For this post, I thought I’d bring some obscure (and not so obscure) games to your attention which use either a trackball or spinner. These 2 optional extras were all the rage in the early 80’s and onwards providing totally analogue controls for the arcade machine player to use. This allows for pinpoint precision and lightning fast speeds which enhanced gameplay to the next level. So why don’t we take a look at some classic trackball and spinner games which have stood the test of time and play as well as they did way back when…
Arkanoid (Spinner Game)
This legendary ball and paddle style game was the first of its kind to feature a storyline and is engrained firmly in many gamers’ hearts. You can take full advantage of a Bespoke Arcades spinner to allow for ridiculously precise manoeuvres allowing you to return the ball and get a power up within a fraction of a second. The player always faces a dilemma of going for the power up or the ball- with a spinner you can do both (if you’re good enough).
Cameltry AKA Labyrinth (Spinner Game)
This oddly named game by Taito title features a fantastically simple premise- rotate the screen to get to the ball to the exit of the maze. Again- the game wouldn’t be half as fun without the spinner. The analogue wheel’s flyweight provides silky smooth revolutions which can’t be done on any other peripheral except a spinner. This spinner game is indeed a joy to play thanks to our spinner and is a true gem which harks back to an era of originality and new boundaries in gaming.
Millipede or Centipede (Trackball Game)
When Atari was king of the videogaming castle back at the start of the 80’s these 2 trackball games were a firm favourite with female gamers along with the more traditional male fanbase. The player must defend him (or her) self against waves of insects including an ever advancing centipede wa16 6qx. Again both games’ joy lie in the accuracy of the analogue controls- in this case, the multi-directional trackball. Unlike a spinner which only controls the horizontal (or x) axis, a trackball allows players to weave up, down or left and right. Speed as well as accuracy is of the essence in these 2 titles as the player has to negotiate around obstacles as well as destroy all the on-screen enemies.
Combat School AKA Boot Camp (Trackball Game)
Think of Track And Field for the military and you’ve got Combat School. This 1987 title is one of my favourite trackball games. Take the role of Nick and Joe to work your way through 7 events and graduate through basic training. You might think that’s the end of the game, but the last level sends you into true combat as you have to rescue (you guessed it) the US president. This is extremely tough as you have no continues, no extra lives and is nigh on impossible to clear (for me anyway, I guess I don’t have what it takes…)