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  1. Season 2, Round 1 of the Arcadia 2001/MPT-03 High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, January 21, 2017 at 10pm MST (aka Monday, 2am GMT). The game being played this round is Space Vultures, a game released in 1982 for the Emerson Arcadia 2001. Space Vultures is based on Taito's 1980 space-themed arcade game Phoenix (released in America by Centuri). Here are screenshots of levels 1 and 2: There are only a limited number of videos of anyone playing Space Vultures. In the few videos that I watched, it doesn't appear that players know that a shield can be used. Here is an example of one person playing the game (under emulation, I think): Here is the front of the Space Vultures box: Here is the end-label of the Space Vultures cartridge: Here is the front of the Space Vultures cartridge: Here is the back of the Space Vultures cartridge: Here are the two keypad overlays for Space Vultures: As is the case with nearly all Arcadia artwork, there is a weirdness going on here that is just about inexpressible. In this case, it appears as though there is a pterodactyl versus (yet another) Millennium Falcon-like spaceship. Ah, Arcadia Artist-- where are you? I want to know the story behind these box covers! Space Vultures - Quick-Play Rules Play Space Vultures on real hardware (PAL, NTSC, and any Arcadia family systems) or use the WinArcadia or MAME emulator. The only gameplay option for Space Vultures is being able to choose which is the first screen you play first. Choose to play the first screen by pressing start just once. Shoot all the small hawks on the first screen and all the mother hawks on the second screen. We're playing for highest score. Visit the Emerson Arcadia 2001 Central website for cartridge images and Arcadia emulators: https://amigan.yatho.com/ Here is a direct link to the Arcadia 2001 ROM images ("SpaceVultures.bin " is the filename for Space Vultures): https://amigan.yatho.com/games.rar Post pictures of your high scores here. Space Vultures - General Overview I'm using Ward Shrake's "Director's Cut" of his Arcadia 2001 section of the Digital Press Collector's Guide 7 (published in August 2002) for most of the information that is in this section. I'm including Ward's information about Space Vultures on three difference systems: Emerson Arcadia 2001, Leisure-Dynamics and the French PrestigeMPT-03 release: Space Vultures Emerson Confirmed. 6k cart. 1982. #1014 (7). Unauthorized clone of "Phoenix" coin-op. One player; left side controller. Long cart. See the non-U.S. section for notes on the missing mothership stage. Space Vultures Leisure-Dynamics Confirmed. 6k. #MC1013 (7). Long cartridge. Unauthorized clone of the "Phoenix" coin-op arcade game. Missing the arcade game's "mothership" stage for legal reasons. Circumstantial evidence strongly suggests there is a version of the game somewhere that includes the missing boss level. In June of 1982 Hanimex told the U.K.-based magazine "Computer and Video Games" that they planned to have a copy of "Phoenix" ready for the initial launch of this system. LANDMARK: Atari's initial survival plans in 1982 centered on protecting their exclusive rights to "Pac-Man". This forced consumers to buy their inferior version of the game, even though many better versions did exist at the time. ("If you can't beat them, have them disqualified"?) Atari spent much of 1982 setting legal precedents regarding "Pac-Man". Many competitors were already reeling from unexpectedly slow (or no) sales during the Christmas 1982 season. Atari tried to finish them off by buying up more arcade game rights, and barring any of their competitors from being able to make good clone games. One of the second-wave of licensed games was "Phoenix". A number of companies wanted to make a home version, but once Atari bought legal copyrights, they KNEW they would be sued if they put out an infringing version of the game. Imagic tried it anyway with their "Demon Attack" game for the Intellivision. Atari sued them, citing the boss stage as the reason. Other "birds in space" games were implied to be OK, since Atari did not go after games that did not have a mothership stage. Hence the removal of this stage by the makers of this console and its games. I say "removal" since it is clear that there were no technical reasons the level could not be included. "Red Clash" has a mothership stage in it; it may even be re-used raw assembly code from "Space Vultures". SV only used 6k of code, with 2k still available. This doesn't sound like much at first, but consider that "Crazy Gobbler" fit into less space than 2k. The game "Hobo" had 5 different screens and "Jumpbug" had 12 screens, and neither of those games used more than 8k of space. German collector Stefan Piasecki collected