"Compared to [today], we were working with bubble gum and rubber bands and hot glue," complains John Newcomer, who created Joust, easily one of the oddest games in recorded history. (As you may recall, it involved knights with lances mounted on flying ostriches.) "The memory of the game was 96K, which was just nothing. ... So the real challenge in designing games back then was, how do you do something interesting with some nice animation and how do you do it such a small package?"
But those limitations forced the designers to be more innovative. Spin through that Midway disk and you remember just how hallucinogenically inspired that era was, cranking out demented titles like Paperboy or Marble Madness or Root Beer Tapper. And, OK, maybe Root Beer Tapper isn't the quite the must-play that it seemed like back in 1984, but least the designers were stretching for new ideas. Video games turn out to be just like sonnets and pop songs. Often it's restrictions, not freedoms, that inspire creativity.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.