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Added by ape on 17 Dec 2012 01:31
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Games of 1978 and Earlier - ranked by preference

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1971

People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Galaxy Game - Arcade
Release Date: September 1971 (NA)
Publisher: Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck
Developer: Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck
Genre: Shooter

Galaxy Game is the earliest known coin-operated video game...It was installed in Stanford University two months before the released of the first mass-produced video game, Computer Space. Originally, only one unit was built, but later the game included several consoles so players could play against each other. The concept for Galaxy Game is simple, really - fly around the screen and shoot at your opponent as they do the same to you. Since the game takes place in space, it takes quite a while to get your ship moving and it's also difficult to move in a different direction once you've started to move, so the game often breaks down into the loser getting hit by a stray bullet rather than one that was strategically aimed. For what it was, it's passable...But even for back then, the gameplay is very slow and it doesn't take more than one or two plays before you've had your fill. It's a historical game that's worth playing just so you can see how video games were in the beginning, but games that came out later on in that decade really blew this out of the water in terms of gameplay.
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1972

People who added this item 77 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0
Pong - Arcade
Release Date: November 29, 1972 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Sports - Table Tennis

There's a legend linked to the first Pong arcade machine: The prototype was installed at Andy Capp's Tavern in Sunnyvale, CA and shortly afterward, Atari received a phone call from the bar's owner, complaining that the machine had broken. Al Alcorn, the man who had built the game, drove to the pub and discovered that everything was working perfectly fine...The problem was that patrons had fed so many quarters into the machine that the coin slot couldn't take any more. Eventually, Pong took over bars, arcades, and living rooms all over the world. With its simple "don't miss the ball" premise, Pong is simple fun that anyone could understand and enjoy...And it's just as fun today as it was when it was released...So long as you've got a friend to trade trash talks with while you play.
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1976

People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Amazing Maze - Arcade
Release Date: 1976 (NA)
Publisher: Bally Midway
Developer: Bally Midway
Genre: Action

Amazing Maze was one of the early arcade games and one that probably will be looked down upon by younger gamers for its graphical simplicity, but for its time, it was very addicting. In Amazing Maze, you battle either a friend or the computer, with player one controlling a square and player two (or the computer) controlling a diamond. The first one to make it to the part of the maze where the other one began is the winner. When playing against friends, it's frantic fun to see which one can exit the maze first. When playing against the computer, it's not quite as fun since the computer doesn't make any mistakes. There's a handicap of the computer moving a bit slower than you, but it's still not much of a handicap considering there's only one correct path, and plenty of dead-ends for you to run into. But, for what it is, and for the time it was released, it's still a decent game and one that's still moderately fun today if you'd got a friend to play it with.
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1977

People who added this item 71 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 0
Combat - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1977 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Shooter - Third-Person

Combat is a simple game, but a blast to play when you've got friends around to compete with. Combat is a multiplayer-only game that sees players try to shoot each other with tanks, jets, and airplanes. The most "kills" at the end is the winner. That variety in vehicles to control, and the noticible difference in how each one controls helps bring longevity to a game that may otherwise get old quick. In regards to the early Atari 2600 games, Combat stands tall among the best games of its time.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Boot Hill - Arcade
Release Date: 1977 (NA)
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway
Genre: Shooter

Imagine Pong if it was a shooter, and you've got Boot Hill; a basic, but pretty dang fun, early arcade game. In Boot Hill you either battle a friend or a computer opponent in a wild west shoot-out. The goal is to hit your opponent before they hit you. The Pong aspect of bullets bouncing off of the top and bottom of the screen help add a little chaos to the battle and a limited number of bullets ensures that anyone who just blindly shoots at the beginning of the fight is going to find themselves out of bullets and defenseless as their opponent takes aim at them. It's one of the better (and lesser known) arcade games of the 70's, and it really deserves more attention than it gets.
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 0
Video Olympics - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1977 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Sports - Olympics

Video Olympics was basically the way for Atari VCS owners to get a copy of Pong...Except Video Olympics also has crude versions of soccer, basketball, volleyball, hockey, etc. to play. But really, nobody got this to play those other modes, though some aren't too shabby. This was all about Pong, and this compilation is worth getting for that video game version of ping pong by itself. Toss in the other modes and you've got a nice little launch title for a debuting video game console like the VCS.
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People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Indy 500 - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1977 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Racing

Indy 500 was a special game when it was released as a launch title with the Atari VCS. It was special because it got packaged with its own, unique controllers for playing the game with. The game itself was mildly fun, and like most multiplayer Atari games of the time, the goal is to get more laps (points) in a race than your opponent. Whoever has the most laps at the end is the winner. Then you can claim to be the winner of the Indy 500 and get sponsorship deals from your local, toddler-owned lemonade stand.
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Meadows Lanes - Arcade
Release Date: 1977 (NA)
Publisher: Meadows Games
Developer: Meadows Games
Genre: Sports - Bowling

Meadows Lanes might be the first bowling game. It's extremely basic by today's standards, but back then it was quite neat. You can play alone or with a friend, and a full 10-frame game doesn't take more than five minutes. Bowling games have gotten quite a bit deeper since 1977, but Meadows Lanes is proof that a game doesn't need to be deep to provide a few minutes of enjoyment with a friend.
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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Air-Sea Battle - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1977 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Shooter - Third-Person

