While Circle K and 7-Eleven always had the newest and greatest games each week (if there was an addition to the Pac-Man family, that's where it'd turn up), the brave (or foolish) would occasionally venture around the block and down the alley into that shady liquor store or questionable donut shop, to take a chance on a bootleg game like Cosmic Monsters.
Gameplay: Let's be honest, okay? You take the Earth for granted. We all do. But a horde of Cosmic Monsters have turned their greedy, multi-faceted eyes on our Big Blue Marble, and they're determined to bring their unique brand of alien terror to mankind! Luckily, you've got three shields and a missile base that moves left and right. Though the Cosmic Monsters are numerous, they don't have the most advanced battle plan, so be prepared for them to move from side to side as they drop closer and closer to Earth. And since saving the planet may not be enough for you (it is the '80s, after all), you will be rewarded with points, hundreds and hundreds of points, which you can use to... uh... impress your friends, or something.
Could be mistaken for: Space Invaders, Space Invaders II, Space Attack, Space King, Space King II.
Kids today might not like it because: It's a simplistic, black-and-white, Us-vs.-Them battle of attrition that repeats over and over in a manner strangely similar to Crossfire and Hardball, and everyone knows that those shows suck, man.
Kids today might like it because: It recalls a simpler time, back before their mobile phones had cameras and the Internet. Their first cell phone probably came with a free game just like this onewhich they deleted to make space for that mp3 by 50 Cent. You know the one.
Enduring contribution to gaming history: Cosmic Monsters paved the way for an entire arcade's worth of bootleg games, including Crazy Kong, Top Racer, Espial, and, of course, Alien Attackers. Wil Wheaton
Images courtesy of Killer List Of Video Games (klov.com) and The International Arcade Museum.
Wil Wheaton likes to believe that he's the bootleg version of Kevin Bacon.