Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Favorite Video Games: Gyruss.

Who can forget taking a trip to an arcade in their youth? Rows and rows of flashing screens, digitally processed music, bleeps, bloops and the rattle of quarters.

Ah, those were the days.

For kids born within the past twenty years, arcades are really a thing of the past. You'd be hard-pressed to find an arcade these days, though they do exist if you know where to look. Even finding a couple of stand-up arcade units in a gas station or convenience store were nice as a child. Or, what about the local pizza parlor with a classic sit-down table arcade unit? Those were awesome!

With all of this fond nostalgia whipping through my head, I'd like to premiere another new series of articles.

My Favorite Video Games!

For my first entry, I shall discuss an absolute classic -- Gyruss.

Premiering in 1983, Gyruss is a classic space shoot 'em up that few can forget once they've played it. You pilot a powerful space ship hurtling through our solar system. Starting at the planet Neptune, you work your way through multiple levels past a majority of the planets circling our sun -- Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and finally Earth. Along they way, you combat endless hordes of enemy space ships, asteroids, laser beams and satellite dishes. Your mission is to make it home alive and in one piece. This is easier said than done, of course.

An original Gyruss arcade unit.

What makes Gyruss stand out from all the other endless variations of space shooters (like Galaga or Space Invaders) is its unique top-down 3-D perspective. Your space ship circles around the screen in a virtual tube instead of up and down, left to right. As you shoot at enemies, your shots travel towards the center of the screen. This simulates the feeling of flying through space in the first-person perspective. As such, this is what's known as a tube shooter in the video game world. A game which shares this mechanic is the infamous (and also fun) Tempest.

Thankfully, Gyruss received multiple ports to home consoles, like the Nintendo. If you own a NES, be sure to grab a copy of Gyruss from eBay. A copy can be had for less than $5. It's a fantastic port of the original arcade game for a fraction of the cost. Gyruss is an absolute joy to play. It's easy to pick up and learn, but hard to master (much like Pac-Man). When I have the space in my home, I definitely want an original Gyruss arcade machine!

Here's a fantastic video showcasing game play from Gyruss.

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