Missing in Action is an editorial mini-series we are running discussing genres that have all but disappeared in today’s arcade releases, taking a backseat to light-gun shooters or racers. We do not think that the arcade industry benefits from the lack of variety on the scene and would love to see some new titles from other genres that fit perfectly into arcade-style gaming. The previous article discussed Space Combat titles and today we are taking a look at the puzzle game.
A little History
The very first puzzle game on record of the KLOV arcade game database is Computer Othello (1978) by Nintendo and the last puzzle title was released in arcades according to the same site was Star Trigon(2002) by Nintendo. The real heyday for puzzle games hit shortly after Tetris came onto the scene in 1988, with many releases in 1990 and 1996 but new titles began to taper off after 97 until we no longer saw any new puzzle games to the scene after 2002.
The arcade has been the first home to some great puzzle classics with Tetris easily being the most popular of all of them (Tetris is considered by some to be the greatest game of all time) along with the 5 different variations of that title to appear in arcades over the years. Other great puzzle titles that have hit the scene include Qix, one of the earlier puzzle titles where the player drew lines on the screen to trap the enemy; Q*Bert could be considered a puzzle title with it’s tile-coloring gameplay; Solomon’s Key brought a difficult but fun puzzle experience to arcades that also proved a bit popular on the NES; KLAX a popular tile-stacking/eliminating game that also was so popular that it was ported to about every console under the sun; Columns, a Tetris-like game but with enough of a twist to make it stand out by itself; Puzznic plays like an early variation of Hexic but with many different playfields and obstacles involved with connecting blocks within the playfields via gravity ; Dr. Mario involved lining up colored pills in a certain pattern to eliminate them; Bust-A-Move which is a sort of unique variation on Columns; Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo combined a fighter along with a puzzle game; KLOV evens lists all of the Bomberman games as puzzle titles and that has proved to be a great classic in every venue; overall there have been some awesome puzzle games on the scene and I’d like to see more. Hit the link below to read the rest of this post on why I feel puzzle games are still viable on the scene as well as discuss where developers have had some cool ideas that aren’t limited solely to connecting blocks together.