for the TVG console back in the day, and he reports hearing the rumor even then that the game included the mothership stage. He suspects magazine reports or internal literature had described an earlier version of the game (made before Atari bought the arcade game's rights), which is why shop owners told him that the stage was there. If you look at the Emerson console's box art, you will see it implies the inclusion of a mothership stage. The use of EPROMs instead of ROMs in the USA is suspicious in itself; it implies a last-minute game code change. The recent confirmation that these games were all written in assembly language, likely shoots down the idea that the missing boss stage is merely hidden inside the existing code, simply lying dormant and unused. (See also "American Football".) Last but not least… an MPT-03 catalog for the Prestige company appears to show a screenshot of the boss stage of this game. Olivier Boisseau correctly states that this may have simply been a faked screenshot, with nothing to back it up. But it also is just as possible that it is an accurate rendering of a game that once existed and was nearly ready for its final release. With so many other arcade clones showing up in two different versions -- an early one that was a blatant arcade clone and a later one that was a post-lawsuit, "watered down," legalized version of the first game -- it stands to reason that this game likely suffered a similar fate. The point to all this is simple… Ward wants people to keep their eyes open, so we can find and archive the full ROM version. Vautour de l'espace MPT-03 (Prestige) Unconfirmed. #MG-322. AKA: "Space Vultures". A catalog by Prestige shows a screenshot of the last stage -- the mothership -- of the arcade game. See "Space Vultures" notes. High quality scans of Space Vultures box, manual, and cartridge are here: https://archive.org/details/SpaceVulturesEmersonArcadia2001BoxScan02Back Here is the manual's cover: For complete information about this game, visit the above URL link at archive.org. I've included the important points from the manual here (including some broken English terms): Space Vultures - Video Game Instructions for Emerson Arcadia 2001 Cartridge No. 7, Part No. 1014 Object of the Game Watch out!! VULTURES from space are attacking your ROCKET. At start, either one of scenes, SMALL HAWKS or MOTHER HAWKS, can be chosen. Avoid the dropping bombs from the enemy VULTURES and their collidings. Fire your ROCKET to destroy them. An energy shield is provided to your ROCKET only in the combat with the SMALL HAWKS. When your ROCKET is energized, the firing from the SMALL HAWKS and their colliding cannot destroy your ROCKET. Five consecutive ROCKETS are provided to you for each game. The purpose of the game is to score as many points as possible by hitting the VULTURES. To Play the Game There are 2 different scenes of play that can be selected, SMALL HAWKS by pressing "START" button once or MOTHER HAWKS by pressing "START" button consecutively twice. However a second scene with 3 MOTHER VULTURES (See Fig. 4) will appear after all SMALL HAWKS in first scene have been destroyed. Fire your ROCKET by depressing any "FIRE" key on keyboard or squeezing any Action Switch located at the side of the hand controller (See Fig. 1A and Fig. 2) to destroy the VULTURES. To avoid the deadly bomb and collision, move your ROCKET left/right and up/down using the control of the disc/joystick on hand controller. In the combat with MOTHER VULTURES, you can control your ROCKET to move left/right only. If your firing hits the MOTHER HAWK'S wing or wing tip, the wing or wing tip becomes a SMALL HAWK which cannot be destroyed and do not attack you. But they will come back to attack you and can be destroyed in another scene after all MOTHER HAWKS have been killed. You have to hit the MOTHER HAWK'S body or another wing again, otherwise it is still alive and continues to attack you. While the combat with the SMALL HAWK, your ROCKET can be energized to protect itself being destroyed. Simply depress any "ENERGY SHIELD" button on keyboard. The color of your ROCKET will change to blue for a few seconds. A next energy shield can be set up after a short interval. The time of interval increases as your scoring point increases. Your firing or collision can destroy the enemy HAWKS but the collision does not increase the score. To maintain highest score on the screen, merely press "START" button for the next game. The highest score will displace on the bottom right corner so next player can challenge. Do not depress "reset" button, otherwise all scores will be wiped out. To Freeze (Pause) the Game This game has a freezing ability so that you may FREEZE the game whenever it is necessary until you come back to continue to play it again. Use right hand controller