Time for Recess!!

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Remember how these games kept us from doing our HOMEWORK ?    



Pac Man Game History

Ask anyone a question to name a video game, and I bet the majority of people will give you one answer...Pac Man. This is a game that has truly stood the test of time, a phenomenon that spawned a new breed of video gaming. Even in today's high-tech society, Pac Man is still immensely popular with teenagers and adults alike, and is continually released on a plethora of different systems.

The History of Pac Man

Pac Man was developed by the Japanese game designer Toru Iwatani, and programmed by Hideyuki Mokajima San. The game first saw the light of day on May 22nd 1980, and took a total of 18 months to develop. It was originally entitled Pakku Man, which is believed to originate from the phrase paku-paku taberu. Basically this phrase describes the sound that the mouth makes when opening and closing.

However, in an interview in 1986 Toru Iwatani admitted that this was only half true, and that the idea came from simplifying the Japanese character for mouth pronounced Kuchi (which is a square) as well as the basic concept of eating.

The game was published by the Namco company, and received mixed public reactions upon release. It wasn't until Pakku Man became released in the United States by the publishers Midway with a different name Pac Man that its popularity increased, and the history of Pac Man became cemented in stone.

Video Game enthusiasts saw this as a welcome departure from games such as Space Invaders and other popular space blasters of the 1980's. Pac Man's success soon sky rocketed, and a series of spin off games and imitations were released, and the maze genre of video games was born.

In 1982 Pac Man was released for the Atari 2600, it was the first version of the game to be released on a home console. Although this conversion was widely criticised by the purists, and saw Atari suffering a huge financial lose. But there was no stopping the little yellow guy that we all know and love. Other conversions soon followed on the Atari 5200, Commodore 64, Intellivision and MSX consoles and computers. World domination was forth coming.

Pac Man is one of the few games that is still being released two decades after the original, and popularity seems as rife now as it was back in the 80s. In 2007 the very first Pac Man world championship took place in New York. The game; Pac Man Championship Edition, which is now released on the Xbox 360 console. The winner Carlos Daniel Borrego won a Xbox 360 with special Pac Man artwork and signed by the games designer Toru Iwatani.

Pac Man is a true legend in video gaming, even in the society we live today. With gaming becoming ever more brutal and realistic, it still holds a fond place in the hearts of enthusiasts. Long live Pac Man.



Ms. Pacman is a popular arcade game released by Midway in 1981. This sequel to Pac-Man differs from its predecessor on the fact that it has different screens and a female character. It was also one of the more successful of early arcade games as its sales record is still unmatched. The version UP ABOVE was created from Paul Neaves Pacman and edited by Syndicates Domain to accurately to match the original Ms. Pacman as possible. *HighScore API Included*



History of: Frogger

The early 1980s was a big time for video games, with the various gaming companies competing tooth and nail to release the most popular game in the arcades. In this era companies were breaking away from the norm, and the trend seemed to be the designing of what can only be called “cute” video games. The example below is no exception.

Hot Dog Jumping Frog: The History of Frogger

Published in 1981 by Sega/Gremlin and developed by Konami, Frogger became a classic among the gaming public, with a truly original concept and theme. Frogger was originally going to be called “Highway Jumping Frog,” but after much deliberation, the bigwigs at Sega decided that this didn't quite capture the fun nature that the game was trying to achieve.

The object of the game was quite simple. The gamer had to move their frogs (5 in total) from the bottom to the top of the screen in 60 seconds or less, while avoiding the hazards along the way. In the first half Frogger had to avoid a bi-directional flow of traffic, which included cars, buses and the faster moving race cars. In the second half of the game, the player had to try and negotiate a fast flowing river by hopping onto logs and the backs of turtles before jumping into the home base situated at the very top of the screen.

At various times throughout the game a lady frog would appear. Bonus point were earned if you could jump on the back of the lady frog, and guide her home. Other bonuses were flies that would randomly appear in the home bases themselves. So the objective would be to steer Frogger into the base were the fly was situated. As the game progressed other hazards would become ever more present, animals such as crocodiles, otters and snakes. Although Frogger could jump on their backs,(except the snake) the trick was to avoid their open mouths at all costs.

Conversions and Sequels

Frogger, although simple by design was thoroughly addictive to play, and the inevitable release on home consoles seemed to increase it's popularity even further. These include;

Commodore 64
Atari 5200
Nintendo Game Boy
Microsoft Xbox 360

The success of the original lead to the release of numerous sequels including; Frogger 2: Threeedeep
Frogger 3D
Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge

There have also been many clones produced throughout the years including; Froggy, for the Spectrum, and Hopper, which was released for BBC Micro and Acorn Electron home computers.

The success of “cute” games such as Frogger go along way in proving that fancy graphics are not everything, and addictive game play is what turns games into true legends.



