We covered the Atari VCS’s 1979 offerings last time, so check that out if you missed it.
Arcade Games of 1978
In 1979 our arcade sprits get a lot more colorful, as you can see with Bomb Bee and Galaxian. Asteroids is perhaps the most persistent classic from the year, but Lunar Rescue and Sheriff are some games that are perhaps a bit underrated – the latter being one of the first twin-stick shooters.
Apple II Games of 1979
Microcomputer games, meanwhile, limp along with limited functionality. Many of them are hugely popular – as with Lemonade Stand, a simple but ubiquitous economic sim, and Apple Trek, a port of an already famous (and famously unlicensed) Star Trek game that has the Enterprise flying around and blowing up Klingon ships. You know, like on the show.
But the big historic game to come out from 1979 is none other than Akalabeth, Richard Garriott’s precursor to the landmark Ultima series. It isn’t just the connection to Ultima that makes Akalabeth notable, it presents a number of impressive technological firsts in the genre of computer role-playing games, despite (or due to) its largely procedural nature.
TRS-80 Games of 1979
The TRS-80 started off at a bit of a disadvantage and never really pulled itself out of it, but it does get ports of a number of famous classic games released in the late 70s and early 80s. The notable release in 1979 is Datestones of Ryn, an action adventure game in the Dunjonquest series and prequel to Temple of Apshai.
Another surprisingly robust TRS-80 release this year was Galactic Empire, a game that gives the player a surprisingly hands-off approach to control and conquest. The delegation to NPCs here really appeals to me, and it’s just darn impressive what they managed on the TRS-80.