Midway Arcade Treasures

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Midway Arcade Treasures. Normally, I don’t bother with such collections because I don’t think they’re worth it — especially when they have a mere 4 to 6 games. However, in this case, I felt compelled.

For one, I’ve been playing a lot of Robotron over the last year; ever since I discovered it (it was before my time). As such, I wanted to have some of my cash go to Midway as a sign of thanks. Before the discovery of the free Shockwave.com version, there existed MAME guilt. This purchase puts an end to that. Besides, I’d get to play it on a proper controller on an actual television.

Secondly, the compilation has 24 games and comes at a very reasonable $30 CDN price tag ($20USD). About a dollar per game! That’s a bargain when you consider that many of these games were designed to eat quarters, and many of them have consumed considerably more than a dollar in mere minutes. Of the 24, there are some real gems. My favourites are:

  • Robotron: 2084
  • SmashTV (with 2-player support)
  • Marble Madness
  • Paperboy
  • Rampage (with 3-player support)
  • Spy Hunter
  • Super Sprint

For me, those games are worth the price of admission, but you also get:
Defender, Defender II, Gauntlet (4-players), Joust 1 & 2, Bubbles, RoadBlasters, Blaster, Rampart, Sinistar, 720, Toobin’, KLAX, SPLAT!, Satan’s Hollow, Vindicators, and Root Beer Tapper.

As is the norm with such packages, it comes with some interviews and media (kinda interesting, but nothing major.) One addition to the set, and this is the cool part, is XBox Live Scoreboard support for all the games! It’s a really nice use of Live and when you think about it, it is a no-brainer. These high-score focused games are made all that much better by this added competitive element — you’re no longer competing against your own highscore, but other people too.

Some of the games don’t translate to the XBox controller as perfectly as they could have (the dual sticks feel too loose for the dual joystick games like Robotron and Smash TV), but they do the job. The controls might require a little bit of adjusting here and there, but after a little practice they feel quite natural.

Overall, it’s a nice little set with a bunch of added value; definitely worth the $30 price tag.

Note: it’s also available for the Playstation 2 and (soon) Gamecube, but if you have a choice get the XBox version. In addition to the Live Scoreboard, the XBox version emulates SmashTV perfectly (the Playstation 2 version apparently has some slow-down issues). I have no idea how the GameCube version will be, but I can’t imagine the controller being as good for the dual-joystick games.

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