for freezing or unfreezing action. To FREEZE the game, press any FREEZE key on keyboard and all action will be freezed including the sound. Decrease the volume level of your TV if necessary. For UNFREEZE function, press any UNFREEZE key on keyboard and action will be resumed immediately. If volume has been decreased while freezing, be sure to increase the volume of TV back to desired level before unfreezing the game. Scoring Small Hawk (stationary) 5 points Small Hawk (flying) 20 points Mother Hawk (body) 25 points Mother Hawk's wing tip 5 points Mother Hawk's wing 10 points Space Vultures - The Mysterious Missing Mothership Level The Prestige Video Computer Game MPT-03 console, released in France, had a release of Space Vultures called Vautour de l'espace. Prestige published a game catalog that has a picture of the missing mothership level from that game. I used this tiny picture as a basis for my mothership "level" (a still image, really) that I released to the Arcadia Yahoo group on June 9, 2002. This "stage" is on most Arcadia multicarts. In 2002, Olivier Boisseau (I think), added a Prestige catalog to the old-computers.com website. Back then, scans were very low resolution. Here are the low-res scans that I used as the basis for my silly mothership creation: Here is a screenshot of the Mothership level from the screen I created: When "mothship.bin" is run on a real Arcadia, it sometimes comes up in 13-char mode instead of 26-char mode. Basically, it looks weird; like this: Turning the machine on and off again, or pressing the reset button, will fix the problem (this does not happen under the MESS emulator). The 2650 source code and other files for this mothership are available in this zip archive: Space Vultures - Mothership (2002)(Adam Trionfo)(Arcadia-MPT-03).zip Check out the bonus points area below for various ways to earn bonus points with this mothership level. Space Vultures Gameplay Options Space Vultures has a few gameplay options, but we're just playing the game on the default setting: just press start once to play (if you press it twice in a row then you'll start on the second stage; don't do that). Space Vultures (Scoring) We are playing for the highest score. 10 points are awarded for first place, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc. Space Vultures (Bonus Points): There are quite a few ways to earn bonus points this round: Space Vultures - Video Game Play - (1 Point) - I didn't find any proper gameplay video this game being played on real hardware (I'm pretty sure that all the videos of this game that I did find were made using emulation). Anyone who makes a video of a complete game being played on real hardware will earn one point. Please make sure to show that there is an energy shield available (press buttons 1, 4 or 7 on the left controller). Space Vultures - Video Review - (2 Points) - I didn't find any reviews of this game. I'd really like to see some quality video that talks about the gameplay. Anyone who reviews Space Vultures will earn two points. Note that a video review has the extra point built-in that would otherwise be awarded for a gameplay video. Space Vultures - Documenting Bugs - (1 Point) - As we've been discovering for ourselves, Arcadia games can be flaky. If anyone finds any problems, and documents them, then they will earn one bonus point. Just in case there are dozens of bugs, you can only earn one bonus point no matter how matter bugs are found. Space Vultures - Backstory - (1 Point) - Space Vultures doesn't provide a backstory. I guess one isn't needed for this game, but it might be fun to write one anyway. Write a background that may have been included with the game in 1982 and you'll get a bonus point. Space Vultures - "Play" Mothership Level - (1 Point) - Anyone who tries out my mothership level on real hardware or under emulation (and provides a screenshot) gets a bonus point. This is dead simple; everyone should get this point. Space Vultures - Play and Integrate Mothership Level (10 Points!!!) - Special Note: This programming challenge is open for all of season 2 (which is all of 2018!!!). Somewhere out in the world there may be a prototype of Space Vultures that has the mothership level built into it. Anyone who builds the mothership level into Space Vultures in a gameplay style like the arcade game Phoenix, and makes this missing third level fully playable in no more than 8KB, will get ten bonus points. Hell, maybe even more bonus points-- this might be negotiable, as this isn't a trivial task! This isn't a simple undertaking, but it might be fun to do for those very few people with the proper skill set! Summary I first played Space Vultures in about 2002. I didn't find it to be a great game, but it isn't bad either. It's simple and it works. I also don't recall any bugs, but it's been a long time since I've played this game for anything more than a few passing moments. Fifteen years ago I was hooked on Space Vultures for a little while. That's why I devoted some time to creating the static mothership screen. I wish that I had the programming chops to get this missing level into the game. I think if you give this game a chance that you'll have fun with it. So, give it a go; what can you lose? This season is just starting, so jump right in from the beginning of round 1 and have some fun beating the feathers out of these space birds! Adam
