Good arcade designers often work with four words buzzing around in their brains: What Would Jarvis Do? Jarvis – and I hope I don’t need to explain this – refers to Eugene Jarvis, and he’s amongst the greatest twitch game designers of all time. With Defender, he created a coin-op legend, a game so overwhelming in its flair and complexity and sheer visual impact that people would drop money into its innards just to witness the explosion that erupted when they died. With Robotron, a broken hand lead to the creation of the first properly implemented twin-stick shooter system in games – you move with one joystick and aim with the other. No fire button needed, because Robotron was relentless.
It was, and is, a beast. You spawn in the centre of the screen to find enemies all about you. These enemies have different behaviours: some are coming for you, some are bad news for the humans scattered around that provide the game’s only collectable. Some are firing bullets, and some barely know that you are there. In the primordial soup of all this gloriously simple AI, magical emergent behaviour swarms and multiplies: grunts cluster in bait balls as they pursue you, enforcers work their ways into the corners of the screen. God, it is a hell of a thing. Smash TV coming years later picked up key threads while splitting the action across interlinked rooms, even chucking in a few bosses. A gloriously 80s plot had you fighting not for the last vestiges of humanity but for toaster ovens and other game show glories. Miyamoto might be gaming’s Spielberg, but Jarvis is our John Carpenter: violent and angry and funny and oddly elegant all at once. He is well-deployed randomness. He is almost too much.
Deep breath. All of which makes …
Source:: Nex Machina review