days used to be filled with laughter, and sunlight. Now, I
huddle in the darkened corner of my room, for I dare not go
outside. No, never again; I cannot imagine the horrible things
I might do to others...
do I know I am a killer? To what can I attribute this sudden
shift of character? One thing;
FOR THE ATARI 2600.
all started out innocently enough. A friend of mine sold me
a Colecovision, an Atari 2600, and a couple of games. The
Colecovision turned out to be a Coleco Gemini, which is basically
a smaller clone of the Atari, but that's a whole other story.
While having some free time one evening I decided to give
the Atari a whirl. I was going through the games, and was
trying unsuccessfully to play them.
losing quite badly to such classics as Missile Command, Donkey
Kong Jr., and Yar's Revenge, I came upon Berzerk. I slapped
it in and was presented with this.
I hit a button and unknowingly began my descent into madness.
course, this being the first time I'd played it, I needed
to take some time to figure out the mechanics of the game.
I didn't have a manual and the internet was too far away to
do any actual research, so I dove right in.
happens to be you. Sure, the character design is somewhat
simplistic, and you don't seem to have a neck, but come on.
This was from a time when you didn't have fancy shmancy graphics
and dolby surround sound, and you had to let your imagination
fill in the blanks a little, like watching movies that have
been edited for television.
are equipped with a weapon of some sort that fires flesh colored
bolts. This gun follows the classic Atari rule of "if
you can still see your previous bullet on the screen, you
can't shoot another one yet", but as an added bonus you
can fire in eight different directions. Which is useful because
you have to face down a lot of these guys:
left image is from the game. The right image is an artist's
interpretation of what the robots actually look like.
are the evil nasty killer robots or whatever. It seems their
sole purpose is to either run into you (and kill you) or shoot
you (and kill you). Fortunately for you, they do not move
terribly fast, and they only have the ability to shoot in
four directions, as opposed to your far superior eight. Be
careful, however - as you progress through the game they steadily
become faster, and by extension, much more dangerous.
you and the robots have been tossed into what seems to be
some sort of electrified maze. Why anyone would put an army
of robots in a maze with electrical walls is beyond me, and
why you're there too is even further beyond me. No matter.
What's done is done, and somehow, you have to try fighting
your way out.
after dying several times in a most entertaining fashion...
finally started getting the hang of the game. After awhile,
I switched over to the rather superior Gemini controllers,
and things were good. For a time, I thought 8000 points or
so was a nice high score. One Sunday morning, however, everything
had suddenly evolved from some little pixelated guy tooling
around an electric maze. I moved with purpose. 10,000 points.
I was now swiftly and efficiently going from room to room,
destroying all I saw. 20,000 points. The little counter that
showed how many lives I had stopped at six, and I'd lost count
myself. 30,000 points. Dying was nearly a traumatic experience;
a harsh reminder that even I was not entirely immortal. Fortunately,
due to the broken life counter, I could barely tell if I was
losing or not. 40,000 points. My Deadly accurate bolts continued
to defeat wave after wave of death-robots. There Was No Stopping
what did stop me? Well, actually, I sort of got bored. The
robots don't get any faster after a certain point, and there's
really only 5 or 6 different kinds of rooms.
now, I cannot leave my room. I know that were I to re-enter
normal civilization, the lines between fantasy and reality
would be blurred to a point that I would probably lose it,
and start trying to kill everyone in sight (but avoiding all
walls like a plague.)
wait, I just looked at the time. I gotta go to work.