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ericwierson

What were the hardest arcade coin-op games?

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Honestly, Missile Command, Asteroids, Robotron, and many others are games that can be marathoned by most anyone with a lot of practice. Keep at it and I promise you that you will get better and better until one day, you will be able to play as long as you want.

 

 

I hope you're right! It just seems so hopeless when you first start playing some of these games (Defender, I'm looking at you). :)

 

Oh man but Defender is one of the most rewarding games to master.. it's the arcade controls that make it and once you get it under your belt you just feel like you have a lot of control of the ship zipping and zooming and reversing about. :) This is one of the major crimes of emulating this game (even with official ports) is it puts the ship control with a single joystick and while this may be good for a beginner to the game, they have no idea exactly how much control you actually lose of your ship which is essential to the most difficult parts of the game (like in "free space"). A specific example is you can no longer reverse multiple times quickly to avoid swarms of mutants. :( (Your ship will many times freeze when trying to reverse back & forth quickly when using the single stick controls)

 

That being said I 100% agree about Missile Command, Asteroids, Robotron, Joust, etc. as being very masterable. The exception to this rule though (as I've said before) is SINISTAR. You can play that game forever and never get really good at it. It's just crappy gameplay design as far as I'm concerned.. pushing about with a single stick shooting rocks :lol: There's no grace and skill that can be acquired like you can do in Joust, Defender/Stargate, Asteroids, & Robotron.

Edited by NE146

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I would love to get good at Defender... I seen someone when I was in Texas, and I just cracked up laughing/sighing in awe at the scene.

 

It was a dad playing Stargate. His score was over 500k, his wife and kids were telling him to quit playing, the movie was starting. He wanted to put his initials into the top score list... so he was killing off life after life after life to try to do so... he had gained so many that he eventually left the game. It was cute, and I can only wish to be that good.

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Oh man but Defender is one of the most rewarding games to master.. it's the arcade controls that make it and once you get it under your belt you just feel like you have a lot of control of the ship zipping and zooming and reversing about. :) This is one of the major crimes of emulating this game (even with official ports) is it puts the ship control with a single joystick and while this may be good for a beginner to the game, they have no idea exactly how much control you actually lose of your ship which is essential to the most difficult parts of the game (like in "free space"). A specific example is you can no longer reverse multiple times quickly to avoid swarms of mutants. :( (Your ship will many times freeze when trying to reverse back & forth quickly when using the single stick controls)

 

I agree. Not that I've mastered the game by any stretch (current HSC entry is a measly 23k), but I never played it before this competition at all so I'm a blank slate. I have the controls on my MAME cabinet set so that the joystick moves up and down, and the buttons do the rest (including reverse). As for assigning the buttons, I just picked a setup that felt logical (to the extent possible in Defender :) ) so it's probably way different from the original cabinet design. It was very clunky at first but you're right, once you get the hang of steering that ship it's actually one of the more rewarding videogame experiences to be had.

 

How do the single stick controls work? I mean, even if you mapped the reverse function to the joystick, I don't see how that would help because the game is basically looking for a "toggle", and not a specific direction, right?

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How do the single stick controls work? I mean, even if you mapped the reverse function to the joystick, I don't see how that would help because the game is basically looking for a "toggle", and not a specific direction, right?

 

They basically work like Sinistar except with only 8 directional joystick.. i.e. where you push the stick, the ship goes. :) It's the standard control scheme for most emulated ports of Defender including the one on Xbox Live and works ok for just casual playing.

 

However if things get fast sometimes the controls will freeze.. e.g. flying to the left fast, you quickly reverse to the right, then back left (and continue pushing left) and you'll find your ship is still pointing to the right and not moving. That may be fine to adjust to in the early stages, but when things are fast and mutants are on your butt, that lack of fine control usually costs you a life. :lol:

Edited by NE146

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Stargate is so much better than Defender in pretty much every way, I concentrated on mastering that one -- in MAME, with a normal PC controller, which obviously doesn't feel as good as with the coin-op's controls. The additional aliens with weird movement patterns, the Stargate warping feature, the special waves...Stargate does the ideal sequel's job of utterly burying its forerunner, much like SMB3 on the NES.

