Remember a time when there was no 3D ? No color ? Some games were firsts. And most of this is taken for granted today.
I'm going to repeat something I have said on my retro page. Knowing the history of these games now does not compare to playing them back then. When they were bleeding edge they stood out.
The first game I remember being different was an extremely difficult game. So many buttons :) But the real story was the fact that for the first time in an arcade game you had to keep track of something that was going on outside of the screen that you were looking at. Defender had a radar display at the top and you had to use audio clues to tell when a humanoid was being abducted by one of the alien ships. Up until now all the action had been on one single screen. But now you had this large extension of the world that you had to monitor. Was this too complicated for most arcade dwellers? Possibly :) It was and is still a very hard game to master. It wasn't until I got this game for my Coleco that I finally got the hang of it. Mostly because there were fewer buttons. It used the joystick for left and right where the arcade only used the stick for up and down.
Parallax. Remember being a kid out on an evening drive in the family vista cruiser. Watching the trees and telephone poles scream by but the moon stay fixed in the background. Parallax. Horizontal scroll rates differ based on distance from the observer. The first game to attempt the appearance of depth was moon patrol.
The ground scrolled by at the same rate as the moon buggy and also the attacking space ships. The middle graphics scrolled by at half the rate of the ground. And the mountains in the background scrolled by ever so slowly. For the first time something on the arcade screen looked like there was some depth to it. Raster wise that is. Vector games like Battlezone followed close by with true 3D. But this was the first attempt and success in a raster based game.
The first attempt with a 3D perspective was Sega's Turbo racing game. It had a strange way of moving. The objects were flat and sort of stretched and grew bigger to simulate 3D.
The strangest part about this game was the simulation of a hill. The road cut off half way up and the cars disappeared for a second or two before they popped back up.
For a while the look of this game made it harder to play. I was still into the way Sega's Monaco GP worked with it's top down graphics.
One year later Sega introduced the best psudo-3D game and one of the all time classics. Zaxxon.
This was the start of the second wave of the arcade games.
Visitors have played these arcade games.