The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time

We’ve seen a lot of arcade game documentaries over the past couple of years. King of Kong was one. Chasing Ghosts was another. Recently, I learned about a third. It’s called The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time.

space-51
The hook of The Space Invaders is that it focuses specifically on individuals who not only play arcade games but collect them. The bulk of the film is interviews with several of these collectors. Intercut with these interviews is old footage of 80s video arcades and news stories about arcades. All this information is divided into three parts: 1) Time, which briefly covers the history of 80s arcade games, 2) Space, which covers the modern efforts of the collectors, and 3) Time Space, which covers the future of these games.

Most of us are going to going to feel some good-natured envy mixed with enjoyment while watching The Space Invaders. I know I did. But there are plenty of things we are going to enjoy in the movie. Seeing all the old machines, all of which look to be in great shape, is one. There is a segment which shows how one of the interviewees was on Starcade. There is another in which they make the connection between wanting to own an arcade game and Silver Spoons (Ricky Schroder’s arcade collection is one of the big reasons I want to own an arcade game today). There is yet another that discusses the California Extreme expo (I spent that time looking for blinddog and myself in the footage). Not only so, but the collector’s edition which I got had a dvd full of great extras (such as the collector’s thoughts on the Colecovision mini-arcade units), a blu-ray copy of the film, and a poster.

You can rent The Space Invaders on amazon.com or you can buy the collector’s edition here. I’m pretty sure the time you spend watching it won’t be “lost time”.

RetroLink USB SNES Controller

I recently purchased this little controller from ThinkGeek and I must say I have been completely pleased with it so far.

I love playing retro games on my computer, but they never feel quite right when using a modern controller (or worse, the keyboard). For the past several years I’ve been using a PlayStation controller connected to a PSX-to-USB box which works okay, but still doesn’t have quite the feel an old school controller would.

RetroLink makes several different styles of retro game controllers that connect to computers using USB, including NES, SNES, N64, and Sega Genesis controllers. (The company also makes adapters that convert real retro controllers to USB for use with your computer as well.) Because they don’t require drivers, these controllers work equally well for PCs and Macs. I’ve always found the SNES controller to be comfortable to hold, so that’s the one I purchased. The cable is 6′ long so it’s definitely long enough, and any program or emulator on your computer that recognizes USB controllers should instantly recognize these controllers as well.

The first thing I fired up was WinVice, the Commodore 64 emulator. The controller worked like a champ and will definitely be getting some serious gaming use in the future!

Se-Kaa of Assiah

When it came to buying video and computer games in the 1980s, there was nothing more disappointing than being tricked into buying a terrible game by great looking box art. Long before we had the ability to access the Internet with our smartphones while shopping in the mall, game consumers only had word of mouth, magazine reviews, and box art to base our decisions on.

Released in 1984 by MasterVision, Se-Kaa of Assiah had both impressive artwork and airbrushed abs.

If that hair didn’t sell you on the game, just look at the screenshots on the back of the box!

Wow, doesn’t that look great?! While I didn’t own this game back in the 1980s, I can only imagine the look on a child’s face after booting Se-Kaa of Assiah for the first time and seeing this title screen.

Turns out, Se-Kaa of Assiah is actually a text adventure with “hi-res graphics.” That means, in laymen’s terms, no joystick required. To swing that sword you saw on the cover, you will literally be typing SWING SWORD.

Not too far off in the future, you can see me turning off my computer. Only the most persistent warriors, brave and true, were able to beat Se-Kaa of Assiah and thusly be rewarded with the ultimate reward, this “end game” screen.

“Success” is sometimes a relative term.