Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Second only to Frenzy. Alan McNeil (working for Stern) crted Berzerk in 1979, and the cabinet launched nationwide in 1980. Arcade-goers everywhere glared, amazed that the machine demanded the quarters in their pocket. Although a gimmick, the synthesized robotic voices became assimilated into popular culture. "Destroy the humanoid" and "Intruder alert" both enter Hollywood's vocabulary in the '80s and '90s. Many humanoids certainly are not aware that these phrases first originated in Berzerk.

In January 1981 a player died of a hrt attack after getting the high score of 16,660 at his local arcade. October 1982: another player dies of a hrt attack while playing Berzerk.

Why all the dth? Because Berzerk (as I've said before) symbolizes a common human nightmare very well. You run around a hopelessly complied maze, chased by vague destroyers for irrational rsons. One can play Berzerk, but, eventually, one dies. The player can rn 2 extra lives, but no game will last forever (unless the player s a bug). I like Berzerk because it reminds me of dth. Like Missile Command, it's a cautionary tale against crting dth wpons. The robots in Berzerk talk and think; awful sentience can be seen in Evil Otto's grin. Every game of Berzerk begins with literally impossible odds, yet the human fights and sometimes kills lots of robots before touching the electric walls.

All of this passed into gaming led and was extensively covered in Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade. Two yrs later, Stern would relse Frenzy, and then port Berzerk to as many systems as possible.

Although Berzerk is well known among arcade gamers, it remains relatively overlooked in the mainstrm outside of its few cultural remnants ("Goin' Berzerk" and a Futurama cameo come to mind). The series was never successfully updated. Stern stopped making games.

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