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spy hunter – in search of Space Monsters

Friday fun – Midway arcade on AppStore

I must confess I have been waiting since day one of owning an iPad to be able to play the likes of Spy Hunter, Joust, Defender and Gauntlet on it. These are the titles that thrilled me as a young teenager in the early 1980s and basically thrust me in to a world of game development.
I remember fondly sitting in the back of my Dad’s car on a family holiday to Scotland sketching out my own designs for a Spy Hunter style game. Having played the real thing in the arcades I was convinced that there could be no finer gaming thrill than gunning down bad guys at high speed.

Gauntlet is a game I’ve written a lot about on here and my previous game development blog. To be able to play it on iPad is a huge thrill. It’s possibly let down by not (for obvious reasons) capturing the raw thrills of 4 friends huddled around the arcade machine but to relive hacking and slashing your way through endless dungeons is just fantastic. The graphics in Gauntlet continue to inspire my own games to this day.

I heartily recommend you nip over to the app store and grab Midway’s Arcade for iPhone and iPad.
Here is the blurb direct from the app store’s description.

Limited time Launch Sale for Midway Arcade! Only $.99USD – Includes 10 games!!! Spy Hunter, Rampage, Joust, Root Beer Tapper, Defender, and Arch Rivals. Plus 4 Arcade favorites: Air Hockey, Arcade Basketball, Pool, and Roll Ball.

All your favorite arcade hits in the palm of your hand! Lose yourself in this virtual arcade experience featuring 12 popular arcade games from Midway presented in their original cabinet. There’s even a jukebox that lets users play music from their iTunes library and a virtual prize redemption center!

Additional Arcade Hits are available for purchase as game packs.

Game Pack 1 includes:
– Total Carnage

Game Pack 2 includes:
– Gauntlet
– Gauntlet II
– Wizard of Wor

Note: if you are on iPad 1 you may experience a problem with the game crashing at the Warner title screen. To get around this I disabled WiFi – go in to Airplane mode – and then re-enabled it once the arcade was visible.

Developing a portal for free mobile games

Anyone who has ever glanced across my portfolio will notice that there isn’t anything in there that is particularly original. This is quite deliberate. A couple of years ago when I set out to create these JavaScript / Canvas games I set myself the simple task of recreating some of the games that I loved as a kid. Since I entered my teens the year Spy Hunter (below left) came out I hold a particular fondness for the game and set myself the task of crafting my own homage to it (below right).
I absolutely adored this game in the arcades nearly 30 years ago. The style, the feel, the music… it had it all. And I wasn’t alone. My friends and I stood like groupies around this cabinet for many an hour during the summer holidays.

spy hunter screenshot spy chase screenshot

The same can be said for other games like Defender, Galaxians, Galaga… the list goes on. So what you see in my portfolio right now is a direct reflection of my love for the arcade games of the early 1980s.

I suppose there will come a point where I move forward in time and focus on the SNES or something. I don’t know. But for now I want to bundle all these games together to present what is I suppose a bit of a nostalgia trip.
I always intended to create a place where people could play free mobile games at the tap of a button and I think I probably have enough games in the portfolio to make such a thing worthwhile.
free mobile web games banner
You can find the portal at m.spacemonsters.co.uk. Just now there is no sign-up or login of any kind it’s all just a tap ‘n go, free to play affair.

Ultimately I’d like to branch out a little an maybe embrace social gaming and have high score tables for each game that are stored on my server. It’s early days and I need to have a serious think about security and avoiding a spamming of my database. But that’s a challenge I enjoy :)

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