THIS IS HARDCORE
We live, viewers, in the world of the quicksave.
Through a combination of gamers being whiny wimps who complain if
they can’t see every level of a game the same day they buy it, and
designers being lazy incompetents who can’t make a game challenging
without simply killing the player without warning and relying on him
to have quicksaved so he’ll know what’s coming next time, almost all
of the tension and edge has been taken out of gaming. So you can
probably only imagine how excited Emulation Zone was to recently
uncover the world’s most hardcore games console.
The Odyssey2, known in this country as the
Philips Videopac G7000, was an ill-fated attempt to compete with the
Big Two of late-70s home console gaming, the Atari VCS and the
Intellivision. It was ill-fated because compared to the other two it
was technically primitive, and had a slightly nerdy image thanks to
its ZX81-style touch-sensitive keyboard, with all the “educational”
horrors that implied.
But what the Odyssey2 had going for it, that
meant nothing at the time but seems somehow heroic now, was its
sheer rock-hard-ness. In almost all of the 70-odd games that came
out for the console, you only get one life. No shields, no energy
bars, no second chances. You get hit, game over. Reality gaming.
The system’s most successful title, Alien
Invaders, was even more ferocious. Though you did get defence
bunkers in this one, you were faced with four lines of enemies, the
first of which comprised indestructible moving shields. Every time
you got hit, you had to sacrifice one of your own defence bunkers to
supply your replacement laser base.
And in the highly unlikely event that you
managed to fend off the barrage of alien fire and the swooping
attacks of the boss monster and wipe out the entire screen, you know
how many points you got? One. Shooting the boss monster scored zero,
shooting the second- and third-row aliens scored zero, doing
anything except wiping out a whole screen – zero. Games with one
life that almost always ended in a score of zero. Modern gamers are