Friday, February 15, 2013

Games that remind me of my childhood Number 19 : Astro Wars (Grandstand)

My Mum and Dad bought me my first computer game in 1983.  It was a mini table top electronic arcade console called Astro Wars, released by Grandstand.  The game was a simple shoot 'em up and I remember spending hours playing it as a young child, (and getting through quite a few C size batteries in the process!)

These style of games were quite popular in the early 1980s, although out of all the ones I've played, Astro Wars was (and still is) by far the best.  The console looks like a mini arcade machine, with a small joystick, fire button, select and start buttons, and a large LFD (Vacuum fluorescent display) screen.

As mentioned earlier, the game is a typical shoot em' up, in the style of Galaxians and is made up of three sections :-

Section 1 : - You control a space ship at the bottom of the screen and can move left, right and fire.  Squadrons of enemy fighter ships attack you from the top of the screen, and occasionally one will fly towards you.  You must shoot all the enemy ships, while at the same time avoiding their fire.  Apologies for the poor pictures, but it is extremely hard to play this game, and hold a camera at the same time!

Section 1 - Check out those awesome LED graphics!

Section 2 : Three enemy ships remain at the top of the screen and fire a stream of lasers at you.  Avoiding the lasers is one thing, shooting the ships is another (and is quite difficult) because they keep moving from left to right.

Section 2 - It gets a bit crazy now!
Section 3 : Bonus stage - Your space ship separates, and the top half of your ship launches to the top of the screen.  Using the fire button and the joystick, you must guide the top of your ship so that it docks perfectly with the bottom half.  Holding the fire button gives your ship thrust, and left and right moves your ship.  There is a timer so you must perform the docking manoeuvre before it runs out.  If it does, your ship falls, causing it to crash.  If you manage to successfully complete this section, the game then returns back to the beginning again.

Section 3 - Not as easy as it seems.  Using your thrust to dock your space ship

One good feature is that the game features several difficulty settings (press the select button at the start of the game to choose your skill level).  This extends the lastability of the game since it is very easy to complete on the easiest setting. 

The game ends once the player has lost all of their 5 lives, or when their score reaches 9999, at which point the game is won and the player is treated to a very basic electronic fan-fare as a reward!

Astro Wars was a marvellous game, and is still fun to play 30 years after it was released!  They go for good money on eBay too, which is good to know since I have two of them - although I don't think I'd ever sell.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stuart's Panoramic World 7 - Leigh-on-Sea

Another 360° panorama, another game of "Spot Kieran".  A path along the seafront between Leigh-on-Sea and Chalkwell.  When I was younger we would walk along here all the way to Southend.  A really pleasant stroll.

Use your mouse (or cursor keys) to look.  Your mouse wheel allows you to zoom in and out.

Location : Leigh-on-Sea

Date : 19th April 2011

Camera : Fujifilm S6000FD

Notes :
Sea side path between Leigh-On-Sea and Chalkwell

Download/Enlarge : Click here to enlarge 


Sunday, February 03, 2013

Stuart's Panoramic World 6 - Fenchurch Street Railway Station

Another 360° panorama - The last railway station (for the moment anyway) is Fenchurch Street, located on the London end of the c2c line (formerly the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway)

Use your mouse (or cursor keys) to look.  Your mouse wheel allows you to zoom in and out.

Location : Fenchurch Street, London

Date : 19th February 2011

Camera : Fujifilm S6000FD

Notes :
Station used by c2c and the London Terminus of the London, Tilbury and Southend line.

Download/Enlarge : Click here to enlarge