October has arrived and it’s time for fans of truly classic hardcore games to help us make a tough choice here at Ground Kontrol! This month during “Clash of the Classics”, the relentlessly difficult 1982 Williams action game Robotron: 2084 takes on the 1980 Centuri outer space slide & shoot classic Phoenix!
Many have tried to master Robotron: 2084, but few succeed in beating even a few levels. Created by Eugene Jarvis (Defender, Smash TV) and Larry Demar (Stargate, Blaster), Robotron’s world is one where humans have all but been eradicated by evil robots. You’re humanity’s last hope, fighting seemingly endless waves of enemies while trying to rescue innocent humans before they’re turned into mindless “progs”. The twin-joystick gameplay was not only revolutionary at the time, but it returned in Smash TV and created an entirely new genre of “twin-stick shooters”, recently seen in dozens of console and PC games including the hugely popular Geometry Wars series. Now, the time has come to ask Robotron fans old and new to step up and show us if they want this game to remain fully operational!
Recently introduced as part of our “Raiders of the Lost Arcade” series, Phoenix is an outer space “slide & shoot” similar to Taito’s Space Invaders and Namco’s Galaxian. The original developer of Phoenix is unknown. According to Centuri’s Joel Hochberg, the game was licensed from “a smaller Japanese developer.” Amstar Electronics (which was located in Phoenix, Arizona) licensed the game to Centuri for manufacture in the United States in 1980. Phoenix took the “slide & shoot” concept further than its peers at the time with the introduction of progressive stages of play instead of simply repeating a single playfield over and over with an increasing difficulty level. The Phoenix mothership is one of the first video arcade game bosses to be presented as a separate challenge, before the term “boss” was coined. Phoenix provides a tough challenge to newcomers of the game, but once you’ve taken down your first mothership, it’s easy to get hooked!
Once again, your quarters tip the scales: Choose your favorite game to support, or play them both as much as possible over the next week. Spread the word and invite your friends, too – we want to create new fans for both games and let the people have their say! On Thursday, October 13th, we’ll announce the winner and give a fond farewell to the runner-up as it returns to storage. So, what are you waiting for? October’s Clash of the Classics starts now!