 

But of course, my version of "mastery" is to reach the wave after the first Yllabian Dogfight -- which isn't wonderful, but it's not too shabby, either. :)

 

 

Completely incidentally, here's an interesting trivium from Wikipedia:

 

Stargate adds several new enemies to the lineup originally introduced in Defender. The names of most of the new creations are based on inside jokes.

 

The original enemies are now known as "The Irata." Irata is the name of Williams competitor Atari spelled backwards. One of the other new enemies is also named after a competitor: "Yllabian Space Guppies." Bally/Midway was a major competitor with Williams in both the video-game and pinball markets. Another new enemy is the "Dynamo," which breaks into several small "Space Hums." This is in homage to the song "Dinah Moe Humm" by Frank Zappa. Three new arrivals, "Phreds," "Big Reds," and "Munchies," vaguely resemble Pac-Man, from the game released in the U.S. by Bally.

 

Anyway, here's a slightly mutated version of the thread's title: Most Difficult Arcade Game as Opposed to Accurate Home Versions. The coin-op Mr. Do! surprised the hell out of me with its difficulty. I used to have to turn off the C64 when I wanted to stop playing; in the arcade version, I'm doing well if I get to the third screen.

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just about every williams game made.

 

#1 - Joust.

#2 - defender, stargate.

#3 - sinistar

#4 - robotron

 

i find blaster pretty easy, fwiw.

 

non williams games:

 

#1 - venture. damned controls, mainly.

#2 - zaxxon.

#3 - major havoc.

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just about every williams game made.

 

#1 - Joust.

#2 - defender, stargate.

#3 - sinistar

#4 - robotron

 

i find blaster pretty easy, fwiw.

 

non williams games:

 

#1 - venture. damned controls, mainly.

#2 - zaxxon.

#3 - major havoc.

I don't know about some of your list, Joust and Robotron are pretty easy with alot of practice. Sinistar, Defender, and Stargate I definitely agree with. They are close to impossible to play for very long. And I have tried for the last 20+ years.

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I think Cliff Hanger is pretty damn hard even if you've got the patterns memorized. Not only do many the moves defy logic, but you have to repeat many of them over and over again (like when the ninja guys attack you in the night). It's like a super hard Dragons Lair.

 

Tempest

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I think most of the Midway games could be brutal if the arcade owner cranked up the difficulty.

 

The Star Castle I played on had stars that follow you so I rank it up there too.

 

I didn't spend enough quarters so I thought a lot of them were hard anyway.

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First time anyone plays Dragon's Lair :P

 

But yeah, for me I always had trouble with Defender and Sinistar.

 

Edit: Oh and Super Zaxxon...that game is just evil

Edited by flynnz

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First time anyone plays Dragon's Lair :P

 

But yeah, for me I always had trouble with Defender and Sinistar.

 

Edit: Oh and Super Zaxxon...that game is just evil

Super Zaxxon is indeed cruel.. I just made a YouTube vid of that one, it's so damn FAST! Also, The Pit is a bitch because of.. well, the pit. I can NEVER get the timing right. Argh!

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#10 Paperboy- Frustrating cheap hit game, had potential, but almost impossible to get very far.

 

 

this was the easiest for me. finsihed it back in 1990. sunday was the hardest, tho.

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#10 Paperboy- Frustrating cheap hit game, had potential, but almost impossible to get very far.

 

 

this was the easiest for me. finsihed it back in 1990. sunday was the hardest, tho.

I think Paperboy was one of those games that was either very easy or very hard depending on how you handle the 3/4th overhead perspective. I could NEVER get things to line up right so I was constantly missing shots so the game was very hard for me. I also saw people just blow through the game without any trouble which just baffled me.

