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Whats up with the Laser Blast Hate


p.opus
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I just recently got involved with 2600 games after a 3.5 decade hiatus and have a Sears Telegames Sixer (don't know if it's heavy or not) with a Harmony cartridge, and as I was looking around the interwebs, I found one of my favorite Activision games, (Laser Blast) getting seriously "blasted" as one of the worst games ever released for the system. (Of course Superman was on that list, and I destroyed countless joysticks on that game...perhaps I have poor taste).

 

Maybe it's me, but at the time, I loved that game. It was one of the only Atari games that emulated a "beam" laser and I thought it was fantastic. Yes, it was hard. Yes it was repetitive, but there was something satisfying sparking off that gun and having a tank disintegrate almost immediately.

 

It was the game that really opened me up to Activision. This was one of activisions initial carts that released at the same time as Tennis. (Boxing, Dragster, Fishing Derby,Skiing, being the only ones released earlier) and I thought it was a great first effort. Of course, Activision would really hit its stride a year later with some of it's seminal titles (River Raid, Pitfall, Chopper Command). But at the time, Laser Blast had clean graphics and the laser effect alone kept me playing.

 

Any other fans out there?

 

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I enjoy it too, primarily because I'm not very good at it, and consequently there's little risk I'll roll the score and/or get bored (unlike, say, the regular Atari Asteroids game 1, which I love as well but could play indefinitely). I also like it because when you get shot, you don't explode immediately, and you have the good chance of going kamikaze on one of the enemies below! :D

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It was one of those games on the lowest difficulty that could be played indefinitely once you learned the simple pattern and on the higher difficulty was very unforgiving. I think if there was a selectable difficulty level somewhere in the middle and just a touch more variety added to the monotonous, repetitive play, it would have been more fondly remembered. I put a lot of hours into it back in the day, but it's definitely a product of its time and a game with nominal appeal today. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, as many games are best appreciated as products of their time.

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I enjoy the game a lot. And It doesn't take too long to figure out the pattern. You just have to be quick at moving and firing. And about a couple of weeks ago I got 1,000,000 points in game mode 1. Took 5 long greuling hours and my wrists got all cramped. I don't think I will be playing it for quite some time.

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I liked the game a lot as a kid. I remember playing the heck out of it. Of course, back then playing the heck out of something meant playing it for a week or so after buying it, then going back to my favorites. It never made it into heavy rotation.

 

Back in the 90s, when I was flea marketing my way to restoring my VCS collection, I was excited to find Laser Blast. Then I played it and wondered why I'd ever thought it was a good game.

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^ Pretty much my experience and feelings about Laser Blast.

 

Funny though, it was the only game I decided to open as a kid and have a look at the insides. Considered the game disposable enough to do that and would have never "destroyed" any of my other games. Tossed the shell and just kept the board around on the rare occasion I felt like playing it. Was more of a conversation piece, keeping the board around like that. Even took it to school one day and showed it off. :lol:

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Eh....in my opinion it's good in short bursts. But when I attempted to get the federation of laser blasters patch, I got really bored after playing the game for a little while. Getting the patch was more of a test of patience rather then a test of skill. I hope to never have to attempt to score over 100,000. Let alone try for the 1,000,000 patch.

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I'm pretty sure I haven't played it more than once so don't hate it and don't know enough to speak about the hate. I remember that I liked the way it looked.

But, if the chief complaint is about repetitive game play, maybe one of the resident hacking specialists will someday mercifully wedge some randomness in to the code.

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I'm pretty sure I haven't played it more than once so don't hate it and don't know enough to speak about the hate. I remember that I liked the way it looked.

But, if the chief complaint is about repetitive game play, maybe one of the resident hacking specialists will someday mercifully wedge some randomness in to the code.

Looks like the community already denied that request, lol

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/180500-laser-blast-hack/

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Back-in-the-day, I'd played Laser Blast a few times at the local video game store, and was completely taken with the glowing laser effects. They just looked so cool. I wanted to buy it, but a co-worker warned me that he had it, and it wasn't a very good game. I ignored him, and bought it anyway. But he was right - it wasn't too long before I'd figured out a pattern, and the game just became boring. I dusted it off once in awhile, but the replay value was effectively zero.

 

Never did send away for the patch though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

When it came out, I thought it was great! But in later years, it just ended up being such a repetitive type game that you could just play forever. Bamm-Bammm----Bam! And on and on. Once you go the pattern down, you'd never lose. Cool initially, but no long term play.

