I assume by now many/most of you have seen The Internet Arcade that the fine folks at Archive.org pulled together. It is amazing, and you should go look, I'll wait. I know, right?
But people: they have Megatack.
For all I know, this was actually a common game and everyone on earth played it back in the days when TimeOut, the arcade at the local mall, was a place people would actually hang out and spend money and try not to spill Orange Crush on the machines. I never saw one anywhere around the DC Metro area, or anywhere at all really, except once.
My grandparents owned a cottage on Conesus lake in Geneseo NY, the pinky finger of the Finger Lakes, a lake so small I swam across it for the first time when I was…10? 11? Younger. We spent a week or two there every summer and it was perfect in the way that vacations are when you are young. Among the local attractions was Long Point Park, a rec area during the day and mini (MINI) amusement park at night. Maybe 10 rides; a Scrambler and Tilt-A-Whirl, a really small Ferris Wheel, single loop stomach-churning roller coaster, those kind of rides. Plus Skee-ball and Bingo and a skating rink, and a small arcade across from the rink, next to the fried-everything food stand.
The games were different every year; not necessarily the latest and greatest, more like: this one was cheap and the other one broke down over the winter. Megatack was only there for ONE summer, when I was 13 or 14 or something like that, and I played it TO DEATH. Look! It's like Space Invaders, except when the aliens reach the ground, you don't lose, they hop sideways at you like crab-frogs. Oh, and your weapon fired somewhat randomly in 3 directions, up, and 45 degree angles to the sides. So with some clever handiwork you could zip sideways under an army of hopping aliens and still escape the level. By the time you got to say, level 25 things would start with aliens raining down as fast as the screen could draw them, then hopping around with a soundtrack apparently designed to make you lose focus from laughing.
I must have played that game 80 or 100 times over those 2 weeks. Then I never saw it again. Guess what I've been doing for the last half hour?
I hope they get sound working some day…