I remember some crazy days during 1993-1994, with many new consoles trying to be the next big thing and replace Sega and Nintendo’s 16-bit machines. Few survived and one with the worse results was Atari’s Jaguar. The console was criticized for its limited games library, with many ports and not outstanding titles. From those first days only two titles were saved, Rebellion’s Alien vs Predator and Tempest 2000 a new version of classic arcade game Tempest (1981). From magazine’s screens it was easy to imagine what kind of game the former was, but I had no idea about the latter. In 1996 a PC port was released (it was also available for PlayStation) and I was able to play it a bit to discover this little jewel.
Tempest 2000 was produced by Jeff Minter a really prolific game creator, which often develops games with some basic graphics, reminiscence of old arcade games. In console world he had some success with 2007 Space Giraffe for Xbox 360 and also released the controversial TxK for Vita in 2014. Atari found this game too similar to Tempest and threatened him, so only Vita version exists and all the ports to other systems were cancelled. I actually played TxK and I find it a bit hard, but fascinating.
Now, he’s releasing a new game called Polybius, aesthetically similar to some of his previous games and with a name taken (I’ve discovered this story recently) for one of the urban legends surrounding videogames. Polybius is the name of a game that never existed. In 1981, the same year Tempest was released, a story about a game causing physical affections to player or even inducing them to commit suicide started in different cities of United States. Those rumors also talked about mysterious men in black taking data and speaking to arcade owners. It can be a bit controversial to use the name, but I find it a bit funny, because the game looks crazy and being also VR compatible I can imagine being a bit sick after playing it. I don’t own a VR device right now, so I can have my own impressions but for what I read, is an amazing experience.
From the gameplay point of view, the game is a corridor shooter, a bit different to Tempest, because you advance through it and in Tempest enemies come to where you are. The game is now available for PS4 and I it’s coming for PC a bit later. Here you can watch the live gameplay stream I did past Wednesday. As previous games, it’s better to watch the game in action to know how it is, it’s hard to imagine just watching screenshots. It truly is a crazy experience: