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December 2014 Retro Gaming Article


December 12, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You've seen Retronaut on the web & in book stores, now play the completely unrelated retro-themed mobile game

Retronaut 1 mobile game Many of the mobile games I've come to enjoy are retro themed in one way or another. Some have game-play aspects reminiscent of favorite games from the 80's. Others use the blocky pixel art to set a visual mood that also rings in the wonders of 1983.

As a side-scroller, Retronaut 1, from Grok Developments Ltd., takes you on a journey through the familiar visuals of retro games and iconic items of the era. It does this in a very literal fashion.

As seen in the screenshot, a screenful of Space invaders hover above the green shields, but the Retronaut 1 enters from the side firing on the Invaders. Where Retronaut 1 differs from many retro-inspired games is you drift through renditions of several games from arcades to the Atari 2600. There are even some targeting options in the form of retro toys and such.

With further updates promised, Retronaut 1 lets you battle through screens of your favorite games with more on the way. In addition to Space Invaders, you'll come across Pac-Man and Asteroids.

As for game-play, taping the left side of the screen provides thrust and the right side is for firing. As you thrust, you use up fuel and must collect additional fuel in your travels through mountainous terrain.

Retronaut 1 mobile game The game is designed to let you progress with a modest amount of frustration. With only the ability to thrust upwards, you often find your descent too slow to avoid colliding with objects. It takes a while to understand that dodging objects can be more effective than trying to shoot everything. There's a lot of adversaries coming at your from your favorite pixel'd games.

The levels are defined by years - starting with 1978. This is to give you an idea of the sort of enemies (classic retro games) you may encounter in your travels. The included levels of the game are currently 1978, 1979, and 1980.

Retronaut 1 is a free Android game that is entertaining in the unique way in which it presents retro gaming - you fly through the games themselves. It's a nice take on the genre done in a manner I haven't seen before. Like many mobile games, you aren't likely to delve into marathon sessions, but the desire to see which "old favorites" are contained in the journey will keep you coming back to it.

I'd be remiss if I didn't at least acknowledge the oddity of the name. I like the name Retromaut. It's a fitting name, however, it's been used before and is largely associated with a vintage image project. A quick Google search reveals the "vintage picture" website and companion book, Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine.

A few critics of the game have been vocal about ownership of the name with a variety of allegations. I'm far more interested in video games than copyright law, so I suggest you try the game. If you like it, repeat... otherwise delete. Very simple, but do give this game a whirl since it's presentation of the retro genre is delightfully unusual.

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