Once again, Earth faces certain annihilation, this time from an unnamed alien enemy who's wrapped the planet in a Restrictor Shield that's 99 layers deep. As a beamrider, your job is to get rid of that shield so you can get the girl and finish your homework before dinner.

Gameplay: Each sector is swarming with alien ships, and you'll have to destroy 15 of them before you attack a Sentinel ship and advance to the next sector. Your beamrider is equipped with unlimited short-range laser lariats, which are good for shooting alien ships, but can be blocked by craft that are helpfully called "blockers." You also have laser torpedoes that will destroy anything. However, you only have three torpedoes per sector, and you need at least one of them to destroy the Sentinel, so don't get all "I'm going to just shoot off my torpedoes right away because I can," or you'll be totally screwed. Oh, and Earth's last chance of survival will be lost as well. But, you know, as long as you had fun shooting off your torpedoes, we're happy to die down here under the Restrictor Shield, because it's all about you.


Could be mistaken for: Star Strike, Tempest, blasting womp rats from your T-16 in Beggar's Canyon back home

Kids today might not like it because: There are a lot of "beams," but there isn't all that much "riding."

Kids today might like it because: At long last, their dream of combining Tempest and Gorf has come to pass! Now they can focus on making a Pac-Man with five asses.


Enduring contribution to gaming history: Beamrider is one of the very few titles that was successfully ported from Colecovision to the 2600, losing almost nothing in the translation.

Wil Wheaton fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.