Monday, July 19, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Battlezone

Retro Game of the Day! Battlezone

Battlezone by Atari, developed by Ed Rotberg and crew. Arcade release in 1980 and ported to several consoles.

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes I will really have to scratch my head for a minute "what game have I still not written about after all these entries?" And then I realize that I still haven't covered an important game like Battlezone, and wanna slap myself..

This was one of the first 3-D vector games to really popularize the rendering style, as well as really immerse the player in the game - in fact I wonder what "truly" 3-D games preceded it (a little help?)

The game put you in the cockpit of a tank, and you were engaged on a one-on-one battle with enemy tanks in a 3-D wireframe space. Additionally, guided missiles and UFOs were out to do you in. There were a number of cover objects to maneuver around for defense, and a handy radar to help you keep oriented. This looks absolutely archaic now, but it was one of the consistently bigger hits in the arcades for years due to its novelty and immersiveness.

A quite different, but also excellent playing version was released for the Atari 2600, probably one of the best games available for the system. Battlezone has a pretty long and interesting history and it is a franchise which is still mined by Atari in recent years. Notably, the Army was so impressed with the game that they commissioned a version to be developed for soldier training - this caused some upset with the developers of the game, but eventually they went on to create "Bradley Trainer."

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