1977 in the Retroview Mirror
Okay, for a combination of lack of funds and lack of any sense of timing with eBay there were some home videogames that I missed in 1977. The only ones I vaguely care about are:
Stunt Cycle (a.k.a. Motocross)
Video Pinball (a.k.a. Pinball Breakaway)
Ultra PONG Doubles (a.k.a. PONG Sports IV)
EDIT: I completely forgot about Coleco Combat and Telstar Arcade. I still want to try those, too. END EDIT
I'm sure I'll be playing the "as good as or better" equivalent on the Atari soon enough, but that's not really the point of this exercise which is for me to appreciate the improvement of home videogaming slowly over time. So, there ya go. Really, my focus is on programmable systems, so I'm not mourning the miss too much. The other main point of the exercise is to have fun exploring.
So, to the fun. We have a Good year in videogaming in 1977, perhaps, the best yet.
Let's compare 1977 to 1976. First here's a picture of all home videogames for programmable systems available to excited videogamers in 1976.
Next, here are all the home videogames for programmable system available to excited videogamers during 1977. All, except for RCA's Bingo, that is. (godammit)
Here are the "Big Three" systems of the year 1977 and/or their offspring.
You'd think I'd have these things memorized by now, but with so many lists around it is easy to be lazy.
RCA Studio II
Bowling / Freeway / Patterns / Doodles / Math (These were the built-ins)
Space War (TV Arcade I)
Fun with Numbers (TV Arcade II)
Tennis / Squash (TV Arcade III)
Baseball (TV Arcade IV)
Speedway / Tag (TV Arcade Series)
Gunfighter / Moonship Battle (TV Arcade Series)
Blackjack (TV Casino Series)
Biorhythm (TV Mystic Series)
TV School House I Math Fun (a.k.a. TV School House II)
Fairchild Video Entertainment System
Left the system out of this picture because it already came out in 1976.
#5 Space War
#6 Math Quiz I
#7 Math Quiz II
#8 Magic Number (NIM, Mindreader)
#9 Drag Race
#10 Maze (Cat & Mouse, Blindman's Bluff, Jailbreak, Trailblazer)
#11 Backgammon / Acey-Ducey
#13 Robot War / Torpedo Alley
#14 Sonar Search
Atari Video Computer System
No, it's not a six switch, so I lose points for accuracy there and the fact that some of the carts are picture labels. (They certainly were not available with those labels in 1977.) Let's not dwell on that, shall we?
!!! Combat (a.k.a. Tank Plus)
! Indy 500 (a.k.a. Race)
Video Olympics (a.k.a. Pong Sports) (Yay! Four Players!)
!! Surround (a.k.a. Chase)
! Air-Sea Battle (a.k.a. Target Fun)
Basic Math (a.k.a. Fun With Numbers)
Star Ship (a.k.a. Outer Space)
Street Racer (a.k.a. Speedway II) (Yay! Four Players!)
With the exception of Basic Math and Blackjack all of these games get smileys in my book. Even Star Ship which, by myself, wouldn't normally get more than a neutral, gets a smiley because the two-player modes were pretty fun (for a little while). "Just a smiley" no longer seems to cut it, now that we're entering a new age of videogames. I added "excitement marks" for some of my favorites where a smiley didn't convey how much more we enjoyed certain games over their other lesser smiley brethren. Certainly, when one end of the spectrum is the stuff on the RCA Studio II and the other end is on the Atari VCS, I need more of a range than angry, sad, neutral, happy and happy plus plus. I want to do it without going all numbery on you, though.
Okay, 1978 starts in the next entry unless I take a tangent between years as I sometimes do.