  2. Season 2, Round 3 of the Arcadia 2001/MPT-03 High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, February 18, 2017 at 10pm MST (aka Monday, 2am GMT). The game being played this round is Space Mission, a game released in 1982 for the Emerson Arcadia 2001. The game is very simple, but the manual makes it seem overly complicated. The object of this game is to collect parts of a four-piece spaceship and put them together in the correct order. Space Mission is extremely simple, but there are many frills (such as a 3D-tube launch of your drone ship) that do not affect how the game is played. Brett Weiss's mini-review of Space Mission from his book Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide, published in 2012, sums up this game very well: "The player's mission in Space Mission is to rebuild a four-piece space station within about two minutes. This is done by launching a 'droneship,' guiding it towards each piece of the station, loading each piece onto the ship, and placing the pieces in a specified pattern. Naturally, alien spaceships will attack. To ward off these pests, players must switch control to a 'commandship,' which can destroy the aliens with laser missiles. This is yet another classic videogame that contains spaceships that look like TIE Fighters, but the space station element does add an unusual twist to the first-person shooter genre." Here are three screenshots of Space Mission: Here is a video with gameplay of Space Mission uploaded to YouTube by "GameAnthology" on March 9, 2013. Here is the front of the Space Mission box: Here is the end-label of the Space Mission cartridge: Here is the front of the Space Mission cartridge: Here is the back of the Space Mission cartridge: Here is the Space Mission keypad overlay: Here is some alternate cartridge artwork from two various non-U.S. releases of Space Mission. I think that this cartridge is for the Arcadia 2001 in Australia: Here is the box for the release of the game on a generic MPT-03 console: I'm really beginning to enjoy the various different artwork for the non-Emerson release of Arcadia 2001 console game. Space Mission - Quick-Play Rules Play Space Mission on real hardware (PAL, NTSC, and any Arcadia family systems) or use the WinArcadia or MAME emulator. There are no gameplay options for this game. Just press the Start button and begin playing. Every game lasts two minutes. We're playing for the highest score with the lowest time. This may make scoring a little difficult; we'll see how this works out during the full round. I'll make adjustments to the scoring if it seems necessary. Visit the Emerson Arcadia 2001 Central website for cartridge images and Arcadia emulators: https://amigan.yatho.com/ Here is a direct link to the Arcadia 2001 ROM images ("SpaceMission.bin" is the filename for Space Mission): https://amigan.yatho.com/games.rar Here are some Space Mission notes from James Jacobs' Emerson Arcadia 2001 Gaming Guide: http://amigan.1emu.net/agg/index.html#smission Post pictures of your high scores here. Space Mission - General Overview I'm using Ward Shrake's "Director's Cut" of his Arcadia 2001 section of the Digital Press Collector's Guide 7 (published in August 2002) for most of the information that is in this section. I'm including Ward's information about Space Mission on two difference systems, the Emerson Arcadia 2001, and the Sheen. Through-out the world Space Mission is also known as Mission Spaciale, Raumfahrt and Weltraum-Abenteuer. Space Mission - Emerson - 4k cart. 1982. #1019. Cartridge #9. Space Mission - Sheen - #M4. - One player game; uses left side controller. Game by "UA Limited". "Object is to assemble a spaceship in space," according to game instructions printed on the rear of the cartridge. Label art shows space ships from the movie "Star Wars". You appear to be looking over the shoulder of an "Imperial Pilot" inside a "TIE fighter". Looking out the round front window, you can see the "Death Star". The "TIE Pilot" is apparently firing on the "Millennium Falcon" space ship. High quality scans of Space Mission box, manual, and cartridge are here: https://archive.org/details/SpaceMissionEmersonArcadia2001 Here is the manual's cover: For complete information about this