Hey Arcaders!

In the early days after Donkey Kong was released to the world, there were a lot of arcade and home console companies that wanted in on the Kong sized profit! This series will focus on these lesser known games. weather it’s an original game, or a Kong bootleg, we will be touching base with these games that Kong forgot!

It’s time to talk about the granddaddy of ALL platformers- before there was a name for it…

…And how this ONE game spawned a franchise that is still played to this very day. What game you say?

The game is-

Space Panic was the brainchild of Universal (no, not THAT Universal) Co, LTD.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve always LOVED Universal’s cabinets- the artwork is amazing!

This Universal published many games in the late 70s and early 80s. Their biggest hit- Mr. Do!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The hostile Space Monsters pursue the Spaceman by moving through the Space Station- a maze of platforms and ladders. The Spaceman can control this threat by digging holes in the girder platforms; when a hole is completed, a Space Monster can fall into them and be trapped. To eliminate a trapped Space Monster, the Spaceman must fill the hole up, causing the Space Monster to fall through. But- watch out! if you don’t bury the Space Monster, It transforms into a Boss Monster. If you don’t bury a Boss, it turns into a Don Monster. More points are scored the more floors Space Monsters fall through, but a Boss will survive a fall of one floor, and a Don will survive a fall of up to two floors. If a Space Monster falls on another Space Monster, both are eliminated for extra points. And if that wasn’t enough,  take too long to beat the level, your oxygen runs out (indicated by the meter above the platforms), and you lose your Spaceman.

As one of Universal’s first games… it’s not pretty. and the sounds… some are dreadful.

The best port by far is the Colecovision version! The Spaceman LOOKS like a Spaceman!

Universal would take notes from Space Panic when they made the brilliant  Mr. Do’s! Castle three years later!

But- that’s not the whole story.

Enter Broderbund. They create a game called Apple Panic in 1981 for the Apple ][. and- they decide to “PLUS” it.

That evolves in 1983 to a game called… Lode Runner!

…Which has had many iterations and sequels to this day.

All because of a little game that just happens to be- the world’s first platformer. Not bad, Space Panic- not bad.

Have you ever played Space Panic?

What did you think of it?

Or any of the other games in this article?

Let me know in the comments!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s1981.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s