Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Atari Pepsi Invaders -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewAtari Pepsi Invaders for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Pepsi Invaders
Manufacturer: Atari
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1983
Part #: N/A
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Atari Pepsi Invaders Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Atari Pepsi Invaders Screenshot:
Atari Pepsi Invaders for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Part of the joy of collecting video games is the often quirky nature of the industry and what those quirks have to say about gaming. Never heard of Pepsi Invaders? Join the club! Don't worry, you're not alone. In fact it holds one of the highest rarity ratings in game collecting. With only 125 know cartridges produced, it's no wonder you don't own it. It's rarity is so great that the "box cover" image above is actually a scan of an imagined reproduction of the original cartridge.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company commissioned the game from Atari to give to their Atlanta sales executives during an anual convention. Atari redesigned Space Invaders so that you shoot the letters "P E P S I" instead of the renown Space Invader aliens. There were 125 copies of this game made and was delivered as a label-less black cartridge in a disposable container as opposed to the traditional game box. It's not classified as a prototype, but it wasn't commercially available either.

Holy shit! Check this out...
Pepsi Invaders was burned onto regular ROM chips instead of EPROM's and housed in a generic black cartridge with no label, box or manual. It was given to Coke sales executives at an Atlanta sales convention. No one at the time probably gave much
thought to the potential value of this cart, but each attendee who received a copy also got a shiny new Atari 2600 to go with it. Despite the nondescript nature of this cartridge, it now garners in excess of $2,000 at auction!

Pepsi Invaders Story Arc

This game is often referred to as Coke Wins as this slogan appears at the top of the screen before game play begins. Both the limited production and specific group who were given this unique game speaks volumes about the significance of video games in the mid 1980s. Has your company given you anything (besides headaches) at corporate retreats - or otherwise? Most of us attending such events come away with another cheap t-shirt destined for the car-cleaning bucket at best.

In today's world, a giveaway like Pepsi Invaders and a 2600 console would be akin to getting a copy of Call of Booty: Black Ops with your company's logo embedded throughout the game and a logo'd PS3 to play it on. Go Fanta - a force to reckon with!

This Coca-Cola prize really speaks to the importance and prominence of video gaming in the 80's. video games were everywhere. It was the bold new technology that took your TV to new heights. As arcade favorites were released to home systems, their popularity spread creating a wider army of gamers who would succumb to the allure of video games and help propel the technology forward with demands of MORE!

Pepsi Invaders Game Play

Atari Pepsi Invaders for Atari 2600 screenshot with Coke Wins slogan Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Obviously similar to Space Invaders, your horizontally moving cannon fires at the letters and a single column of more traditional Space Invader aliens. Both the letters and aliens shoot back at you as well. I have no info on the history development cycle, but some odd decisions were made, regarding game play, to perhaps make it more "enjoyable" for Coke sales execs - as opposed to gamers who crave a challenge. One can speculate whether Coke felt this prize would be used by their sales force or given to their children.

The 112 variants of Space Invaders translated down to 1 version for Pepsi Invaders. The arcade classic was heralded as one of the first "infinite" games in which you could play as long as you could. All it took was determination and quarters. Pepsi Invaders limits game play to 3 minutes. A timer counts down to zero, allowing you to clear as many levels and gain as many points as you could in 3 minutes. Maybe this was a tie-in to some sales tactic in the bowels of Coca-Cola.

At the same time, you have infinite lives during this 3 minute shooter. Could this have been related to having 3 minutes to close deals when selling Coke products? Stranger things have happened.

The Pièce de résistance is the UFO we all experienced floating across the top of the screen that gave bonus points for it's destruction. In Pepsi Invaders, the UFO is a pepsi Logo! Classic!

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Atari Pepsi Invaders

is a fun look at a unique game with even less market penetration than Chase The Chuckwagon.

Being limited to 3 minutes of game play is a bit annoying, but being able to fire up a ROM and engage with this little piece of gaming history is more fun than you might expect! Not a great game and lacks much of the allure of Space Invaders, but it's worth a download.

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