game, visit the above URL link at archive.org. I've included the important points from the manual here (including some broken English terms): Space Mission Instructions Video Game Instructions for Emerson Arcadia 2001 Cartridge No. 9, Part No. 1019 Object of the Game Your mission is to build a space station in the limited 2 minutes time. The space station is divided into 4 pieces and each piece is floating in space. You have to launch a "DRONE SHIP" to "LOAD" (PICK UP) and "UNLOAD" (DROP) the pieces at the appropriate spot to build the station, while you are at the bridge of a Mother Ship. There will Alien Fighters Firing at your DRONE SHIP. Steer your DRONE SHIP to keep away from the gunfire. If the DRONE SHIP is destroyed by the gunfire, another can be launched. There is no limit to how many DRONE SHIPS can be launched. While building up your space station, you can shoot your laser gun at the Alien Fighters. However, you can shoot your laser gun only when your DRONE SHIP is unloaded. Mission will fail if you can't build the station in the limited 2 minutes time. Score will be given if mission is completed within minutes, according to the following formula. SCORE = 100 x (MINUTES LEFT) + 1 x (SECONDS LEFT) + 10 x (ALIEN FIGHTERS DESTROYED) + 100 To Start the Game Press POWER Switch to "ON" Position, the red POWER light will be lit. Press "RESET" button, the "SPACE MISSION" will shown in screen. The upper Left corner shows the space station to be built (see fig. 3). Press "START" button to start the game. To Play the Game Once the game has started, you are at the bridge of the Mother Ship and have a 360 degrees view of space. Steer the Mother Ship by pressing the control disc in direction you want to fly. To fire Laser Gun - Press "FIRE" button on the overlay Laser Gun will keep firing as long as you press the "FIRE" button. Press disc to steer the Mother Ship and aim at the Alien Fighters. To launch Drone Ship - Press launch button. A close up take- off view of the Drone Ship will be shown and take off engine sound will be heard. To Control the Drone Ship - Use control disc to steer the Mother Ship. Both Drone Ship and Mother Ship move. Press "STEER" button on the overlay and use the stick control to control direction. This allows you to steer the Drone Ship only. The Mother Ship will stop moving. To pick (LOAD) the space station pieces - steer the Drone Ship to the piece you want to pick up, then press "LOAD" button. When the piece is loaded it will change color. Carry the piece to the desired place and drop it by pressing "UNLOAD" button. Try to bring it to connect to the piece you want to join. If "UNLOAD" button does not release it then try to match it closer to the other piece. Continue this action until the 4 pieces have been put together in correct order (according to original view, see fig. III). To review the status and score of the game, press "SCAN" button on the overlay. This will show you the time left and status of Alien Fighters. To return to the bridge view, press "BRIDGE" button. (This will not function when the Alien Fighter is firing.) If you complete the assembly of the space station within 2 minutes time. A "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" will appear and your score will be revealed. Congratulations! If you fail to complete the assembly in the two minutes time, try again. Good Luck and Happy Space Mission. NOTE: This is the way the assembled Space Station should look after you have successfully put all the pieces together. Space Mission Gameplay Options Space Mission has no gameplay options. Just start collecting the parts of the ship and put them together in the correct order as quickly as you can. Space Mission (Scoring) We are playing for the highest score with the fastest time. 10 points are awarded for first place, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc. Space Mission (Bonus Points): There are quite a few ways to earn bonus points this round: Space Mission - Video Review - (2 Points) - I didn't find any reviews of this game. Maybe because the game is so short? I'd really like to see some quality video that talks about the gameplay. Because of the time it takes to make a "proper" video review, anyone who reviews Space Mission will earn two points. Space Mission - Documenting Bugs - (1 Point) - As we've been discovering for ourselves, Arcadia games can be flaky. If anyone finds any problems, and documents them, then they will earn one bonus point. Just in case there are dozens of bugs, you can only earn one bonus point no matter how matter bugs are found. Space Mission - Backstory - (1 Point) - Space Mission doesn't provide a backstory. I guess one isn't needed for this game, but it might be fun to write one anyway. Write a background that may have been included with the game in 