Warner Bros. Games has decided to bring a little retro gaming back into our lives with their latest compilation disc – Midway Arcade Origins. Before we go any further, Warner Bros Games now owns and takes care of the entire Midway IP’s, but it’s not the first collection of arcade hits since a similar collection titled Midway Arcade Classics was released on the first Xbox many years ago.
Midway Arcade Origins has brought back over thirty classic and somewhat ancient arcade games from the dead in an ultimate retro arcade compilation complimented with improved HD visuals, Achievement support, and added multiplayer with leaderboards. I am actually yet to meet or speak to anyone excited about games with leaderboard support when it’s portrayed on the box as a selling point – do we care anymore about our social ranking on a worldwide scale? I don’t really think so…but if you want to see your initials in lights, go right ahead.
I have to admit that a lot of the games on the disc I haven’t played since I was a child. As a three year old with a ZX Spectrum in the early 80’s, then later a Commodore 64; some games have gathered dust or since become lost in the time it has taken me to reach 32. With such a vast collection of classics on one disc I imagine it’s rare that you could love them all as they represent a time when gaming was all about moving a few sprites and shooting at more sprites whilst aiming to achieve an all-important high score. It would either take a lot of money spent at the arcades, or a lot of time mastering the skill of dodging enemies horizontally or vertically – a period when leaderboards represented the best of the best, the pinnacle moment of all that hard effort and slog into beating an unrecognisable sprite that was meant to look like a car or spacecraft. Those were the days when being better than someone else was not about kill-streak rewards, death ratios – but instead just a position on the leaderboards as you represented yourself as a number.
The collection offers classic titles including Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Rampage, and Total Carnage, as well as 720 ° , A.P.B., Arch Rivals, Bubbles, Championship Sprint, Tournament Cyberball 2072, Defender II, Gauntlet II, Joust 2, Marble Madness, Pit-Fighter, Rampart, Robotron 2084, Root Beer Tapper, Satan’s Hollow, Sinistar, Smash TV, Spy Hunter, Spy Hunter II, Super Off Road, Super Sprint, Toobin’, Vindicators Part II, Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe, and Xybots. From the options screen they are broken down into specific genres such as Action, Driving, Platform, Shooter and Sports titles – with an image of the original arcade machine unit presented beside each title logo. You can optionally add games to a list of Favourites to speed up the selection process when you next play.
I’m taking a wild guess that Midway Arcade Origins is unlikely to appeal to anyone under the age of twenty unless they have a habit of wanting to play basic games that were made before they were born. Despite the collection being presented visually in HD, don’t get your hopes up for anything fancy or even all that many to feature in widescreen. It still looks and feels every bit like the original game with an option to smooth out the visuals or make them sharper. You will also be able to enjoy many of the games with up to three friends in local, co-op multiplayer and an option post high scores online.
Midway Arcade Origins is a great compilation of classic arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s, but only likely to appeal to gamers who are of a certain age that want to reminisce about the old days of gaming – Dad’s over the age of 30, possibly even 40 might even love this! Not a lot can be said about compilations because they generally appeal to a specific type of fans. If you don’t want to play ancient arcade games – then perhaps I’m stating the obvious in saying not to bother with it, otherwise it’s a great way to experience how games used to be played.