Thursday, May 24, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Spider-Man Atari 2600 Game


For nearly half a century, Spider-Man has had his adventures on various mediums, from comic books to television shows to theatrical movies.

But such mediums have only offered fans a passive experience of the spider-powered superhero’s web-slinging adventures.

For many fans, they don’t just want to see Spider-Man in action: they actually want to take part in the action themselves by swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper and trapping bad guys in webbing.

Fortunately, by the 1980s, one revolutionary medium allowed fans to experience such active first-hand experiences: video games.

Spider-Man has appeared in many video games over the years, but his very first digital adventure occurred in 1982 on one of the very first video game consoles: the Atari 2600.

To learn more about Spider-Man’s 8-bit adventure, click READ MORE:


Spider-Man was released on the Atari 2600 by Parker Brothers as one of the very first Spider-Man video games, if not one of the very first video games based on a comic book superhero.

The game involves Spider-Man scaling a skyscraper where the Green Goblin has set up a bomb. Spider-Man needs to climb up the building with his spider webbing while avoids various obstacles in order to reach the top, diffuse the bomb, and defeat the Green Goblin.

As you can tell, the game itself is a simple as it gets, and it had to be due to the technical limitations of the video game console. Here's what the video game looked and played like:

Players controlled Spider-Man by having them shoot his webbing on various parts of the building. Complicating matters was not only the fact that the webbing could only stick on certain areas, but also that Spider-Man had limited web fluid.

So if he aimed somewhere where his webbing couldn’t stick, or stumbled across a bad guy, or ran out of web fluid, our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man would end up falling to the ground and becoming a Friendly Neighborhood Pancake. (With strawberry syrup!)

As such, the video game had very irksome controls that made playing the game difficult, if not outright impossible.

Whether such a difficulty was intentional as to force players to play the game longer, or whether this difficulty was unintentionally due to technical problems with the program, such a difficult gaming experience has leant itself to comedic moments, as when The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed the game (Content Warning: mild profanity and language):

The game itself, like many other games, were advertised on television through commercials. The commercial for this game was especially weird, as it featured a hyper-excitable Green Goblin egging on Spider-Man as he…played the video game.

Yes, apparently, the Green Goblin’s big evil scheme was to force Spider-Man to play a video game based on him. Because apparently he had nothing better to do that day.

You can check out the commercial here, or if you want some witty commentary, check out the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it within his commercial special:

If you want to play the game yourself, you can actually do just that on-line for free through the Internet Archive, which has many classic games to play through your web browser. Check it out!

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