1982 and you'll get a bonus point. Summary What is it with the Arcadia 2001 and timed games? Were these sorts of games easier to create? I completed a full game of Space Mission today for the first time. There isn't much to this one. I wouldn't say that this game is bad-- it just seems like a missed opportunity because it's far too short. There could have been so much more to this game if a little more time had been spent on it. But, like nearly all other games on this console I've played so far, time spent on gameplay was not a "luxury" granted to Arcadia 2001 games. It's time to start playing Space Mission. This game is very short-- you'll complete your first game nearly before you start playing it. I'm curious if playing this game against other people will make it feel a little more competitive and keep me coming back for just one more game to shave off a second or two or maybe to score a few more points. If you've not played in a high score club round before now, then now's the time to join in! Have a fun third round, everyone! Adam
  3. Season 2, Round 2 of the Arcadia 2001/MPT-03 High Score Club will last about two weeks. This round ends on Sunday, February 4, 2017 at 10pm MST (aka Monday, 2am GMT). The game being played this round is Alien Invaders, a game released in 1982 for the Emerson Arcadia 2001. Alien Invaders is based on Taito's 1978 space-themed arcade game Space Invaders (released in America by Midway). For such a very simple game, there really is a huge amount of information in this post. You don't need to read it all (just pick up the controller and start firing-away at the baddies!), but if you're interested in the game's history, then you'll enjoy this post. Here is a screenshot of the game with all the alien invaders on the screen: Here is a catalog (I'm not sure for which console family-- maybe the Arcadia 2001?), that has a description of the game and artwork that I've not seen anywhere else: Here is the description for the above page of the catalog (from the "tea" reference, maybe this is from an English console release?): Seventy space invaders are fast on their way towards your city, and you can be sure they're not dropping in for afternoon tea! You have just five minutes of accelerated computer time to blast the nasties and save your city from certain destruction. There are three fortresses, behind which your missiles are safe. But watch out! These invaders are smart! If you hide there too long, they'll bombard the castle walls, so keep moving around or the evil space critters will get you, and we wouldn't wish that on anyone! Here is a video with gameplay of Alien Invaders uploaded to YouTube by "GuiasInfojuegos" on March 3, 2013. The sound in this video seems a little different from what I hear on my NTSC system. Maybe because it's being played on a PAL console? Here is the front of the Alien Invaders box: Here is the end-label of the Alien Invaders cartridge: Here is the front of the Alien Invaders cartridge: Here is the back of the Alien Invaders cartridge: The American release of Alien Invaders has no keypad overlays. Yup, you guessed right! This artwork is just plain weird! I guess no Emerson Arcadia artwork should surprise me by now. At least this art doesn't appear to resemble a Millennium Falcon. Hey, Arcadia Graphic Artist! Can you hear me? I want to interview you! I haven't really looked much into the non-American releases of Arcadia games for the Arcadia HSC, but I was curious if any of the games have better artwork-- and some of them surely do. The following pictures of boxes and cartridges all come from James Jacob's website, Emerson Arcadia 2001 Central ( This website supports all of the Signetics 2650-based machines (Interton VC 4000, Elektor TV Games Computer, et al.). Here is alternate box and cartridge artwork for a release of Alien Invaders for the Emerson Arcadia 2001 (where was this released?): Here is the box for the German Schmed TVG 2000 (an Arcadia family console): Here is the box for the Swiss Intervision 2001 (Ormatu family console): Here is the box and cartridge for the release of the game on a generic MPT-03 console: Here is the cartridge for the Australian Sheen Home Video Centre 2001 (Ormatu family console): Alien Invaders - Quick-Play Rules Play Alien Invaders on real hardware (PAL, NTSC, and any Arcadia family systems) or use the WinArcadia or MAME emulator. There are no gameplay options for this game. Just press the Start button and begin playing. Every game lasts about three minutes, no matter how many lives you have left. We're playing for highest score. Visit the Emerson Arcadia 2001 Central website for cartridge images and Arcadia emulators: https://amigan.yatho.com/ Here is a direct link to the Arcadia 2001 ROM images ("AlienInvaders.bin" is the filename for Alien