All play, no work
Randy Salas, Star Tribune
Last update: February 26, 2006 – 6:19 PM
When the idea came up to do a Web Search on sites where you can play online versions of classic video games, a colleague said, "You should run the package on a Monday and see if you can derail an entire workweek" in the Twin Cities. Let's give it a try.
This corporate website houses a virtual arcade containing 10 games made famous by Midway and Williams in the 1980s. The most popular were "Joust," in which your knight rides on a huge bird while parrying buzzard-riding enemies, and "Defender," the side-scrolling game in which you use your spaceship to obliterate alien attackers before they grab the humans walking a planet's surface. But my favorite is "Satan's Hollow," in which you must shoot down gargoyles while building a bridge toward a showdown with Satan, all to the synthesized strains of "Ride of the Valkyries." Also available are "Defender II," the giant-ape-stomping "Rampage," the sink-cleaning "Bubbles," the android-shooting "Robotron: 2084," the space-zapping "Sinistar," the car-chasing "Spy Hunter" and the soda-serving "Root Beer Tapper." These are perfect replications of the vintage arcade games. "Every roar and flash is identical to the original," Midway says. "The only difference -- the quarters are free!" Click on Play Classic Games at the top of the home page to get going.
Maneuver your frog across the road and river without getting squashed by a car or chomped by an alligator in "Frogger." The display is small, but otherwise this online version is just like the original quarter-eating classic.
CyberiaPC has two video-game sections, but the best translations of vintage games can be found in the Addictive Shockwave Flash Games section. Must-play titles include the 1980 sensation "Pac-Man" ("wocka wocka wocka"), the 1978 winner "Space Invaders" and the 1984 Nintendo target-shooting game "Duck Hunt."
Of the 40 titles in the Java-Based Games section at CyberiaPC, the real standout is a faithful version of "Asteroids." In the addictive vector-graphic game from the late '70s, you pilot a spacecraft -- OK, so it's just a triangle -- while busting up asteroids before they hit and destroy the ship. For those pining for the really old days of video gaming, the site has the original early-'70s ground-breaker "Pong" in both sections. Just hit the ball with the paddle -- or, rather, the dot with the line.
If you're struggling to recall any of the games mentioned today, check out the definitive Killer List of Video Games for descriptions, screen shots and even photos of the arcade kiosks. Then start spending your virtual quarters.
Note: You'll need common free Internet plug-ins such as Java, Shockwave and Flash to play these games. You probably already have the software installed on your computer, but if not, the sites offer instructions and links.