Spaceship Fashion Show
On a cold winter's day during the Corona-virus outbreak, a thought popped into my head: what's the best looking space ship in the Atari 7800 library? Yes... I need a social life. But before I start cat-fishing on Tinder, let's look at this a little more seriously. WE NEED TO CROWN A WINNER! So, I have taken all of the spaceships in the library ranked them on sheer sexiness alone... so no stupid questions about world hunger or insufferable talent demonstrations, this list is all about the bikini portion of the scoring, babies.
NOW LET'S CROWN QUEEN PRETTY!
Worst Place: Space Duel
As I've said before, rendering fake vector graphics on the 7800 is apparently tough, and although Space Duel is quite a good game, the triangle ship that can look turd brown (depending on your TV's tint) gets this dubious honor.
23rd: Shoot the UFO
Shoot the UFO is really a glorified demo, but hey- they sold it so its fair game to dog on. The brown and yellow motif is not only ugly, the ship is very small and not very intimidating to passerby UFO invaders, but it looks like it would make a good garden pagoda.
The ship in the 7800 version of Asteroids looks about as rudimentary as the Atari VCS version. A glorified, uni-color triangle with crappy hyper drive. Pass.
21st: Asteroids Deluxe
(Player One's Ship)
Spoiler alert: fans of Asteroids and Asteroids-style games are gonna hate this list. Faux vector graphics are in play here, and this squiggly lined ship is not only ugly, but its pea soup colored to boot.
20th: Alpha Race
One of the first customizable options in the 7800 library was in Alpha Race. Programmer S102 included the option to change the colors of several sprites in the game, including the main ship. The best color scheme is by far "yellow ship on black background", but even then, the blocky uni-colored ship fails to impress.
19th: Asteroids Deluxe
(Player Two's Ship)
In an odd choice, the second player's ship in Asteroid Deluxe is white, and not pea soup color. Not only does this resemble real vector graphics better, it looks better too! But it's still 18th, so let's not get crazy.
Galaga is one of the best games of all time, but as I have preached since day one, the 7800 port is disappointing. One reason is that the player's ship is missing all of the blinking funk that makes the arcade version's so fancy. This looks like the space ship base model- no cup holders or heated seats for sure.
17th: Planet Smashers
A reader once called this game PLANE-IT SMASHERS because the main craft looks just like that... a plane. How drab. The lack of imagination in this sprite is painful. Boooo.
16th: Meteor Shower
(Player Two's Ship)
I normally like things with yellow and gold hues, but this laser cannon looks like a weird lemon catcus. What is a lemon cactus, you ask? Man... you never wanna find out. Seriously. Just pray you never do.
15th: Space Invaders
Good news... if you were told as a kid that you were too short and squatty to play NBA basketball, you may have a future in being a Space Invaders laser cannon. Except, the job is already taken and its impossible for human beings to squeeze into computer chips. So on second thought... I'm sorry... you're just fat.
14th: Meteor Shower
(Player One's Ship)
Player One wins the the day here with a laser cannon that looks like it should come in an unmarked box from a marital aid store.
13th: Astro Fighter
The galaxy may be a weird shade of blue in the land of Astro Fighter, but the ship you control is a decent looking vessel. On my TV, it looks pink and white... and when I'm feeling a little mischievous, I pretend Hello Kitty is flying it. Don't tell anyone I told you that.
12th: A Roach in Space II
The graphics in this yet to be released homebrew are plenty decent enough and I get the humor... and I love the title... but man... roaches are just gross. I was in the city yesterday and one crawled out of my hero onto the table, and I'm not even kidding. You should have picked a cooler bug, dude... sorry/ not sorry. Gross.
There's nothing wrong with the looks of the Xevious ship with its menacing cross hairs, but its blue hull tends to wash out over many of the terrains it flies over, making its appearance quite muddy most of the time.
10th: Moon Cresta
When all three segments of the Moon Cresta vessel are forged together, there is something quite ominous about it. With all of these Roman numerals, it looks like we are piloting an evil, badass Julius Caesar commissioned ship into battle to invade space-Gaul.
Player One's Ship
There is something very "hero saves the day" about the blue player ship in Plutos... its a good guy's ship through and through. As the sprite moves left and right, the wings actually spin around the ship in a circle, making it one of the coolest shooter animations in the library.
8th: Desert Falcon
If there's anyone out there that actually cares about this list, they may be tempted to give me flak for including the Desert Falcon, because it exists in a game that is not in space and it is not a ship. But hear me out. What if it is? Have you every seen a falcon shoot rapid fire arrows out of its mouth (not high on peyote)? What if this is an alien world, and the Desert Falcon is made of metal or some other non-biological substance? Not only is it cool looking, it's adorable when it bee-bops around on the ground like a pigeon when it walks. So, I'm gonna keep it.
7th: Astro Blaster
The Astro Blaster vessel slightly resembles the USS Enterprise and the human controlled ship in Star Control. Looking at it gives you a slight patriotic feeling about Earth... well... at least it does for me. It's a big sprite and rendered well even though it gets terrible fuel mileage and its laser overheats easily.
This unreleased prototype's main vessel is a plain, but sleek, efficient looking craft. With the tight and narrow passageways in this merciless game, it needs to be. Power ups add flying drone guns to surround it as you progress, making this ship look more and more badass as it goes.
If there is one ship in the library that looks like the Mothership... it's the player craft in Scramble. As we blow away the missiles and fuel canisters below, there is a Soul Train Line Dance happening on the party deck. And you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey.
4th: Dragon's Havoc
Here could be another "Desert Falcon situation" brewing: is this a ship or is this a dragon? Truth be told, this game is just a space SHMUP wrapped in Middle Earth/ fantasy garb, and the Flame Dragon that we command just looks too badazz to pass up on a close call.
(Player Two's Ship)
As heroic as player one's ship is in Plutos, player two's ship is so much cooler. The red version of the craft looks like the hero's semi-criminal pal's ship... like he took time off from smuggling for space gangsters to help his Jedi pal save the universe. Sound familiar? As the craft moves, player two's large, round foils spin in circles around the rocketship with impressive flair.
In a space shooter that has more in common with Metroid or Knight Guy in a Low Rez World than Galaga, the hero's craft is a large, detailed vessel that looks retro-fantastic. Programmer Muddyfunster has come up with a super sweet MECH that will make the immersion of E.X.O. seamless when this much anticipated game hits the store.
Best Place: UniWarS
In a decision that will shock and anger the squares, I'm going with Bob's new homebrew shooter for first place glamor thrills. The game itself is kinda weird and possibly unlikeable, but the hero's craft is a big ole golden ridiculous rocket that is much too big for safety, but if we die, we will look good doing it. This is a galactic Lincoln Towncar. I tell my kids to be 90% Jesus and 10% Pimp in life... but in video games be 100% pimp all the time. Well... here's that pimp game come true in a space shoot em up on the 7800.