Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

1978 Retroview



There's already a list of all the games that came out in 1978 in this entry here. Rather than rehash that list with the only change in it being the addition of smilies or frownies, I think the electrons would be better spent on picking out a few of the standout titles from 1978, by system, while giving each system a general rating.


APF MP1000 -- Not Nearly As Fun-Free as I Thought It Would Be

This system really seemed to have some potential, but it was wasted on unimaginative games. Still it should be said for the record that it boasts the best looking Blackjack and Hangman to date, and the second best looking Baseball game (Bally beat it, graphics-wise).


EDIT: I almost forgot, APF MP1000 beat all the others to the punch on one thing: AI opponent in a videogame version of a boardgame. Catena, the first videogame version of Othello, had an AI opponent. I imagine the APF Backgammon had an AI opponent too, but I'm just speculating.


The APF doesn't come close to threatening the RCA Studio II's title of Worst Game Library Ever and it was a unique and pleasant experience (despite my whining) to get a look at the games I was able to find. However, I'm really disappointed that not a single person has volunteered even a description of any of the games for this system that I wasn't able to find. Either it's a lot less collected than I think it is, or people are just really unwilling to share their experiences, as rare as those experiences may be. Specifically, I'm really, really curious about Dungeon Hunt so if anyone can tell me anything about it, with screenshots, I'd still be much obliged.


BTW, if anyone can lend me the games that I still need to play for the APF MP100, I'll purchase an additional $50 worth of stuff for Child's Play during this year's drive.


Odyssey^2 by Magnavox -- Much, Much More Fun Than I Thought It Would Be

Let's just say I had really low expectations for this system, my experience with it having been limited to emulation. That's no insult to the emulator, it's more of a comment on how much better a game library can be when you use the actual console and controllers for which it was designed. I'm not saying I had a spectacular time, it just was much better than I imagined it would be. While not spectacular, I should admit that I spent a whole lot more time playing Baseball, Cosmic Conflict, Computer Golf and for some reason, even Las Vegas Blackjack than playing games for any other system to date. For example, I probably spent two hours playing Computer Golf. That's got to be a record. I don't even like playing golf.


Atari Video Computer System -- Almost, But Not Quite As Much Fun As I Remember It Being

Okay, my expectations for this were a little higher than what was met, but not by much. I was expecting to be "Very Happy" and was only "Happy", which is acceptable. This system has the longest list of games we enjoyed: Basketball, Braingames, Breakout, Codebreaker, Outlaw, Slot Racers and Space War. It also has the longest list of games released for it in 1978.


Bally Professional Arcade -- Less Fun Than I Expected

My experience with this system was darkened because my controllers weren't and aren't working up to spec. In a poetic, forgiving mood, I can say the difficulties with the broken controllers probably serves as a temporal echo of the technical problems that hassled this system during its first year of release, most notably the faulty systems shipped during its launch and the overheating problems that plague most of these consoles to this very day (I'm referring to 2006). In a less poetic and less forgiving mood, I just curse, though I try to make it rhyme. I think I'll start hunting for a broken system to salvage its controllers, otherwise, future games, no matter how good, just won't be enjoyable. 1978 games that I did like for this system, despite my wonky controllers, were Gunfight, Football, Tornado Baseball, 280Zzzap and Clowns. I would consider this system's launch year library and its initial purchase price as the least bang for the many bucks needed to get this console.


Fairchild Channel F -- More Fun Than It Should Have Been

This system just doesn't get the love I think it deserves, but I can understand that, as I can be exceptionally forgiving of underdogs. Dodge-it and Video Whizball were neat concepts and we had more than a little fun playing them. Still, the number of titles released for it in 1978 was small and it doesn't come as a huge shock that this was the last year that Fairchild released new games for this system in the U.S.


As per usual, I'll have pictures up of all of the "new" stuff used for this year's crop of games, but probably not until tomorrow. Next entry will be looking forward to 1979.


Recommended Comments

I imagine the APF Backgammon had an AI opponent too, but I'm just speculating.


It does, but I couldn't play the game so I don't know if it's anything decent.


I'm really, really curious about Dungeon Hunt


Talk about high expectations. :D


You know, I don't know if it's because I'm doing this late at night and using emulators, but I find myself confusing some of these systems - or, better yet, many of their games. As all these platforms share sooo many games, I have trouble recalling which games I played on which. Having the hardware in my hands would probably have better imprinted the memories in my brain. :-/ I'm worried, 'cause I'm just starting the long chronogaming journey, so things will probably get more confusing before they get easier (when platforms stop being so much alike). But what matters the most to me is that I'm learning how games (and their platforms) evolved over time.


I'm looking forward for 1979, but I still have a few computers to cover: the Commodore PET, the TRS-80, and the Apple ][!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
On 11/20/2012 at 7:37 PM, Nelio said:

I'm looking forward for 1979, but I still have a few computers to cover: the Commodore PET, the TRS-80, and the Apple ][!

Here in 2021, I have an Apple II-GS that I probably got not too long before you came long and started commenting. I think I booted it up once or twice and was happy to discover it working. Apparently the thing has a board in it that's an entire working Apple II. I really love the computers from back then and I suppose I'll get around to exploring those, someday, too.

Link to comment

If you’re still wondering, there are now several gameplay videos of Dungeon Hunt online, like this one: 


Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...