As a child of the 80’s, you don’t get many chances to race down to your local arcade and play the latest arcade game, considering my local arcade was a 30 minute walk from my home in NY. Since the mid 90’s, developers have discovered a way to emulate everyone’s favorite arcade games, but not for the PC just yet. It’s for your consoles. One of which was a collection of Atari
games like Asteroids and Galaga, as well as a few other notable titles which seem to slip my mind at the moment. Another console that got into emulating arcade games was the Sony Playstation. Their title was called “Namco Game Museum Volume 3”. This is another compilation game that features just a handful of some of the coolest 80’s arcade games to grace a Chucky Cheese.
Not to worry, cheapskate. No quarters necessary!
Just hook up your Playstation, and you’re on your way. When you first look at the title screen, you may think that these are either remakes or revamps of the originals. In some cases, you’re only partially right. I’ll tell you about it later. The opening to the Game Museum is a movie scene featuring characters from the 6 games you can play here. First in this museum of hits, there’s Dig Dug, in which you, armed with a grappling pump, inflate the bad guys until they burst. Sounds simple, right? Well, you’re gonna have to find out for yourself.
For you fans of Zelda, the concept of the Tower of Druaga may sound familiar. Players are armed with a sword and shield which I haven’t had much luck using. Your best bet is to just avoid these guys while you locate the key and finally open the door to go to the next floor, which isn’t ladies lingerie. Speaking of ladies, our next game, Ms. Pac-Man, may be a game more people recognize. We all know the object of the Pac-Man games, which is to clear each level of dots, while feeding your hunger with ghosts and some occasional food.
If you’re interested in some space shoot-em-ups, you may want to try Galaxian. In this little 80’s gem, you control that little ship at the bottom of the screen as you take aim at some formations of alien guys. Once you dispose of them all, you move on to shooting more of the same. You follow, college boy? Good!
Next, we have Pole Position 2, don’t ask me where the first one is. Here, you have 4 tracks to choose from. Just complete them with the best time and you’ll compete in the main race. I’m guessing this game doesn’t have pit stops, but nobody’s perfect. This brings me to the last game in the lineup, Phozon. This is the most bizarre game out of the bunch. What you have to do is move the chemic…a pointy thing, and form a specific shape with the moleks that fly across the screen. Who knows if this one was popular with the science crowd? In any case, these are the games.
Ok, now there has to be a reason they called this a “Museum”.
Indeed, there is, my observant reader. This museum has everything from exhibits to look at, to hearing game sounds and music in the theater. This game makes good use of your memory card. Here’s why. When you first begin the game, you’ll head to the reception area and…my god, the receptionist has no face!! AHHH!! Ok, I’m fine. It is here that you’ll enter your name to save your high scores (should you get that far). Once your name is entered and stored in your memory card, you’re free to move about the museum. The Main Hall is where all the games are, and you’ll most likely want to head there. But before you do, perhaps you’d like to wander around the games hallway and look at the descriptions for each game. There may be some of you who haven’t played these games since Reagan was in office. Nearly everything about each game is emulated, even the “Insert Coin”. You can just press the Select button to add a credit, and Start, of course, begins whatever game you selected.
Pure Arcade Bliss??
Well, yeah. People are going to enjoy playing them, certainly. The nitpickers will probably skip it because of a few things. First, let me begin by saying the opening intro and museum layout are fantastic. I can definitely see about 20 to 30 years from now an actual museum featuring many of these great games, and some poor doof dressed as Pac-Man waving us all inside. You’ll get to learn many interesting things about each of the 6 games, like tips and hints, for starters. I won’t spoil everything. The in-game graphics of games like Dig Dug, and Galaxian are emulated shockingly well. Borders, and game backgrounds will remind you you’re not exactly playing the real thing. This is evident in Ms. Pac Man. There’s nothing in the options to get rid of it. So you’re stuck with it.
You’re also going to have to deal with the fact Ms. Pac Man’s sound isn’t 100% original. If you’re one of those freaky gamers who know what the music sounded like exactly, you’ll be muttering to yourself, “This isn’t the way the music sounds in the arcade”. I wouldn’t whine about it truthfully. A few of these things can be ignored.
As for how the other games sound, they did capture at least some of the originality of the classics, so I will give them credit for that, and not kick their ass for what they did to Ms. Pac Man.
How will it feel controlling the characters and vehicles and what-not with a Playstation controller and not a joystick, steering wheel, or a trackball?? Not too bad. One or two buttons is all you need really. We lived in a combo-free world where we didn’t have to worry about pressing 8 different buttons in a sequence to make something happen. So those looking to break away from the norm should adjust to the simplicity of the controls almost immediately.
You can’t go wrong with the challenge. Some games may be difficult and near impossible to complete in one night. Some games you’ll finish just in time for this afternoons football game. Either way, you’ll have a boatload of fun playing every one of these games, which doesn’t quite explain why you’re the only one in this whole museum.