||This article possibly contains original research. (September 2011)|
|Release date(s)||November 1980 (Arcade)|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright / cocktail|
|Sound||1-channel (mono), amplified|
|Display||Raster, 336 x 240 pixels, 8 colors|
Space Panic is a 1980 arcade game designed by Universal, which Chris Crawford calls "the granddaddy of all platform games", as it predates Nintendo's Donkey Kong (from 1981) which is often cited as the original platform game. Space Panic lacks Donkey Kong's jump mechanic and the main character instead digs holes in the platforms into which he must lure the aliens. He must then hit them to knock them out of the hole and off the screen. In later levels, two or more holes must be lined up vertically in order to dispose of the aliens. There is also a limited supply of oxygen.
Origins and legacy
The trap-em-up premise of the game (digging holes to trap aliens) is likely to have been inspired by the then-contemporary Heiankyo Alien (a 1979 game first released in arcades in 1980), but while that game is set in a maze viewed from above, Space Panic used platforms and ladders viewed from the side.
Space Panic was commercially unsuccessful, which Electronic Games in 1983 attributed to its concepts' novelty to the audience; "not only the first of the climbing games, it was also the first of the digging games. That's quite a load for a player on a new game. No punning intended when I say that the rungs were too high for the average gamer to scale." The magazine reported that the average play time was 30 seconds.
Lode Runner (1983) had a similar look and also used the basic premise of digging holes to trap enemies. Universal revisited the genre with Mr. Do's Castle (1983), which incorporated and expanded upon many of the play styles explored in this seminal game.
Ports and clones
|1981||Apple Panic||Brøderbund||Apple II, Atari 8-bit, PC Booter, VIC-20|
|1982||Panic||Visions Software Factory||ZX Spectrum|
|1982||Monsters||Acornsoft||BBC Micro, Acorn Electron|
|1983||Bonka||J. Morrison (Micros) Ltd.||Dragon 32/64, Commodore 64|
|1983||Cuthbert Goes Digging||Microdeal||TRS-80 Color Computer, Dragon 32|
|1983||Panic 64||Interceptor Micros||Commodore 64|
|1983||Sam Spade||Silversoft Ltd||ZX Spectrum|
|1984||Panic Planet||Alligata||Commodore 64|
|1984||Monsters 64||Available as a Compunet download||Commodore 64|
|1984||Roland Goes Digging||Amsoft/Gem Software||Amstrad CPC|
|1986||Panik!||Atlantis||Commodore 16, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Atari 8-bit|
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