Robotron: greatest game of all time?

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How much do you like Robotron?

Really a lot
13
34%
A lot
8
21%
Sort of
9
24%
Not much
4
11%
Not at all
4
11%
 
Total votes: 38

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Rev. Stuart Campbell
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Robotron: greatest game of all time?

Post by Rev. Stuart Campbell » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:00 am

Something in another thread, and discussion over Edge's recent worthy-but-agonisingly-safe-and-predictable all-time Top 100 special, got me to thinking. Any game that ends up at the top of a "best ever" chart is usually a bit controversial. Lots of people can't be arsed with Zelda. Quite a few people find Mario 64 childish (stupid people, but still plenty of them). A great many find PC games like Half-Life 2 or Civilisation offputtingly complicated. There are even people who'd argue that (say) Goldeneye's framerate doesn't stand up in the modern era, and so on and so forth.

But if the best game ever is the one that the greatest number of people would agree is brilliant, is it Robotron? An almost universal inclusion in RG's Desert Island Disks feature, I can't think in my whole life of hearing anyone say a bad word about Robotron. It's incredibly accessible (even your mum can instantly grasp the idea of one stick to move, the other to fire), immediately entertaining (as even the most badly-co-ordinated player blows away waves of GRUNTs in a shower of pretty particle effects), and endlessly challenging (even players with years and years of practice will get their arses handed to them if they don't give it 100% concentration 100% of the time).

Unlike many older games it's even got a story, a classic dystopian man-versus-machine tale told chillingly in the simple but evocative intro sequence. The graphics, while basic, still look good today, and the audio is so iconic many TV shows still use Robotron as the universal sound of "someone playing a videogame". It is, as far as I can tell, literally flawless, a perfect test of pure skill that even its own pseudo-sequels couldn't improve on overall.

But is there a secret silent constituency out there who hates it? Let's find out.

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EvilArmourKing
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Post by EvilArmourKing » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:12 am

Well it's certainly no Killer Instinct! :lol:
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Rev. Stuart Campbell
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Post by Rev. Stuart Campbell » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:14 am

Oh, and anyone who votes "Not much" or "Not at all": why?

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Post by felgekarp » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:01 am

I like it, I'm just not very good at it and like you say it must be the most picked game for Desert Island Disks.
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Opa-Opa
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Post by Opa-Opa » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:06 am

Fantasic game and easy one of the best ever made.

BUT...!!!

If you have never played the real arcade version in a cab with real twin 8-way joysticks then you have never played it.
None of the Home versions or even MAME come anywhere near the real thing and if you vote because you "quite like" the version on Midways Xbox compilation then you haven't got a clue what your on about, sorry...

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The Penultimate Ninja
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Post by The Penultimate Ninja » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:09 am

Not Much.

I don't hate it, but equally wouldn't want to play it for more than 5 minutes anymore. It's too 'basic' for my tastes now.

Sure, it's a great entry in the history of our pastime, but there needs to be more than just twitch gameplay for me.
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sirclive1
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Post by sirclive1 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:21 am

Been playing robotron since the days it ruled the local arcade (along with defender) and the noise , the speed and the difficulty still amazes me. Could it well be the overall " best game ever " ?

Although if i speak about robotron , defender , donkey kong etc to my ps3 loving mates they shout them down as old , boring , graphically naff etc , even though most of them are the same age as me (36) , is it just us who enjoy old classics ?

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Sabreman
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Post by Sabreman » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:54 am

I find that these older arcade games tend to age better than a lot of stuff because the visuals are so functional, as opposed to games that tried to push realism or complexity and fell short due to hardware limitations.

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Post by Antiriad2097 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:57 am

20 years ago I hated it. It was visually impaired, looking basic even at the time (it hung around for years) and it was far too hard, so costly to play. It never took many of my 10p's, tehy were better spent elsewhere to max my gametime.

Fast forward to now, following Llamatron etc at home, I've grown to love it. Its one of the reasons I built a twin stick controller. Its still rock hard, but the functional visuals are no longer a concern - experience has taught me not to judge on looks alone.

I think the main factor is that whenever I die, it's never the game's fault, its because I did something stupid.
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Post by HEAVYface » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:15 am

i voted not at all.

i didn't play it back in the day, but have played it a bit on midway classics. i found it ugly, blocky and overly difficult (as is common with most american arcade games designed to grab quaters), i get almost zero satifaction from playing wave based high score style games anyway (the only one i do like is tetris), so i can't see what the gigantic fuss is about. smash tv also sucks. i do like the control mechanism though.

i prefer something that has a defined end goal, and which has been playtested properly (so can be completed on one credit if you get good enough - this is where smash tv falls down)

so in short, i have no nostalgic feelings for the game to gloss over its short comings, and the style of gameplay is not appealing to me (the same can be said of space invaders, defender, pac-man).

i guess all these early games have historic significance and are rightfully considered important, and thats why people rate them.

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Rev. Stuart Campbell
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Post by Rev. Stuart Campbell » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:41 am

HEAVYface wrote:i guess all these early games have historic significance and are rightfully considered important, and thats why people rate them.
It's got nothing whatsoever to do with their historic significance or importance, or Pong would be the best game ever.

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sirclive1
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Post by sirclive1 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:43 am

Its more to do with playability than historical significance , a fun/addictive/action packed game will always be played no matter how old it is.
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paranoid marvin
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Post by paranoid marvin » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:45 am

HEAVYface wrote:i voted not at all.

i didn't play it back in the day, but have played it a bit on midway classics. i found it ugly, blocky and overly difficult (as is common with most american arcade games designed to grab quaters), i get almost zero satifaction from playing wave based high score style games anyway (the only one i do like is tetris), so i can't see what the gigantic fuss is about. smash tv also sucks. i do like the control mechanism though.

i prefer something that has a defined end goal, and which has been playtested properly (so can be completed on one credit if you get good enough - this is where smash tv falls down)

so in short, i have no nostalgic feelings for the game to gloss over its short comings, and the style of gameplay is not appealing to me (the same can be said of space invaders, defender, pac-man).

i guess all these early games have historic significance and are rightfully considered important, and thats why people rate them.
but , like Opa said , you can't play it properly without twin sticks. You
state you found it overly difficult? - I'm not suprised - I'e played it on a DC pad and it's virtually impossible to get past the first 5 or 6 levels.

The problem is that mpst people have never played on an original machine - and like trying to play Arkanoid , Missile Command , Battlezone or even Star Wars without the arcade cabinet-specific controller , the gameplay experience is totally different to how it actually was back in the day
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Post by HEAVYface » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:09 am

It's got nothing whatsoever to do with their historic significance or importance, or Pong would be the best game ever.[/quote]


i guess then, you get something out of the game i don't....

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Spector
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Post by Spector » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:10 am

There was a nice version of Robotron on the Spectrum called Wild West Hero that obviously used just one joystick, but generally it's difficult to convert, and because of that I haven't played it much. I don't think Robotron is the best game ever, good though it is.

That award may well go to Asteroids. An unbelievably simple idea, minimilist graphics to the point of being abstract, and no colour. But the gameplay is immortal! It's just so perfect, and every game feels different than the last. If there is such a thing as a masterpiece in video games, then Asteroids is it.

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