Movies based on video games don’t have a great track record: last year’s big-budget attempt, Assassin’s Creed, from Fox failed to hit its target at the box office domestically (but did admittedly flash its blades overseas). But movie studios should really start mining the talent of the indie scene for help in making faithful and exciting video game adaptations.
Case in point: Adam Arnali, who has made a terrific short film titled Dead World, a prequel to the Galaxian arcade game that shows mankind fighting back against the hoards of aliens invading the planet. It’s got action, it’s got drama, and it’s got ranks of alien bastards shuffling across the screen. What more could you want? Check out the film here on YouTube:
I had a visceral reaction watching this new trailer for Adam Sandler’s upcoming classic video game themed film Pixels, but it wasn’t in one direction or the other about the quality of the movie. It’s neat to see these vaunted video game characters come to life, but in the trailer they appear to be in service of slight sight gags and weak punchlines. It’s awesome to see Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani make a prominent appearance, but then he’s used in a joke that merely subverts your expectations, which is one of the lowest forms of humour for me. I’m hoping that some more insightful, telling observations about video game culture and game nostalgia were left out of the preview for brevity’s sake.
Ah well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see when Pixels hits theatres this summer. It will either be the best thing ever, or the worst thing ever. For now, here is the full, official Trailer:
Out of Namco in 1979 came soaring Galaxian, a take on the Space Invaders formula where the little alien critters are not content to shuffle left and right across the screen, but break formation and come tearing down at the player, shooting at them all the way.
They’re coming for you in Galaxian
Galaxian not only helped usher in full RGB colour to arcade games, but also pioneered the use of sprites as graphical objects, allowing for the furious action that made the game so popular. It was as influential to video game design as its own invading inspiration, and spawned a set of sequels, such as 1981’s Galaga, as well as a plethora of remakes and ports. A particularly awesome port was made of Galaxian for the VCS/2600in 1983, so good that it seems almost impossible to have been done within the stringent programming confines of Atari’s warhorse video game system. Of course, we can’t forget the game’s treatment at the hands of Coleco, featured as one of the company’s popular tabletop LED mini-arcade games.
Bring the arcade home with you!
Down another path of sequels was handheld LED game Galaxian 2 by Entex, as well as the monstrous Galaxian 3 theatre games constructed by Namco in the 90’s. These giants, starting as 28-player motion ride experiences and eventually tapered down to 6-player walk-in arcade games, give the Galaxian player a suitably epic experience.
As our final entry into The 12 Video Games of Christmas we bring youGalaga 30th Collection for iOS, made by Namco Bandai.
This app was released in 2011 to mark the 30th anniversary of Galaga, the sequel to 1979’s paradigm-shifting Galaxian by Namco, distributed in North America by Midway. The initial download is free, and for that you get the original Galaxian for free. The rest of the games, available through in-app purchases, are as follows:
Galaga ’88 $3.99
All-games pack: $7.99
The app keeps the basic mechanics of the arcade games, and gussies up the graphics so the aliens look cleaner and buzz around with coloured glowing streaks behind them. Besides the normal versions of the Galaga and Galpus games, you can also play a score attack round and try to beat your high score in three very difficult screens. For control, you can chose a standard joystick/button configuration, or go for the option to move your ship by sliding your finger to and fro across the screen and tapping to fire, which feels much more precise. The app provides rapid fire shooting, which makes dispatching a large number of aliens at once much easier than the originals.
You also have access to a store where you can spend Galaga points in order to upgrade your ship with such ordinance as faster reloading shots or a forward shield. These points are earned by playing the game and performing well. Achievements and a ranking system rounds things off. Over all, this is another good update of classic arcade games for iOS devices. You can snag Galaga 30th Collection at the iTunes store here. Happy holidays!