04 March 2010

Spider-Man - Atari 2600

Even when I was a kid I never understood why Halloween costumes were typically adorned with a picture of the dude you were supposed to be. Why can't I just wear a Darth Vadar costume? Why am I stuck in this plastic fire hazard with a picture of Darth Vadar on the front while my cheap, itchy, sweat-laden Darth Vadar mask keeps slipping off my face? (And what parent lets their kid go as Darth Vadar? Sure, he was the coolest. But he was also murderous bastard bent on genocide.)
The same goes for Spider-Man. It's the greatest superhero costume of all time. There's nothing a young boy would rather walk around in than a full-on Spider-Man costume. But, back in the 1970s, those costumes sucked too. Even Underoos wouldn't cut it because people didn't want to see kids walking around in their underwear. (Just ask my parents. They were summoned to my elementary school to be told I had a habit of showing off my Spider-Man Underoos to the girls during gym class.)
The closest I came to feeling like Spidey when I was a kid was while I played the excellent Parker Brothers video game for the Atari 2600.
This iconic game still holds up well today. Spider-Man is rendered nicely in blue and red with black webs that carry him up a building filled with bomb-wielding thugs. The gameplay is easy to pick up but difficult to master. Unlike a lot of early games, failure is not met with immediate death. If a bad guy breaks your web some quick slinging can get you back on the building.
Waiting for you on top of the building is The Green Goblin himself - and he looks good, too.
When it comes to video games, Spidey has been luckier than most of his crime-fighting colleagues. On average he easily gets the best video games. And he had a great start.
Even his primitively-rendered 8-bit costume looks better in this game than the garbage I was forced to wear when I was a kid.
By Victor Paul Alvarez

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