it was like when they first zoned out over  Combat, Air-Sea Battle, Duck Hunt, Asteroids, Yar’s Revenge, Berserk, Pitfall, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and all their pixelated friends.

When Space Invaders was introduced, kids lined up at Woolco stores for hours on end to play the in-store demo model to try to beat the current high score.  The earlier Pong and Breakout games were revolutionary–and addictive–but Space Invaders was exciting, nerve-wracking, and required a different take on an old skill.  Hand-eye Coordination became a new, finely-honed, almost magical power.  Wielded the best by teenagers.

Then something strange happened.  We got distracted by something else.  Most of us didn’t even notice when Atari vanished.  When modern video games playable on PCs via compact discs came around we all went searching for the original Atari games and for years, nada.  What happened to Atari anyway?

Pac-Man game over    ET video game

If you didn’t track the business pages for Atari back in the 1970s and 1980s, a new documentary will get you caught up.  Atari: Game Over is a nostalgic look back at the first video game designers and how one designer created the first great game for Atari, and later the last, and then vanished into anonymity.  His journey parallels several die-hard fans’ strange and curious search to prove or disprove an urban legend–that Atari lost so much money on the E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial video game for the Atari 2600 (thought by many to be the single worst video game of all time) that Atari dumped at least a million of the unopened boxes in a desert town landfill back in 1983.  It’s also a story of one of the first Dot Com economic busts long before there were Dot Coms.

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Space Invaders Pixels movie poster   Pixels Galaga poster

Last night Production Weekly announced the new title for the third Tron movie has been chosen:  Tron: Ascension.  Tron: Ascension will begin filming in Vancouver this October.  Oh, yeah!

Video game movies are back.  What conjures up more retro fun than 1980s arcade games?  Who didn’t have at least a few of these on their Atari 2600?  Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Galaga, Centipede…  This summer aliens have sent these animated pixilated weapons to cause Earth’s destruction in Pixels, a new 3D movie from Sony Pictures and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions.  Think of the comedy and fantasy elements of Ghostbusters mashed up with the annihilation of the world’s landmarks, Independence Day style.  All the makings of a summer comedy blockbuster.

It’s like the reverse of Tron–instead of shrinking down to the pixel size of arcade game character Tron and playing in the Grid, the arcade video game stars are now becoming larger than life, entering our world.

Donkey Kong screen

It stars Adam Sandler (when was the last time Adam Sandler had a hit anyway?  50 First Dates?).  He joins Kevin James (King of Queens), Michelle Monaghan (Source Code, The Bourne Supremacy), and Peter Dinklage (Elf, The Station Agent, Game of Thrones) as they defend the world against… video games from space.

It’ll all make sense when you watch the first trailer for Pixels, after the break:

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