Ironically, one of the last projects that the old Atari, Inc. released to the arcades reaffirmed the fact that the company’s designers could be as innovative as ever: I, Robot was the first game that featured state-of-the-art 3D polygonal graphics, which was a technique that was nearly ten years ahead of its time. This bizarre game, designed by Tempest and Missile Command programmer Dave Theurer, borrowed features from earlier arcade games like Galaga and Pac-Man. The object of the game was to destroy the boss eye of Big Brother that watched over each level. In order to do this, the player controlled a robot that had to cross the red squares on the maze. This turned the squares blue and destroyed part of the shield that protected the eye. Some portions of the maze needed to be jumped, and if the player was in the act of jumping while the eye was red, the player would get zapped and lose a life. Other hazards abounded in the maze, such as birds, bombs, and flying sharks. There was also a time limit for helping the robot fulfill its task on each level, of which there were 99 in all, each with a unique layout.
Check out more of the rich history of the industry in Leonard Herman’s book Phoenix IV available at Rolenta Press www.RolentaPress.com and make sure to sign up to get Old School Gamer Magazine for free by clicking here!