Bad Dudes Did Not Make The List of 64
When will all this bracketing end?
Time for the battle to see what the best pre-1990 coin-op videogame is!! (The actual cut off is the game Mortal Kombat, so anything released after that is ineligible).
Just as a recap, pop culture versions of the NCAA basketball tournament have been run into the ground over the last month, so instead of 'calling on you to vote' or 'including anyone but me in on the process', I'll instead just act as though you've already voted and tell you the matchups and winners. This accomplishes two things; no votes not going my way, and not having to count and/or set up complicated voting thingies etc. No fuss, no muss. Of course, I could always be presuaded to allow voting if large sums of non-sequential $20 bills were sent my way or if someone showed me how to do it.
We'll do like the real tourney and do sixteen games each for the first two days.
FIRST ROUND, 'BUCKNER & GARCIA' BRACKET:
PAC-MAN v. ARABIAN: As adorable as it was to see Middle-Easterners portrayed as happy little magicians instead of bloodthirsty terrorists, this is the equivalent of a Colgate/Duke first round matchup. Winner: Pac-Man
ZAXXON v. LODE RUNNER: People were blown away by Zaxxon. The diagonal gameplay looked 'almost 3-D'! Compare that to another tired Donkey Kong ripoff. Winner: Zaxxon
POPEYE v. WACKO: Wacko had great characters. A big-nosed alien in a saucer, lumbering zombies and mummies. But Popeye had Popeye, and for some reason, we all just loved that goofy lookin' idiot. Winner: Popeye
STAR TREK v. SCRAMBLE: Scramble was one of the first horizontal playing games I remember seeing. It was so damn difficult, timing those bombs and slowing down and speeding up. Star Trek on the other hand was fairly easy and those Vector graphics are the coolest. Winner: Star Trek
CENTIPEDE v. KRULL: Another cake walk. I mean, Krull is so much better (just kidding). As a child, the cool older kids who could barely grow moustaches fell into to two groups, Defender players and Centipede players. It didn't matter where these machines were in the arcade just as long as they were turned up the loudest. Easy winner: Centipede.
TETRIS v. BUBBLE BOBBLE: One of Williams' first 'happy colorful' videogames, Bubble Bobble is semi-fun. But Tetris? Those wacky Russians learned from the Rubik's cube that simple shapes and patterns combined with stressed out strategery and memorized patterns equals nerd gold. Winner: Tetris
DONKEY KONG JR. v. QIX: Tough one. Qix is so unlike any game that's come before or after. Filling up 75% of the screen by closing off squares while avoiding a roaming beam of energy? I feel like I'm high just thinking about it. And DK Jr., even though it's a sequel is arguably more playable and fun than the original. In a damn close upset, I gotta go with originality. Winner: Qix
BOSCONIAN v. NARC: Bosconian was fun and had the benefit of mysterious sound (What the hell is that voice saying? 'Alive! Alive!?) and 'comin' at ya from all sides' gameplay. But NARC has junkies throwing needles at you while you run them over with a Porsche. Are you kidding me? Winner: NARC
FIRST ROUND, 'ENTER YOUR INITIALS. JUST DON'T ENTER 'FAG' LIKE EVERYONE ELSE' BRACKET:
DIG DUG v. PENGO: Who the hell brings a bicycle pump on a spelunking mission? And why are the dragons just as elastic as the bouncing rubber balls? No matter, it's still addictive as hell and better than that annoying Ice-breaking bastard Pengo! Winner: Dig Dug
MISSLE COMMAND v. PUNCH OUT: I can honestly say that Missle Command scared me. It's 'Mirv'ing missles, comin' at your cities! Miss one of them and the whole goddamn metropolis, babies, innocents, cute puppies, all dead in an instant. Fucking horrifying. Punch Out on the other hand, had one of my favorite characters ever created, Glass Joe, who would just beg you to knock him out and get it over with. He became a role model for me later in life. Winner in a slight upset: Punch Out
BERZERK v. BURGERTIME: Both of these games take place in a distant, bleak future. One where all walls will electrocute you and the other where our demand for bigger and bigger fast food products means hamburgers are now the size of semi-trucks and genetically altered pickles attempt to murder you as you put together a happy meal. Aaaagh! *Intruder Alert* New Winner: Berzerk
MOON PATROL v. SATAN'S HOLLOW: Moon Patrol's not terribly difficult, but is for some reason addictive as hell. Satan's Hollow has the added benefit of having 'Satan' in the title, but that can't take away the fact that it's essentially Space Invaders with birds. Winner: Moon Patrol
ASTEROIDS v. JOURNEY: Was the 'dum, dum, dum, dum' background music of Asteroids stolen from 'Jaws' or was it the other way around? Just thinking of how different the world would be if John Williams had sued Atari out of business in 1978 makes my head hurt. And speaking of music, Journey features Steve Perry shooting things with his microphone and Neal Schon with a jet backpack. In what's sure to destroy a lot of brackets, you shouldn't have stopped believin'. Winner: Journey
Q-BERT v. TRACK & FIELD: For those of you under the age of 20, no, this is not a game based on Filipino DJs from Daly City. About the only way that Track & Field wins this round is if you based the voting on which machine emitted the most noise at the arcade from spazzed-out people trying to hit the buttons as fast as possible. Winner: Q-Bert
ELEVATOR ACTION v. ARKANOID: Elevator Action was great. You had the music, the shady guys in dark jackets ducking in n' out of doors, the occasional guy getting crushed by the elevator. Arkanoid on the other hand. Boring! I never understood the appeal of 'breakout' style games and why there's so many of them. Yes, I get it, it's like Pong with a twist. Easy winner: Elevator Action
FOOD FIGHT v. TAPPER: Food fight seemed like a fun idea. Take Robotron and replace bullets with pies. It's like makin' a mess without the mess! But Tapper? It's a videogame (you know, for kids) where you operate a beer tap (sponsored by Budweiser) and keep everyone at the club/ballgame drunk. If you drop a beer or forget to pick up empties, you lose. THEY MADE THIS GAME. IT GOT INTO ARCADES, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. This wins just based on the chrome plated balls that Budweiser had to have had to go into the videogame industry. After the predictable public outcry the game was re-released as 'Root Beer Tapper'. Yawn... Winner: Tapper
Second half of Round One tomorrow. In the meantime, feel free to tell me I'm full of shit or a genius or neither.
UPDATE: The result has been changed in the Berzerk v. Burgertime match due to massive public outcry (i.e. 2 people). This of course means it would now take three Burgertime fans to change it back.