Be The Boss This Father's Day
9 Games on Antstream Arcade to Help You Show The Kids Who's Boss
Are your young whippersnappers thrashing you with depressing regularity at Fortnite? Do you continually seek their help when trying to locate those darned spruce planks in your Minecraft inventory?
Well, they may think they know gaming best, but you’ve got the retro gaming experience and remember that back in your day, video games were proper tough. So, with Father’s Day imminent, why not make the day extra special and turn the tables on the kids and challenge them to some classic games. It's time to pick up something old school – or
should that be skool – on Antstream Arcade! After all, everyone loves a bit of family-friendly competition.
Head Over Heels – Ocean, 1987
This legendary game was originally created on the ZX Spectrum by Jon Ritman and Bernie
Drummond, and is jam-packed with imagination and devious puzzles within its many isometric screens. Head Over Heels’ USP is the two characters, separated tantalisingly at the start of the game.
Each of them has an exclusive ability that can help with specific screens, while some problems can only be solved once the pair are combined. There’s no tutorial or explanation here, everything has to be worked out by the player, whatever their age!
Monty On The Run – Gremlin, 1985
Platformers were extremely popular in the Eighties, thanks to the brilliance of classic games such as the Monty Mole series. Monty On The Run is the third game in the series and, as the name suggests, sees the little fellow attempting to evade the law and escape the country. With its surreal sense of humour (akin to famous platform peers Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy), Monty On The Run is great to look at, but also the ultimate test of gaming skills, requiring careful planning and pixel-perfect jumping – and that’s just to get out of Monty’s house! But perhaps the biggest factor that’s guaranteed to bounce youngsters today is the game’s freedom kit – pick the wrong item at the start, and the game is impossible to complete! Dad, that’s SO unfair!
Kick Off 2 – Anco, 1990
For challenging gamers brought up on the endless parade of FIFA Soccer and its ilk, there’s no better way to claim the footie crown than with this superb simulation from Anco and Dino Dini, originally released thirty years ago. The fundamental concept at play here is control of the ball. Unlike in the aforementioned gaming behemoth, the ball never sticks to a player’s feet, with control of the bouncing sphere something to be learned and mastered. As such, the budding Premier Stars among your family will find Kick Off 2 a different league altogether – time to run rings around them and put the ball in the onion bag!
Earth Defense – Realtec, 1995
There are many super-tough shoot-‘em-ups on Antstream Arcade – pick any Cave game for starters – but for that proper retro sheen, why not challenge the urchins to a few goes of this arduous MegaDrive shooter from Realtec? Piloting the Phoenix Spitfire, there are plenty of extra weapons to pick up as you glide across the various levels – but there’s also a maddingly intense rush of enemies from every direction, spitting bullets at your lone fighter. Have you got the experience, reflexes and nous to show the aliens – and your kids – who’s boss?
Firelord – Hewson, 1986
Hewson’s Firelord is a ZX Spectrum classic, and another game to foil younger gamers brought up on easily available weaponry and virtual maps. In this sprawling game, the player takes on the mantle of Sir Galaheart on his quest to recover four charms and release the curse on the land. Back in the Eighties, making an actual, paper map was essential to help explore a game such as Firelord, unless you were lucky enough to have an amazing memory. And even more unbelievably, Sir Galaheart begins the game unarmed, and must pick up the necessary crystal in order to defend himself. With copious enemies on every screen, Firelord’s advert sums it up best: the heat is on!
Jumping Jack – Imagine, 1983
“Jumping Jack is quick and bold – with skill his story will unfold.” So begins this frustratingly addictive Spectrum game from 1983 that will particularly test those kids who lack patience – in other words, most kids! Jack must ascend to the top of each screen in order to reveal the next sentence in his poem. Should he bang his head, or get squished by a nasty, he’s temporarily stunned, leaving him vulnerable to falling down a hole. Should he fall back to the bottom, a life is lost and Jack must try and clamber back to the top again. With its unfair gameplay and infuriating ticking sound, Jumping Jack is a tortuous enough game for anyone who grew up in the Eighties, making it a perfect home for showing off your skills to those born at least 25 years later.
Way Of The Exploding Fist – Melbourne House, 1985
Today’s controllers have a range of buttons, each expertly placed to assist gamers shoot, punch, collect and build. Not so back in the Eighties, when games were usually designed to take advantage of the computer keyboards that most gamers were playing on. While joysticks did exist, they were generally one or two button only, meaning that games such as the brilliant beat-‘em-up Way Of The Exploding Fist were best played using keys, something those brought up on Xboxes and PlayStations will find an odd and chastening experience.
Nam-1975 - SNK, 1990
War! What is it good for? How about showing your kids that even in the Nineties, games were tougher than a pair of old mouldy boots that have been left out in the sun? Nam-1975 is an early SNK shooting gallery style game with a difference – the player character is locked at the bottom of the screen, a fast-moving target for the many bullets and missiles that the enemy throws at you. Taking out the mass of opponents while dodging incoming projectiles is a true test of any gamer – there’s no quick construction of a wall to hide behind in this royally demanding battle!
Hole In One – Gremlin, 1988
If Father’s Day cards are anything to go by, at least 50% of dads like a round of golf, so what better way to get one over on the children than by picking up your virtual putter in this cute golfing sim?
While the early holes of the tutorial and classic levels are relatively simple to complete, by the time you graduate to the expert pro class tournament, the devious layouts will have everybody tearing their hair out. What’s more, with Hole In One, Dad can take on up to another three members of the family in a winner-takes-all shoot out. Show them who’s the boss of these mini links!