Atari’s Space Lords: The “Best. Multiplayer. Game. Ever.” You’ve Never Played.

As far as 1992 and parts of 1993 go, other than what games I played in the slowly dwindling arcade scene in New York City’s Penn Station, I don’t recall too many other great things happening in my life. Atari’s now mostly forgotten Space Lords was and is the key game that stands out for me for a few reasons, the primary one being the game was pretty innovative and another great example of the company making strides in “social” gaming long before it became the far bigger thing it is these days. Granted, arcade gaming has always been social (duh), but Atari really nailed it with a game that would do a number of things perfectly that modern gamers take for granted as “innovations” on consoles and PC.

Like 1985’s mega-hit Gauntlet seven years before, Space Lords was a game where anyone could step up to a machine plunk in some change and play with other live players of any skill level. The big differences were the seven years worth of technical improvements that made this an even more thrilling game experience than Gauntlet ever was (in my opinion). Between the dynamic outer space setting, first-person viewpoint, rear gunner co-op play and addition of two multiplayer-centric modes along with the ability for up to eight people to play on linked machines, Atari basically blasted out of the gate with a stellar game that managed to be as good as (or even better than) some later (and more famous) PC games that kicked of the first-person shooter craze that still spits out multimillion selling franchise titles from Halo, Call of Duty, and medal of Honor (among others).

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