Star Raiders – Ready Player One Video Game Replay

A first-person view out of starship cockpit.

Atari released Star Raiders for the 2600 in 1980. Somehow, someway … I never played it, yet based on Wikipedia’s accounting, it inspired many of the games I love including Wing Commander, and Star Wars: X-Wing. In the novel Ready Player One, it gets a single mention alongside such 2600 classics as Yar’s Revenge and The Empire Strike’s Back as well as the … Read more

The Empire Strikes Back – The Ready Player One Video Replay

An 8-bit snowspeeder flies toward an Imperial walker.

Parker Bros.’s The Empire Strikes Back Atari 2600 game is – according to Wikipedia – the first-ever Star Wars licensed video game. It takes place on the ice planet of Hoth, with the player on a doomed mission to destroy imperial AT-ATs (aka imperial walkers) before they can reach the rebel base. It plays a minor role … Read more

Kaboom! – Ready Player One Video Game Replay

A lone bomber stands at the top of the screen, against a grey background, ready to drop bombs into the green void below.

Activision’s bomb-dropping Kaboom! plays a minor role in the Ready Player One novel, appearing on a single line with classic Atari 2600 games like Combat, Space Invaders, and Yar’s Revenge. In the real world, it was released in 1982 and sold over a million cartridges by 1983. Me? Despite its documented fame, I didn’t play Kaboom until I started the Ready Player One … Read more

Pitfall – Ready Player One Video Game Replay

Pitfall Harry - an 8-bit stick figure - swings across a blue pond filled with three green alligators. Brown tree trunks and a green canopy appear in the background.

Released in 1982 by Activation, Pitfall features the adventures of Pitfall Harry as he runs, jumps, and swings his way through an alligator and scorpion-filled jungle in order to recover a variety of treasures. Pitfall sold over four million copies. It plays a minor role in Ready Player One as one of the Atori 2600 games found … Read more

Space Invaders – Ready Player One Video Game Replay

8-bit monster aliens appear against a black screen, descending toward orange shields. At the bottom of the screen is the player icon, shooting Space Invaders.

Developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978 by Taito in Japan and Bally (via their Midway division) in the US, Space Invaders is one of the quintessential 1980s video games. And, if I’m being honest, a little misunderstood (at least by me). I rarely played the game in the arcade; my exposure was always through the … Read more

RPO Replay: Street Fighter II

Two combatants face off against each other in Street Fighter II

The Ready Player One Replay is an ongoing exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Love it or hate it, there’s value in revisiting our geeky roots. Quote Since then, we’d used Street Fighter II to settle our disputes. My Joust skills were a lot rustier than I thought. — Ready … Read more

Dungeons of Daggorath – Ready Player One Replay

A simple, dotted line rendering of a monster in one of Dungeons of Daggorath's rooms

Dungeons of Daggorath is one of the most important games in Ready Player One (Amazon). Located in one of 256 recreations of James Halliday’s hometown (and childhood home/bedroom) on the planet Middletown, TSR-80 version of the game provided to be the gateway to one of the keys associated with dead programmer’s Easter Egg hunt. Quote “Daggorath” (with … Read more

RPO Replay: Joust

A single pixilated, knight-mounted ostrich prepares for battle against digital vultures.

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Quote I couldn’t help but grin as I read the name on the game’s backlit marquee: JOUST. Williams Electronics, 1982. — Ready Player One p. 80 Game Play Released in 1982 by Williams Electronics, Joust is a two-player game in … Read more

RPO Replay: Tomb of Horrors

Adventurers stumble down an unstable ramp in a dungeon.

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Quote But then, during the course of my research, I discovered an old Dungeons & Dragons supplement called Tomb of Horrors, which had been published in 1978. — Ready Player One p. 66 Game Play Originally created as a tournament … Read more