Similar to the more popular Time Pilot and Sinistar, Bosconian has players in control of a rotating ship that remains affixed to the center of a playfield that scrolls in all directions. The objective is to destroy the enemy’s hexagonal space stations while avoiding or shooting asteroids, space mines and enemy ships. To take out a space station, players must blast its inner core or shoot all six of its gun batteries. The ship fires to the front and the rear simultaneously, radar displays the position of enemy bases, and a color-coded alert system warns players of the level of aggression of enemy attacks, helping make the game a cut above the average shooter of the era. A nifty outer space environment, with voice effects, complements the challenging shooting action.
The sequel to Galaxian, Galaga is a timeless classic, showing up regularly on fans’ and magazines’ lists of greatest games ever. As with most slide-and-shoot games, players control an upward-firing ship that moves horizontally along the bottom of the screen. Bug-like alien invaders fly in looping, twirling maneuvers around the screen, settling temporarily into formations at the top of the playfield, only to swoop down again. What sets Galaga apart from most blast-a-thons, in addition to its perfectly balanced shooting action, is the strategic maneuver of letting your ship get captured, then rescuing it for double firepower. Also nifty are the challenge stages, which let players blast away unmolested for extra points.