Air-Sea Battle is a multi-player game where your goal is to shoot down more stuff than your friend. Planes and fish fly past (it is "Air-Sea" in the title, you know) and your job is to shoot 'em down. It's mildly fun at first, but the fun wears thin after a while. It's passable, but only just barely.
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1978

People who added this item 105 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Space Invaders - Arcade
Release Date: July 1978 (JP)
Publisher: Taito
Developer: Pacific Kougyou
Genre: Shooter

Space Invaders was so successful in Japan that the Ministry of Finance was forced to mint more of the 100-yen coins that the arcade cabinet took since players were shoving them into the machines in ridiculous quantities. The gameplay is simple, move your ship back and forth while shooting at the aliens that are also moving back and forth and shooting back at you. This alone wouldn't be all that special, but as you lower the number of aliens, their speed increases, making the action more frantic and fun. By today's standards, Space Invaders comes across as being kind of dull, but for its day, it was nothing short of a phenomenon.
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People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Breakout - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Action

Breakout is one of my favorites from the early days of video games. It's simple, and looks boring at first glance, but frantically trying to keep the ball bouncing off the walls, essentially playing a game of Pong by yourself, is a blast even today. There's a reason that Breakout was one of the biggest hits in the early days of video games - it's designed well enough where it's still fun over 35 years later.
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People who added this item 97 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Space Invaders - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Shooter - Third-Person

The Atari VCS port of Space Invaders is surprisingly good. ..I'd even go as far to say that it's a near-perfect port. To be able to enjoy Space Invaders at home, without having to plop quarters in all the time...That was a big deal in 1978. This home version of Space Invaders was a big reason for the success of the Atari 2600, and is easily one of the best games available for the console.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Dog Patch - Arcade
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Mideay
Genre: Action

Ever wanna play Pong where instead of volleying a ball between two paddles, you're volleying something between gunshots? Then Dog Patch is for you. In Dog Patch, a man in the center of the screen tosses what looks like aluminum cans in the air. Your goal (whether against the computer or a friend) is to shoot the can with your shotgun and make it land by your opponent. They're shooting too, though, and have the same goal. Occasionally the middle man will let a wild bird loose. If you've got the reflexes to shoot it down, you'll net yourself a hefty amount of bonus points. The simplicity of this game may be a turn-off for some (you don't aim or anything...just shoot) but that's what I enjoy about it the most. Like Pong, it's a game that's easy to pick up and play for everyone. In the early days of arcade games, Dog Patch was a decent choice to spend your spare change on.
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 0
Dodge 'Em - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Action

Dodge 'Em may remind some of Pac-Man, except instead of being a yellow circle thing dodging ghosts, you're an old-timey car dodging another old-timey car. The goal is to switch lanes and collect the pellets in each lane without crashing head-first into the other car, which seems to want to crash into you. The end result is a fast-paced, hectic game of chance and a wee bit of strategy. It's not absolutely great, but it's a decent game for the early days of the Atari 2600.
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 0
Hangman - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Trivia

Wrong title. No man gets hung in this game. If you fail, you see a monkey hanging from a pole by its arm. I doubt a stick figure man hanging by its neck would be something that parents would've been up in arms about back in the 70's...But then again, some of the stuff I see people complain about these days makes me wonder about how lame humanity has become, so who knows? Philosophical opinions aside, Hangman is an okay game, but like many games in the early Atari VCS library, it's actually more fun to grab a friend and participate in the actual pen-and-paper game of Hangman than it is to play a video game version of it.
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 0
Basketball - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Sports - Basketball

Basketball is a passable sports game that Atari made. It's not great, but it's okay. Another multi-player game, it's you versus a friend in one-on-one basketball. This is basic stuff, though. No slam dunks, just get open and take a shot. The person with the most baskets at the end of the game wins. Again, it's not great, but its an okay time killer if you've got a friend around, but actually going out with said friend and playing with a real basketball is a bit more fun.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Night Driver - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Racing

Night Driver takes some getting used to. I crashed all the time when I first played the game...But after a few minutes of trying, I got better and better...Eventually, before I knew it, I was completing the course without crashing once. That said, it's still not all that great of a game. For its time, it was kind of cool, but the better racing game in the early days of the Atari 2600 was Indy 500 - that game was excellent. Night Driver is simply passable.
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 4.4 IMDB Rating 0
Space War - Atari 2600
Release Date: 1978 (NA)
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Shooter - Third-Person

Space War, at first glance, seems like a sequel to Combat set in space...However, without the variety that Combat has in terms of various vehicles and play types, Space War gets repetitive pretty quickly. It almost feels like a downgrade from Combat. Had Space War come out first and Combat came out a year later, I wouldn't be so critical, but it was the other way around. There wasn't any reason to play Space War instead of Combat unless you wanted some outer space gravity physics...But if you wanted that, you could always just play Asteroids.
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Yes, another branch of my 'ranked by preference' lists...This time, by year.

Due to the lack of games released in 1978 and prior, I'm just lumping them all in this list to avoid a bunch of lists with just one or two items.

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Timeline of Games - ranked by preference (37 lists)
list by ape
Published 5 years, 4 months ago



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