Retro Rated – Alien

Factfile
Developed by: Fox Video games
Released: 1982
Format played: Atari 2600

Fox Games Development Meeting. Some time in 1982. Maybe…

The names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent

Bob: Hey Darryl, how’s that new game coming along?

Darryl: Great! Come and take a look.

Bob: This is that new film license, right? Um, Blob or Thing or something?

Darryl: Alien.

Bob: Yes, that’s the one.

Darryl: I’ve just about finished coding. Want to have a play?

Bob: Hit me.

Darryl: Um, okay…

Bob: Ow! No, I meant  show me the game.

Darryl: Oh, sorry. Here’s a tissue. Don’t worry about the shirt, I’m sure the blood will come right out. Maybe go straight home and soak it in…

Bob: Give me the damn joystick. That’s better. Right, so tell me a bit about this Alien thing.

Darryl: Right well this is a super cool license. It’s all about this alien that goes around stealthily hunting a group of…

Bob: Sorry, alien? as in the singular?

Darryl: Yeah, this super cool, badass scary alien that bleeds acid and…

Bob: Not aliens, plural?

Darryl: No, who would want to see that? Anyway this alien goes round stalking this team of scientists and you have to fight it off and escape the base before it lays its eggs in your mouth and grows a new…

Bob: Eww! This is for kids?

Darryl: Well the game is but the film isn’t.

Bob: Okay, okay. Right, big scary alien, hunting, killing, acid, eggs and escape. Gotcha. That sounds pretty cool actually. What have we got, some sort of claustrophobic, multi screen, timed escape sort of game?

Darryl: Um, kinda. Here, see for yourself.

Bob: Er..?

Darryl: look, you’re that guy and you have to go around and collect the alien eggs before they can hatch. But watch out because these aliens are chasing you and…

Bob: I thought there was only one?

Darryl: Yeah in the film, but in the game there are three. Anyway, they try and chase you and if they catch you then you die.

Bob: Harsh!

Daryl: I know, right. But check it out, you can pick up these power orbs that let you fight back and…

Bob: Hang on, hang on. This is just Pac-man, isn’t it?

Darryl: Well, I mean…

Bob: Eggs instead of pellets, aliens instead of ghosts. It’s identical.

Darryl: Well it has its similarities. But look, can Pac-man do this?

Bob: Whoa! Was that a..?

Darryl: Flame thrower? Yep.

Bob: Okay, that’s pretty cool.

Darryl: And that’s not all. Quick, grab the last of those pell.., er eggs to clear the screen and, wham! A new level.

Bob: Awesome! What’s the deal here?

Daryl: Okay, check it out. You start at the bottom of the screen and you’ve got to get to the super cool power up at the top of the screen but, get this, there are loads more aliens going across the screen so you have to try and dodge and weave your way up to the top without getting grabbed by one of the a…

Bob: It’s Frogger, isn’t it?

Darryl: ..um..er.. ha ha, Frogger? What’s that?

Bob: Oh forget it. So what happens when you get to the top?

Darryl: That’s the best bit. You don’t have to! It doesn’t matter if you get to the top, get half way or just stand still and die. You end up going on to the next maze that’s exactly the same as the one you started on! Cool, huh?

Bob: Darryl?

Darryl: Yes Bob?

Bob: You’re f..urgh…

Darryl: Um Bob, are you ok?

Bob: You’re fi..urgh…ahhh…

Darryl: Dude you don’t look so good. Do you want some water? What’s that coming out of your che…

Bob: AHHHHHHRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

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