Name: Garth Chouteau
Profession:VP of Public Relations
Company: PopCap Games
Favorite Classic Game: Having grown up in the age of mega-arcades, I have a number of ‘favorites’ including Asteroids, Lunar Lander, Gravitar and Major Havoc; I’d have to go with Major Havoc as my overall favorite… (I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve also played way more than my share of lots of ‘kiddie’ games like Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Island, Liquid Kids etc., along with many obscure games such as Psychic Five (incredible), Baluba-louk no Densetsu, et al. Heck, I played Death Race at a fast food joint in Ashland, Oregon in 1976, before they took it off the market!
Quote: Because it’s unique and multi-faceted. Major Havoc was/is really several games in one….it had elements of Phoenix, I Robot, and Lunar Lander in the ‘mini-game’ segments that preceded each new planet/space station that effectively represented a ‘level’ of the game. It had a small Breakout clone at the ‘interstitial’ screen through which you could not only earn extra lives, but also enter warp codes that would allow you to skip ahead to later levels, thereby saving time and quarters. And finally, the main gameplay – actually descending into the nuclear reactor on each planet/space station, fighting your way to the reactor core, setting it off and dashing back to your ship – was incredibly fun and exciting. The realistic gravity combined with simple input/controls and increasingly tough obstacles/enemies made it a really well-rounded game that was nearly impossible to complete (I never did) but great fun to play, over and over again.
Unfortunately Major Havoc doesn’t really translate to other platforms; it really requires the ‘spinner knob’ control found in the cabinet conversion port of the game (whereby an old Tempest cabinet would be used with the Major Havoc ROM)… so playing Major Havoc on a Playstation or Xbox or PC via MAME doesn’t come close to the original experience. Anyone got an original Major Havoc cabinet conversion for sale? I’m in the market!