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Super Six: Bally Midway

American videogame publisher Midway merged with pinball and slot machine rival Bally Manufacturing in the late Sixties, but it wasn’t until the Eighties that it began using the name Bally Midway to promote its arcade videogame range. Throughout the decade, Bally Midway became synonymous with fun and playable videogames – join us as we select our favourite six from this famous arcade machine company.

Fixed shooter Satan’s Hollow was one of the first games released under the new banner Bally Midway in 1982. The player’s craft sits at the bottom of the screen as hordes of gargoyles, demons and other disciples of Satan assault the player. But this is a shoot-‘em-up with a little bit more to it. Every time the player clears a wave, a bridge section appears. These can be picked up and used to breach the lava pit in the screen's eastern section. Cross over, and it’s time to take on Old Nick itself before looping back to another battle with its denizens, some of whom attempt to cheekily swipe one of your spare lives from the bottom of the screen! Fast, furious and devilishly tricky, Satan’s Hollow is one of the early Eighties’ most peculiar arcade shoot-‘em-up games.

Did You Know?

Satan’s Hollow creator Bill Adams chose the devil as the enemy, reasoning that it was the ultimate enemy to pitch against the player.

Have you ever dreamed of jumping into a super-charged, armed-to-the-teeth sports car and speeding off on a high-speed spy caper? Well, your luck is in thanks to Antstream Arcade because back in 1983, Bally Midway made your dreams come true with Spy Hunter. The first of a wave of vehicular combat videogames throughout the Eighties, Spy Hunter is a frantic vertically-scrolling racing game where you get to be James Bond, Jason Bourne and Napolean Solo all rolled into one! Is an enemy car blocking your path? Machine gun them into a fiery explosion! Have you got some company in your rearview mirror? Drop out the smoke screen or oil slick, and they’ll soon crash into the roadside! Featuring the coolest car in the world, the G-1655 Interceptor, Spy Hunter is an adrenaline-filled spy adventure from start to finish.

Did You Know?

While Spy Hunter’s road may appear random, it was actually painstakingly constructed and mapped out by the game’s designers.

Bally Midway specialised in diverse arcade games during the Eighties, and Root Beer Tapper continues this theme. In this game, rather than becoming a fighter pilot or space adventurer, the player is a humble barman, pouring drinks and gliding them down the smooth wooden surfaces of his bar. Sound easy? It’s far from it – hundreds of customers are out there, and they’re all super-thirsty! From the contemporary bar to an outdoor sports event and outer space pub, patronised by all manner of weird aliens, this is one barman who will have his hands full! So start chucking that root beer, don’t forget to collect the empties that return your way, and maybe – just maybe – some grateful punter will leave you a tip!

Did You Know?

Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch sponsored the original arcade game, and early models featured Budweiser-style taps for joysticks.

It’s time to go on a rampage! Three monsters – George the giant gorilla, Lizzie the dinosaur and the lupine Ralph are tearing up the grand cities of America (and Canada), including Chicago, Las Vegas and New York. In a unique twist, the player becomes one of these mutated creatures, punching and kicking tower blocks, tanks, cars and people in a game of utter destruction. The objective in each level of Rampage is to destroy all the buildings and everyone in them. Enemy helicopters, police cars, soldiers and tanks pester these monsters – crush them all! And if you feel peckish, there may even be something good to eat inside the buildings. Set over 128 manic days, Rampage is a violent and original videogame of gigantic proportions.

Did You Know?

The three human characters who transform into monsters are modelled on actual people. Designer Brian Colin is the human who becomes George, his wife becomes Lizzie, while chief programmer, Jeff Nauman is Ralph.

The aliens have invaded! This heinous bunch of marauding Xenos threatens humankind’s colonies, cities and bases throughout the cosmos. As part of a nine-person search and destroy team, your mission is to infiltrate and clear each alien-infested location before they completely take over. These horrible aliens come in many different forms: eggs hatch into Critters; Critters eventually mutate into Rollers, who are impervious and can trip the player up; and sometimes Rollers transform into, Warriors stomping the corridors and spitting deadly acid at any human foolish enough to get in their way. Don’t forget to watch out for those annoying tentacles that grab the player from above or below and leave them temporarily fixed in place. Fortunately, food replenishes your soldier’s health, and their blaster has infinite ammo – let’s load up and exterminate the aliens!

Did You Know?

Xenophobe was originally planned as a treasure-hunting game set in the 19th century before the hit sci-fi movie sequel Aliens inspired the team behind it to change the scenario.

Finally in this Bally Midway Super Six, we have the weird and wonderful basketball videogame Arch Rivals. Released in 1989, this is a two-on-two battle in four-minute quarters. While the ultimate aim remains the same as in most basketball matches – score more points and baskets than the opposition – there are several additions to Arch Rivals that you don’t usually see in the NBA. Firstly, you can punch the other players, which is helpful when you want that ball back! Secondly, crowd litter, such as soda cans and food wrappers, provide an unwelcome hazard to the players, tripping them up and enabling the opposition to steal the ball. With eight playable characters to choose from, this is a ferocious battle of mayhem and basketball. Game on!

Did You Know?

The original arcade machine of Arch Rivals included a feature called Hometown Heroes. This enabled arcade owners to name the teams after local clubs, giving the game a real-life frisson.

To discuss your favourite Bally Midway game or anything else videogame related, including new games on Antstream Arcade, head over to the Antstream Arcade Discord server:

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