Zaxxon: The game that started an incredible video game journey

By Minakawa Wagner

I’ve always been a dreamer. Coming from a middle-class family in Brazil, my younger sister and I were raised by my mother. From an early age I had grandiose plans; being a professor of
quantum physics at at an American university, training as a fighter pilot or an astronaut, building robots and travelling the world, becoming the next MacGyver.

But where I came from, a family supported by a widowed mother, becoming a teacher or a soldier was the most realistic option I had. And that’s how it went. Well, perhaps it wasn’t that much of a straight line but it wasn’t too far off that.

“I stood there, mesmerised by the image of the game Zaxxon”

When I was ten years old, back in 1984, I had the opportunity to visit a company that sold computers, which was very rare back at that time. Until that point, the idea of this was science fiction for me and I was truly amazed. Through a monocratic display of green phosphorus, I saw a pilot and his plane, flying overhead at a military compound and attacking targets that had been set in the centre of a wide corridor protected by thick walls. The enemy structures were protected, but to the pilot of that small plane of enmeshed wings, it was like shooting fish into a barrel. In that brief moment I stood there, mesmerised by the image of the game Zaxxon, that pilot was me.

From then on, stories of pilots lived in my mind. Everything related to flying, fighting, defending good against evil and even space wars was all I was interested in. Then, as unexpected as it was welcome, we bought an Atari 2600. My mother took me to an electronics store and told me to choose a video game. I left with a box in my arms and inside that box there was a mission; defend a base from a missile attack (Atari’s Defender).

After that, other consoles appeared in my life: Magnavox Odyssey, ColecoVision, Nintendo but also some computers like TK85, Amiga, MSX. I did not stop. Video games were like a portal to other worlds.

“I’ve hunted ghosts, vampires, witches, aliens villains and murderous ninjas.”

I have piloted hundreds of missions over World War II Germany, saved miners trapped in caves, led military strikes in the Persian Gulf War. I’ve hunted ghosts, vampires, witches, aliens, villains and murderous ninjas. I ruled kingdoms in ancient China. I did countless elimination missions on behalf of a creed of assassins. I was a monster, plumber and hedgehog. I played in the NBA, professional Major League Baseball, I was a quarterback in the NFL and top scorer in the Spanish Soccer championship. For a brief period I was even a yellow ball that eats energy tablets to swallow ghosts.

Then I was a cowboy, a good guy and a bad guy. I’ve already cleaned the streets of New York of bandits who took advantage of a viral epidemic. And today I had a tough battle to clear a street in Washington DC.

At the end of my life I will have thousands of stories to tell, billions of recognised Easter eggs and spent hundreds of hard-earned coins to hit a silver ball with a small stick.
I will have lived (and lost) thousands of lives. Video games gave me an incredible legacy.

  • Gameplay
  • Audio / Visual
  • Modern Playability
  • Controller Smashability
  • Memories

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