Starmaster

There are two things teenagers like to do when they're alone in a bedroom, illuminated only by the soft glow of a 13-inch television: quietly read the Bible, and pretend that they're commanding a spaceship, blasting enemies while warping across the galaxy. Though the 1981 Activision game Teenage Bedroom Bible Adventures was a financial disaster, 1982's Starmaster captured the warping, laser-blasting, starship-commanding excitement so many teens were looking for.

Gameplay: Starmaster's controls are simplicity itself: The joystick moves your ship around, the fire button fires your weapons, and the Color/BW switch, long thought of as a quaint throwback, toggles between the main viewscreen and a 6"-by-6" map of the galaxy.

You'll begin by toggling your map so you can set your warp coordinates. There are several enemy ships lurking in this quadrant, and your mission is to destroy them all, taking as little damage and using as little energy as possible. If you get into trouble, you can dock for repairs, but if you dock too many times, your score will suffer—and if you don't get a high score, you'll never make it into the Order Of The Supreme Starmaster, and you'll cry yourself to sleep every night for the rest of your life.

Could be mistaken for: Star Raiders, The Last Starfighter, a ride on Space Mountain (without the commercials)

Kids today might not like it because: Though it was advanced in 1982, it lacks the gritty realism they've come to expect from modern science-fiction simulations like Halo 2.

Kids today might like it because: Who knew that calculating fuel ratios and carefully minimizing the number of laser blasts you fire could be so much fun?

Enduring contribution to gaming history: Starmaster's creator, Alan Miller, went on to program other great simulation-style games for Activision, like Robot Tank. He was also responsible for the sports classics Tennis and Ice Hockey.

Wil Wheaton made up that whole thing about Teenage Bedroom Bible Adventures. Please don't sue him. He's just acting out because he never made it into the Order Of The Supreme Starmaster, and cries himself to sleep every night.

Image courtesy of atariage.com

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