There is just something I really like about the SNK PlayStation Minis: yes they download to my PSP in less than 5 minutes and they also take up almost no space and give you a full game, but I really think it is the fact that it gives me a chance to relive the glory of the arcade days and giving a whole new generation who might have missed it a taste of gaming days gone by.  They aren’t going to win any graphic contests anytime soon and some of them might remind you more of their popular “cousins” in from the arcade but the ones they pick still have the same addictive gameplay that got people shelling out quarters back in the day all for a couple bucks and all as portable or console as you want it to be.

Chopper I

I played this one first because I remembered the name.  Many of these I don’t remember the name but the play style immediately makes me go “oh yeah this one plays just like ‘1943’!” which is a point that could be made with this one since it is similar to that arcade classic just with a chopper instead of a bomber and no flipping.

This game is a vertical scroller that allows full movement around the screen which is good because the enemies are maniacally all over the place.  This game was a quarter chewer back in the day and those with the best reflexes tended to be the only ones with change left in their pockets for the prize claw machine in the corner.  It was a great day when this came out on console simply because then you paid your one price and played as much as you wanted until exhausted.

This game is constant work, with enemies flying in from all directions, rail guns firing off constant rounds, anti-air placed on most bluffs and constant aerial attack by other helicopters.  It even had those painful spawn moments where you spawn right in the middle of a barrage of enemy fire and die before you can make a single move.

Yet the game is STILL addictive, probably for all it’s challenge and probably more fun since you know how much your wallet is saving.  Boss battles are outrageously hard but satisfying to complete and you have a never ending supply of credits.  Definitely worth the couple bucks to purchase and you will find yourself playing it anywhere since its available on PSP and PS Vita and easy to pick up and just a bit harder to put back down.

The Next Space

There was a whole bunch of space fighter games that came out where the ship moved around the screen and enemy ships came flying down in formation, shooting streams of plasma shots then heading off the bottom of the screen.  In some games they return until you take them down and others a new wave would move on after that wave past.

Galaga was a good example of this and The Next Space is another fine one.  It is pretty straight forward, enemies fly down and you have to shoot them without being shot.  You can pick up powerups as you go.  The concept seems so simple that if you were to describe it to someone who wasn’t part of the arcade generation they probably would pause, look at you, and say “So?” because it truly is something you have to experience to fully understand.

With the PSP, Vita, or PS3 you really do experience it as close to the arcade as possible since the controls are set up to use the stick on the controller to move around and use one button, just like the old days.  One of the particularly fun things about this title is that you can play two people on the screen at the same time instead of taking turns. Back in the day in video arcades taking turns tended to build a competitive nature whereas both playing on the screen created a co-operative atmosphere where you were both just trying to stay alive through the onslaught.

This brings back fond memories of playing such games back in college on older systems with my good buddy in his dorm room late into the night trying to finish one of the co-op games or at least get as far as the two of us could as a team.

Last Call:

These game are total nostalgia plays for just a couple of bucks.  They get you hours of playtime or minutes and can be on the go played standing in line or with a buddy sitting on your couch.  They have versions of these games or their cousins that you can get on the computer as well but they tend to lack the vital feel that you get playing these on a console or portable system and I have to say I like that these are so true to the originals that you are plunking in quarters and playing with a joystick and a button.  It can be a reminder of when 3 buttons were considered confusing on a game and it can show that just because newer games require more controls doesn’t mean old school can’t be fun.


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Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.