Tetris Game History

The name Tetris originated from the Greek word Tetra – meaning four. Tetris upon its release had a huge impact on the gaming industry, and is constantly being quoted as one of the top five video games of all time. Today 23 years after its original release, Tetris still is one of the most played video games on the market.

The History of Tetris: Tetrominoes at The Ready

First released in the U.S.S.R in 1985, and developed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov at the Academy of Science in Moscow. Tetris is single or multi-player puzzle game, that is believed can lead to very positive brain activity.

During play, the object of the game was simply to rotate the various shaped falling blocks or tetrominoes are they are known to form an horizontal line without there being any gaps. As soon as a line was formed it would disappear, earning the player points. The more lines that would disappear simultaneously, the more points would be earned. If the player failed to make any lines, the falling blocks would simply stack on top of one another. The game would end when the screen became full with blocks.

The fact that the tetrominoes were of various shapes, made the game difficult to master, the player would have to develop a strategy to become successful. The game manual referred to the tetrominoes as letters, these were in alphabetical order; I, J, L, O, S, T and Z. Each shape was made out of four blocks.

Conversions and Sequels

Tetris has been converted to every console, home computer and mobile device under the sun. The game as also had many sequels, including;
Tetris Plus
Tetris:The Grand Master
The New Tetris
Tetris 64
Tetris Worlds
Magical Tetris Challenge
Tetris Splash





Donkey Kong Game History

In the early 1980s a video game company called Nintendo first tried to break into the American gaming market. Time and time again they tried with various offerings, but their efforts were in vain. The final straw seem to come with the disaster that was Radar Scope. In order to save face, the companies president a Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi decided he wanted to convert Radar Scope into something completely different.

He searched for a developer who could turn around the companies fortunes, and design a game that would break into the American market. His search ended when he came across a young designer who had been with the company since the late 70s. His name was Shigeru Miyamoto, and the game he would come to design would become a legend.

The game would involve moving the main character, then called “Jumpman” around various platforms while avoiding all obstacles in his way. His task being to save the damsel in distress from a huge gorilla. The character Jumpman changed his name to Mario, and the gorilla? Well, he was to become known as...Donkey Kong!

Donkey Kong: A History

The arcade version of Donkey Kong was first released by Nintendo in 1981, and it became an instant success selling over 65,000 units. All this despite the initial discontent of Nintendo staff in the United States. The game introduced graphical techniques that were previously unseen, and broke new ground. Cut scenes were introduced to heighten the excitement of the player and move the plot along, plus there were the multiple stages, each of progressing difficulty to contend with. These included; Ramps, Rivets, Elevators and The Pie Factory.

In 1982 the game was released on various other platforms such as, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, and an MS Dos version. Since then Donkey Kong has also appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance.

The game has spawned many clones such as Crazy Kong, Monkey Kong and Donkey King to name but a few. But none of them reaching the status of the original, and rightly so. Donkey Kong was developed during the golden age of video gaming, and the programming behind it has to be admired. It's game play still holds up even today for many an avid gamer seeking retro gaming action. In my humble opinion Donkey Kong deserves it's status, long may it continue.



Q*Bert Game History

I bet any avid gamer from the early 1980s can identify with Q*Bert. The small orange character with a rather long tubular nose. The comic value of the game was immense. Whenever colliding with an on screen enemy the swear bubble would appear, along with very expressive eye movement. This emotion gave the character a very human touch, which many gamers instantly related to.

The history of Q*Bert: @!#?@! Those Gremlins

Released for the arcades in 1982, designed by Warren Davies and Jeff Lee, published and developed by Gottlieb, Q*Bert is a single or two player alternating turn game of the platform genre.

The object of the game is quite simple, guide Q*Bert around an isometric pyramid while changing the colours of the cubes. The early levels are straight forward as each cube will change colour at a single touch. However the colour will change back to the original if accidentally hopped on again. In the later levels the cubes have to be hopped on twice in order to change their colour.

Unfortunately the game isn't as straightforward as that. Preventing Q*Bert from a clear run (or hop in this case) at the pyramid he is constantly tormented by numerous enemies. These include Coily the snake, Ugg a purple pig, Wrong-Way a gremlin team, and Slick and Sam, two creatures who turn the colours of the cubes back into their original colour.

The only aids at Q*Bert's disposal are spinning disks situated at the side of the pyramid. These disks, once jumped upon transport our hero to the top of the pyramid. There are also green balls, that will freeze Q*Bert's enemies for a short time.

Conversions and Sequels

Unfortunately because of the video game crash of the early 1980s an arcade sequel never materialised. The original however was converted onto many home based systems, including; Atari 2600 and 5200; Commodore 64; Nintendo Game Boy and N.E.S; Sony PlayStation. There is currently a direct conversion of the arcade original for the Playstation3. This version is downloadable from the PlayStation store.