On Earth, everyone can hear you scream when you watch this Alien commercial for the Atari 2600. Screams of joy at viewing a vintage television advertisement I might add. It is once again the 26th of the month, which means it is Atari Day. That single moment of every month when we gather to celebrate the many things that make Atari stand out. With the upcoming Alien: Covenant I felt this would be a great time to share the 1982 Alien commercial.
I will admit that Alien commercial was certainly short. However I think I should point out though it captured some of the atmosphere of 1979 film. Not just with the iconic egg of course. But if you listen closely they also used some of the otherworldly and haunting sounds from the 1979 trailer itself.
For myself I wasn’t able to get my hands on Alien back in 1982. I found a copy of the game at a garage sale a couple of years after it’s original release. I think it is safe to say that Alien on the 2600 is a Pac-Man clone. Okay. It’s totally a rip-off of Pac-Man if we are being completely honest.
Having said that, I will admit I like the game. It might be a clone of Pac-Man but it has a few worthy additions. In particular the flame thrower that can chase off the Xenomorphs hot on your trail or stun them in some cases.
Of course the Retroist has a slightly different memory of playing the game.
Worm War I is a 1982 game that was developed by Sirius Software for the Atari 2600 and released by 20th Century Fox Games. I was able to find out that the programmer for Worm War I was David Lubar who also programmed the Atari 2600 titles Fantastic Voyage, Nexar, Bumper Bash, Space Master X-7, Flash Gordon, and Activision’s River Raid II to name a few of his accomplishments in the video game industry.
Didn’t you mention TRON?
I certainly did and I think for some very evident reasons. Let’s take just a moment and compare an image from the Worm War I commercial featuring the player’s tank in action.
All right. I now ask you to compare that image above with this quick snippet from 1982’s TRON.
I think you can see the obvious similarities between the two. Not just with the tank but even the electronic battlefield of the two seem a little similar wouldn’t you say? Considering that TRON was released the same year I believe it is more than understandable that it would have influenced Worm War I commercial design.
I have not had the pleasure of playing Worm War I for myself but thanks to AtariAge and the High Retro Game Lord‘s YouTube channel we can see how it played – kind of a cross between Space Invaders and River Raid
Image courtesy of Atari Age.
Whatever became of David Lubar?
I mentioned some of the Atari 2600 titles besides Worm War I that David worked on at the beginning of the post – he also had a hand in games for the Nintendo Gameboy, Super Nintendo, and the Apple II as well as the Atari 800.
I learned that beginning in 1994 while he was still employed as a video game developer he focused on his true love. Writing. By the end of 1995 had sold six books – today he has published over 24 books.
Why don’t you take just a few moments out of your busy schedule and listen to David talk about why he became a writer yourself? I bet you will find it just as interesting as I did!