If you either know just a little, or even practically zilch about programming, thanks to the good ol' internet, you can learn, due to online tutorials and all. Probably the easiest way to get your feet wet is to just hack a game's graphics, which is evident by looking at the large Hacks section at the Atari Age website (www.atariage.com), which probably THE biggest hacked game there is Space Invaders, with people just changing it's graphics.
If you want to try your hand at just changing a game's graphics, try Space Invaders. If you want to try your hand at actually programming, then...well, go for Space Invaders, again, as it's pretty simple and all.
Which, sure enough, that's what this review is about, a downloadable freeware version of Space Invaders, The Game That Everyone Knows, even Gamers of Today That Were Raised on Polygon Graphics, Cutscenes and All know what this game is. I'm sure the guy who designed the bleah Atari 5200 controllers who never played a video game in his life knew what Space Invaders was. Hell, I'm sure even socialite dumbass Paris Hilton knows what Space Invaders is.
Oh wait, I got a little carried away there, she probably doesn't after all...
Anyway, the game, of course, was arguably THE game that created the huge arcade explosion of the late 1970s, which involved shooting invaders that marched across the screen. Every time they reached an edge of the screen, they'd drop down a notch; let them get all the way down to the bottom, and you're "invaded", and the game ends. You must dodge their fire and hitting the bonus mystery ship that appears at the top of the screen from time to time will really increase your score.
Here the game was almost perfectly recreated, save for a few minor things: there's no two player version, the sounds weren't perfectly reproduced (although it's explained why in the included Readme file when you download it), the top invader "winks" at you when it moves, the display of remaining laser bases are at the top, rather than the bottom, and the mystery ship takes a little bit longer in it's cycles in between appearances as compared to the original.
Granted, none of these imperfections are any big deal, of course. The game plays pretty much exactly the same as the original; so much, in fact, I should probably be giving this game a 9 or a 10. However, I'm just rating it as is, which Space Invaders isn't really the most exciting game to me in the world nowadays, as I'd rather play the similar-themed, later game of Galaxian personally. There's nothing wrong with it though, although it could behave rather strangely, depending on what kind of machine you're playing it on: when I first tried to fire it up upon loading it from the Retro Gamer mag cd that I got it from, it ran too fast, making it unplayable, on my mom's computer with Windows 98. However, it ran fine on my old 486. And now, with my mom's XP computer (at the time this review was written), it ALSO runs fine, but there's no sound! So who knows what'll happen when you give it a try.
Whatever the deal is, just try giving an old classic a whirl already to experience yesteryear again. After all, the whole download isn't even 100K! 7/10