The GU iOS Game of the Week -- Sea Wolf

The GU iOS Game of the Week -- Sea Wolf

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 7th Feb 2012

Sea Wolf

Also for this game:

While I try not to begin articles by limiting the scope of their application to just a small portion of the potential audience, I am afraid that I will briefly need to do that here -- though I promise the rest of you that it will quickly become relevant to you and besides, you may very well find this brief journey down memory lane to be informative and entertaining...

As a child of the 70's I distinctly recall the birth of the coin-op video game arcade as a welcome part of growing up in what we thought was the best technology era ever -- of course children of the 00's no doubt have the same firm conviction today -- but considering that I lived in Byron Bay, a town on the east coast of Australia that up to the 1960's was better known for its meat and butter industry than its present identity as the tourist destination that it became, you can probably appreciate how important it was to us to have something that our parents simply could not relate to at all.

Byron Bay was a town under pressure, with a massive influx of what was thought of as "Hippy" culture at the time coming into direct opposition with the town fathers and what remained of the agricultural influence that previously dominated the economy, and the idea of relying on tourist dollars as the backbone of what had been a strong cultural identity up to that point really put some noses out of joint, I can tell you.

When Mack built an add-on to his his small store on the coastal road -- a store that was more of a convenience store than any other type, but existed as such at a time when we did not know what a convenience store was -- and then filled it with coin-op video games, there were a lot of people in the area that thought he was crazy, but probably not for the reason you are thinking. If he had filled that space with pokies/slot machines, nobody would have blinked an eye, but who ever heard of video games and besides that, who would play a game that did not have the potential of paying off? I'll tell you who -- kids!

Mack's was already a mecca of sorts for Saturday mornings and kids because he had a good selection of candies including imports like collector card packages with stickers in them, some being funny and some based on comic book heroes. I owned the full set of Wacky-Packies, and Batman, and would have had the full set of the Star Trek cards but my brother used ten of them to make clickers for his bicycle wheels and I was never able to replace them...

On the Saturday morning that we hiked the five miles to Mack's for our weekly "shopping" trip -- my brothers and I were not, strictly speaking, allowed to go up the coastal road mind you, and Mack's was right out -- you can only imagine the look of shock and awe on our faces when we opened the door, walked in and heard the sound of those games. Moth to light, we were in the addition in a heartbeat, and the first time that I played Sea Wolf I was struck dumb.

Next to Sea Wolf was Pong, and beside that was a game called Anti-Aircraft, and another called Motorcycle that was a racing game. They were all occupied, the lines were three and four kids deep, and Mack was not a stupid man, he was a bloody genius. A visionary, I tell ya! The proof of that was that by the early 1980's there were video games practically everywhere, in hotels, pubs, stores, anyplace that they could be stuck that would not cause trouble.

Our fascination for the games centered around Sea Wolf, but as is often the case, interest shifts. I remember when the first Space Invaders appeared, and for a year that was the only game I was interested in playing...

Shortly after Mack added his games my dad bought us a home version of Pong, and that got a lot of play, but even the succession of new home-gaming consoles that he bought us could not break our fascination and interest in the coin-op stand-up games of the era, because as cool as our consoles were, they were never quite as good as the real arcade games... Of course that is no longer true today, as console games are often better in both quality and entertainment quantity than modern coin-ops, and then there are the games we carry with us in our pockets on our iOS devices...

The Gaming Update iOS Game of the Week is Sea Wolf!

Before Space Invaders, before Defender, and even before Asteroids, there was Sea Wolf. Arguably the most popular arcade game of the '70s, Sea Wolf is back as an app for iPhone and iPod Touch as the direct result of the coin-op arcade manufacturer Coastal Amusements and their efforts to revive the classic titles of the past.

Having created a pair of coin-op games targeted largely at the ticket-redemption-based arcades that are popular today, the wizards at CA thought -- hey, we could make an app of this! And so they did.

The game is now available in the App Store in two versions -- a free limited version that allows players to conquer the first two missions and the full 8-mission app, which can be purchased for $1.99.

You can also find a demo video on the game's site, or, if you are a hard core retro gamer, check out the full-size version at the Coastal Amusements website.

The Original coin-op version of the game that launched a billion gamers...