 

Tempest

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I've always rather sucked at arcade games, never advancing through more than the first 20% of the game, regardless of what it was :(

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Sinistar by far is the hardest arcade game

 

I have scored 475k on Robotron and 350k on Joust

 

Sure both games are hard, but once you start to get good at them you fall in love with the games as I have

 

Defender is hard, im a below avarage player for sure but I do agree that its a fun game, I do remember seeing it for the first time in the mid 80s (and it had already been out for a while by the first time I laid my eyes on it) and remember seeing all the buttons and trying to play and feeling very overwheled as a young kid

 

As I got older that same machine stayed in my local arcade and I got used to it

 

Mappy used to chew me up and spit me out, and the game seemed simple enough, but was just impossible, the Mappy arcade was located at the bowling alley in Redding in the 80s not at the massive "Gold Mine" arcade that I spent all my time and money

 

 

Missile Command I love to death in the arcade, its crazy because I was the best Missile Command player back in the day and I only broke 100k maybe twice in my life

 

None of my friends could come close to 100k

 

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Edited by AlvinKarpis

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I always wanted to be better at Missile Command myself, as the concept's original and the control scheme's a lot of fun; but as soon as the Smart Missiles show up, I'm toast. To this day, I can't figure out how you high MC scorers are able to dispatch those little bastards. Is there some sort of trick to them that I never picked up, or do you just have to have exceptional aim?

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I always wanted to be better at Missile Command myself, as the concept's original and the control scheme's a lot of fun; but as soon as the Smart Missiles show up, I'm toast. To this day, I can't figure out how you high MC scorers are able to dispatch those little bastards. Is there some sort of trick to them that I never picked up, or do you just have to have exceptional aim?

 

 

Well the first thing is you have to use your middle fast missile's to pick the smart bombs off

 

Also as said earlier the "spray and pray" method (which is used by me almost exclusivly after about 50k points) is a must to defeat smart bombs as the game gets faster

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Thanks. Does this work because the layer of cloudy death kills a smarty by catching it between two clouds? Because otherwise, you have to hit it dead-on, right?

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Thanks. Does this work because the layer of cloudy death kills a smarty by catching it between two clouds? Because otherwise, you have to hit it dead-on, right?

 

 

I haven't played MC in a while, but a few months ago I spent hours and hours straight playing it, just to see what I could do. Going into that marathon, I was a total noob, lucky to score 15000 points. By the end of that weekend, after probably 75-100 credits, I had maxed out at about 48,000. Pretty weak.

 

I plan to get back to it someday, I'd like to hit 100k at least once.

 

I'm with you on the smart missiles. What I hate most is when the game starts getting fast and a level starts right out of the gate with the smart missiles. It always screws me up because by the time I tend to those smart missiles the normal missiles have started raining down and I can't get to all of them in time, so I'll end up losing 2-3 cities right off the hop. Very aggravating.

 

Not that it's easy to do, but I think the best approach is to try for a direct hit. The trick is to envision an imaginary line representing the "trajectory" of the smart missile, and extrapolate it all the way down to the ground. Based on where it is on the screen, place your crosshairs on this line a small distance in front of the smart missile and fire away. As has been mentioned, the center base is the best choice for this attack. Reason being, it's centrally located and it shoots faster than the other cities, which makes it more forgiving when targeting smart missiles.

 

Sometimes, if you put up a little mini-barrier of explosions in the path of a smart missile you get lucky and are able to take it out, but I find that more often than not, the smart missile just pulls back, laughs at you, and keeps on comin'.

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Sinistar is the hardest hands down, although I've seen some videos of strategies that appear to be pretty effective.

 

Many arcade games have different difficulty settings and the difference between thinking a game is hard or easy could depend on how many lives you start with.

An extra life or two at the start of a game can keep you alive long enough to win another life and your game ends up lasting much longer, or at least long enough to get past a very difficult point.

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Thanks for the tips, fellas; they're certainly more helpful than any I've read so far in old magazines, etc.

 

...the smart missile just pulls back, laughs at you, and keeps on comin'.

 

And here I thought I was the only one who heard the Smart Missiles laughing! :D

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Paperboy wasn't that hard to me. Several times I made it through all seven days. Of course I seldom played anything beyond Easy Street, but it was still easier to finish the game than, say, Marble Madness or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

 

Defender gets my vote for being the hardest arcade game.

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