Invaders): https://amigan.yatho.com/games.rar Post pictures of your high scores here. Alien Invaders - General Overview I'm using Ward Shrake's "Director's Cut" of his Arcadia 2001 section of the Digital Press Collector's Guide 7 (published in August 2002) for most of the information that is in this section. I'm including Ward's information about Alien Invaders on two difference systems, the Emerson Arcadia 2001, and the Bandai Arcadia. Alien Invaders is also known by at least four other names: Alien, Alien Invader, Invasion aus dem Weltall, and Les envahisseurs étrangers. Alien Invaders Emerson 4k cart. 1981. #1003 (Cart #8 ). Short case. One player game; uses left side controller. Unauthorized clone of the coin-op arcade game "Space Invaders". One of the earliest games and it shows. Not a game to impress potential new console fans with! Alien Invaders Bandai 4k. Bandai #3. One player game; uses left side controller. Short cartridge. Clone of the "Space Invaders" coin-op. Manufacturing codes found printed on masked ROMs made by Signetics show this is one of the earliest carts written for the console. Without much effort, we researchers found carts dated "8103" and "8108"… in other words, weeks 3 and 8 of 1981. To put that in perspective, realize that Emerson said in an official U.S. trademark application that their first use of the console name was in March of 1982; 15 months later. Even so, the program's history goes back even farther, in some form. Back in the days of the Arcadia 2001's "prequel" console -- the "Interton VC-4000" and its clones -- Signetics had released assembly code listings of a short "Space Invaders" game, to show consumers how to write programs for that console. This Arcadia program is likely a ported and updated version of that much-earlier Interton game. It is very interesting historically because of all that, but from the point of view of a potential new console buyer during 1982, this game and others like it most likely hurt potential console sales, big time! The graphics looked awfully simple when compared to next generation machine's games, even though they were not bad compared to many earlier contemporary clones of the "Space Invaders" genre. I may go so far as to say it had the same effect on people that the Atari 2600 version of "Pac-Man" often had… to make a potential console buyer think that, "if this is the best this console can do, then I do not want to buy it." Most people had seen various better versions of the game. The white background was off-putting and not visually appealing. Sluggish game play did not help matters much. Later games proved this was NOT all the console could do, but in some markets, buyers saw the new machine show up in stores briefly, then disappear into bargain-bin and closeout sale obscurity alongside machines like the Timex Sinclair. Having seen games like this, most modern collectors figured they knew why. A handful of modern collectors saw the later games and liked them, but until 1999 or so no one knew for sure that games on MPT-03 consoles were ROM-compatible with Arcadia machines. Anyway, we can only hope that retro-gamers figure out good games can be done on this console, despite the impression of games like this. High quality scans of Alien Invaders box, manual, and cartridge are here: https://archive.org/details/AlienInvadersEmersonArcadia2001 Here is the manual's cover: For complete information about this game, visit the above URL link at archive.org. I've included the important points from the manual here (including some broken English terms): Alien Invaders Instructions Video Game Instructions for Emerson Arcadia 2001 Cartridge No. 8, Part No. 1003 Your city and 6 missile launchers are under attack by 70 "invaders" who were launched by their "MOTHER SHIPS." The object of the game is to shoot down ALL THE INVADERS & THE MOTHER SHIPS before they destroy your missile launchers. You have 5 minutes of accellerated computer time showing (actual time is approx. 3 minutes) to accomplish this task. At the end of the game your score will appear at the top of the screen. It will remain in the computer memory as "HI" score until someone "beats" it. The next Higher Score will automatically replace it. This game can be played by as many consecutive players as desired. The "HI" score will remain on display as long as each successive game is triggered by the "START" button if power has not been turned "OFF." IN ORDER TO "ERASE" the HI-score you can either push the "POWER" button or push the GAME RESET BUTTON. To Begin Play You will hear musical notes and first see the MISSILE LAUNCHERS, THE CITY and THE DEFENSIVE CASTLES, in red, yellow, green and black colors. You will also see time 5.00 and 000 HI. Slowly the mother ship will appear below "000" and you will see the "INVADERS" being launched by the mother ship. The game is ready for ACTION. How to Play Since this is a "ONE PLAYER AT A TIME" game, the Left Hand Controller will be used. Pick up left hand controller with "Disc" towards you. The controller has 4 functions. Move the missile launcher to the left — depress left side of Disc (9 o'clock) Move the missile launcher to the right — depress right side of Disc (3 o'clock) Stop the missile launcher — release Disc. Fire missile - Depress side button (either one) or press digit #2. Press Start Button 1. The invaders will start moving and shooting at the missile launchers. 