The more I play Blaster, released by Williams in 1983, the more the game amazes me.
Designed by Defender creators Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar, it features a startling 3D perspective as you soar over an alien landscape, blasting giant robots and rescuing floating astronauts. The visual effects are nothing short of astounding, especially considering the time at which the game was made. It’s no surprise that several designers at Williams would eventually move on to work on the ground-breaking Amiga computer at Commodore, known for its graphical and aural prowess. Added to the allure of this and several other Williams games, such as Bubbles and Sinistar, is that it came in an indestructible plastic cabinet, named Duramold by the company. Rumour has it, however, that the plastic would shrink over time, causing the monitor inside to eventually be ejected like a champagne cork. Talk about 3D effects!
Enjoy the following video we made of Blaster gameplay.
This is a graph of the percentages that various gaming platforms and genres have made up of the video game market, from 1975 to present day. It’s completely fascinating.
Culled from a database of 24,000 video games from VideoGameGeek, these charts vividly describe the roller-coaster ride of the rising and falling whims of the video game market. Witness as arcade games dominate the percentage, and then get steadily hammered down into nothingness. Watch helplessly as generations of video game systems yield to their successors, who yield to the next wave, in an electronic circadian rhythm.
To me, it’s very much like watching a colourful evolutionary chart, where organisms emerge from their primordial pong, crawl gasping into the sun of commercial acceptance, who then are driven extinct by more evolved species better able to adapt to the marketplace. It puts The Dot Eaters into perspective: It’s like breaking apart the rock strata of video game history and examining the fossils, in a medium of electrons and brightly coloured photons that is anything but chiselled in stone.
Reading this chart, I also can’t help but think of the companies, programmers and players who are swept around helplessly in the ebb and flow of the ever-shifting, ever-raging video game current.