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When it came out, I thought it was great! But in later years, it just ended up being such a repetitive type game that you could just play forever. Bamm-Bammm----Bam! And on and on. Once you go the pattern down, you'd never lose. Cool initially, but no long term play.

I guess I need to figure out the pattern.

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I was just thinking about this game. I remember the day we got it. Even at the time, it felt obvious that we had managed to pick up an "early" title that was unsophisticated even by the 2600's standards. The pattern people are talking about was painfully easy to discover, even accidentally. The hardest difficulty was rendered a yawn-fest with it. I actually don't think I've turned the game on since that first day, come to think of it.

 

Shrug. I'm not "hating" on the game but this thread inspired me to talk about it.

 

You mentioned Superman being on the list and I agree, that game is a classic, with tons of replayability. It's easy to get confounded by the odd mapping system, though. Flying "up" or "down" is basically warping, for example.

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For me, personally, Laser Blast isn't bad at all. The presentation isn't the worst, controlls are ok, it's just hardly a game at all.

 

It could be just as successfull in what it feels like, if it was simply emitting a buzzing sound, or a flash on the screen and you had to instantly press a button.

A simple reflex/timing test, wrapped in some bare minimum graphics, to pass as a "space shootout" of sorts.

 

That's the thing I have with games which don't provide any degree of freedom, or try to pretend they do, but it's so marginal, it could just as well not exist.

Exactly the reason why I shun so called "rhytm" games, and consider Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution to be nothing more than a fancy gfx version of Simon Says.

Same goes for all those "endless runners" and other "on rails" games which only require the player to follow a sequence of buttons or simply pressing one of them in a strictly timed manner.

They're sensless repetitive video-chores with no place for imagination or goofing around, thus suffering emotional disconnection and deprivation of any fun.

Edited by Mef
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In my mind, I still vividly remember the first time Activision games, specifically, "Laser Blast", appeared on store shelves. I felt like a bug hypnotized by the mesmerizing blue light of a bug zapper. At the time, the concept of another company making games for Atari, was sooooo bizarre, yet strangely cool!

 

Upon seeing "Laser Blast" in action, I realized just how bizarre this game really was! Instead of defending your planet or base or whatever, you were now an invading alien spaceship! In late '81 or early '82, breaking from the well-patterned formula, of serving as a planetary defender, was crazy talk!

 

What I liked the most, was the style of laser David Crane selected. I don't believe I recall, any other game utilizing such an effect. Add to this, the ability to crash into the ground defenses, once shot from the sky. This was definitely a first in the home arena.

 

I will agree, by todays(heck 1983) standards, "Laser Blast" is repetitive and tiresome. Once in a blue moon though, "Laser Blast", combined with those initial memories, make a great evening!

Edited by AtariKid81
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My grandparents bought it home one day and they thought it was the shit. They talked it up like there was no end. Like it was worthy of TV headline news. It's a new game from a new company and we should play it. Just the thought that you could buy Atari tapes from someone else other than Atari was captivating to them somehow.

 

I honestly made an effort (1 hour) to try to get to like the game. It was too hard and I could never score more than 5,000 or 10,000 points. The game made me feel retarded and lame. So I went back to copying Apple II games and writing spinning cursor routines for my BBS.

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My grandparents bought it home one day and they thought it was the shit. They talked it up like there was no end. Like it was worthy of TV headline news. It's a new game from a new company and we should play it. Just the thought that you could buy Atari tapes from someone else other than Atari was captivating to them somehow.

 

I honestly made an effort (1 hour) to try to get to like the game. It was too hard and I could never score more than 5,000 or 10,000 points. The game made me feel retarded and lame. So I went back to copying Apple II games and writing spinning cursor routines for my BBS.

Just look at the video I just posted at 12-15 seconds. That's the way to do it!!!:)

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I never played this game in the 80s; I first tried it a few years ago when I had it given to me by a friend who found a shoebox full of Atari games in his crawlspace.

 

I've only played it a few times here and there, and my impression has been that it's a weak-to-mediocre game by Activision standards. But still, weak-to-mediocre Activision is still quite good overall for Atari 2600. Seems to me that much of the criticism leveled against this game (i.e., it's repetitive, plain, etc.) would apply to 85% of the games on the Atari 2600. Games were simple back then--we know this, and usually embrace it.

 

I didn't realize there is an infallible pattern you can use, which I guess changes things a bit.

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