2. Press "Disc" for evasive action. The missile launchers can move left or right. You have 3 fortresses behind which your missiles are "safe". However, the invaders can penetrate your "FORTRESS" cover one block at a time. You can also shoot thru the fortress at the invaders. Every time your missile hits the fortress it also destroys 1 protective block. Shooting You will see on the screen a black missile on top of launcher. To shoot, squeeze either Action Switches or press # 2 on keyboard. After each missile is launched the next missile will be loaded and ready to fire. You will notice that as the invaders descend on the city- the buildings will shrink accordingly. As you hide your missiles behind their defensive castles the invaders will seek out that particular castle and "bomebard" it. So keep your missile launcher on the move. If you merely try to hide behind the "castle", the invaders will "get you". Scoring Whenever your missiles hit the invaders you will hear a "hit" sound and it will show on your score. The points are: Hit yellow invader 1 point Hit green invader 2 points Hit red invader 3 points Hit black invader 4 points Hit Mother Ship 9 points At the end of the 5 minutes, for each missile launcher you have left you receive an additional 10 points per launcher. At the end of the game your score will show. If it is the highest score, then it will also appear next to "HI." The HI score for the competition can only be removed if the RESET button is depressed or the power is turned off. Time 1. Invaders will move faster and will start descending as time goes on. 2. The game ends when all missile launchers have been destroyed or the time runs out. To Play Next Game If you wish to retain the HI-score then merely depress the "START" Button. Then continue. If you wish to erase the HI-score then merely depress the "RESET" button. The high Score will show a blank and your next score will become the Hl-score. Pausing the Game? Unlike most Arcadia 2001 games, there doesn't seem to be a "freeze" feature in this game. Alien Invaders Gameplay Options Alien Invaders has no gameplay options. Just start shooting at those terrible attackers. Alien Invaders (Scoring) We are playing for the highest score. 10 points are awarded for first place, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc. Alien Invaders (Bonus Points): There are quite a few ways to earn bonus points this round: Alien Invaders - Video Review - (2 Points) - I didn't find any reviews of this game. I'd really like to see some quality video that talks about the gameplay. Because of the time it takes to make a "proper" video review, anyone who reviews Alien Invaders will earn two points. Alien Invaders - Documenting Bugs - (1 Point) - As we've been discovering for ourselves, Arcadia games can be flaky. If anyone finds any problems, and documents them, then they will earn one bonus point. Just in case there are dozens of bugs, you can only earn one bonus point no matter how matter bugs are found. Alien Invaders - Backstory - (1 Point) - Alien Invaders doesn't provide a backstory. I guess one isn't needed for this game, but it might be fun to write one anyway. Write a background that may have been included with the game in 1982 and you'll get a bonus point. Summary Oh, man! Games on the Arcadia family can be so weird. Alien Invaders seems like a test case or demo game for a point-of-sale kiosk. Why would the programmers limit the game to a maximum time of three minutes? There were so many strange choices made for this console. It seems that all or most of the games were made in a rush to get them out to the companies that were selling these games all around the world. According to Ward Shrake, Alien Invaders was manufactured in the first month of 1981. That means it was programmed in mid-to-late 1980. The story behind this "1982" game console is still yet to be written! Who designed the Arcadia 2001 and when was it first created? That's enough thinking about this console's unusual roots. It's time to start playing Alien Invaders. If you've not played in a high score club round before now, then now's the time to join in! Have a fun second round, everyone! Adam
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