The birth of vertical scrolling

Retro gaming: 1942

I played 1942 a lot on my Commodore 128. It’s a variation of Galaga but in a WW2 setting. It also came with a vertical scrolling background which was a new experience in 1984 when this game was released.

The objective is to defeat the Japanese air force and reach Tokyo with your Lockheed P-28 Lightning aircraft. You start by taking off from an aircraft carrier and then defeat wave after wave of enemy aircraft.

If you know what you’re doing, you can finish the game in one-run in about an hour:

This game was the first vertical scroller which allowed game designers to tell more of a story than a plain shooter. The game spawned many sequels and a new genre. It was truly a milestone in game development.


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  • Keys: SHIFT = insert coin, ENTER = start, S = shoot, X = loop (to avoid bullets and planes), UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT = navigate

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