It’s one of the legends of the Atari era – the famous “Coke Wins!” cartridge for the 2600, originally designed as a premium, mail-in-your-proofs-of-purchase type item from the Coca-Cola Company. But for those who have actually seen the game, it’s very easy to see that it’s just a rip-off of Atari’s own Space Invaders cartridge, hacked to turn the rows of advancing invaders into the letters PEPSI.

There’s a reason why this cartridge never officially made it out the door; it wouldn’t have made money for anyone but Pepsi’s attorneys. To this very day, Pepsi’s early-80s legal team can be heard howling, “Why? Why didn’t they release Coke Wins? My Maserati could’ve been paid for by now!”

Flash forward to 1998. I’m browsing the web and discover a Star Trek web site with a Java version of Space Invaders, which replaces the usual barrage of alien critters with Romulan ships, Borg cubes, and so forth. Other than that, it’s exactly the same game.

Somewhere between Coca-Cola and a Star Trek fan with too much time on his hands lies the truth: Space Invaders is a universal game, almost a kind of quasi-meta-game. All you need is a protagonist, some antagonists, and voila – you’ve got a whole new game. No fancy cut-scenes which explain your motivation – just blast those little varmints outta the sky! I thought about ways that this formula could be applied to Space Invaders based on the plots of hit movies from the past several years…and quickly realized that Hollywood’s been missing the boat by turning every box-office blockbuster into a 3-D, Doom-style shooter. There is an easier way. – Read the rest of the article here from Classic Gamer Magazine (courtesy of Old School Gamer)!

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