The Classic Video Game Awards
by Al Backiel

Since we are entering the awards season, I thought it might be nice to have honorary awards for video game achievements. I therefore submit a list for your approval as Rod Serling would say. For a time frame, I have selected games for the early systems. Those that existed prior to the Nintendo era. I have tried to pattern the award categories after the Oscar just to make things a little more interesting. In some cases I have stretched my interpretation just a tad. So here the without further ado are the nominees. May I have the envelope please?

1) Best Performance by an Actor - (Why not? An actor plays characters. A video game has characters. Therefore a video game character that is involved in action is an actor of sorts. Strange logic I know, but bear with me.

Mario for his role in Donkey Kong (2600/Coleco/INTV). Look at how far he's come since then.
Superman (2600) - One of the earliest attempts to provide a complete storyline for a character.
Pitfall Harry in Pitfall (2600) and Pitfall II (2600/5200)
Pac-Man (2600/5200)- A glutton for punishment.
Tarzan (Coleco) - He swings through the trees with the greatest of ease.

2) Best Performance by an Actress - (Why not also the distaff side?)

Ms. Pac-Man (2600/5200) - A better performance than the original Pac-Man
Lois Lane in Superman (2600) - Contact with Lois can even cure a Kryptonite overdose.
Anna Lee in Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures In The Park (Coleco)- She even does her own stunts.
The Babysitter in Halloween (2600) - This is a tough job. Brats and a homicidial maniac have to be dealt with.
Mother Kangaroo in Kangaroo (2600) - The quintessential protective parent.

3) Best Supporting Actor (The villain in a lot of movies. No different here).

The Mind Master in Escape From The Mind Master (2600) - Big Brother is watching..
The Zots in Tunnel Runner (2600) - You never know when you are going to run into them.
The FBI Agent in E.T. (2600) - This guy follows you around like a leech.
Wile E. Coyote in Road Runner (2600) - So many different attempts to try to catch you.

4) Best Supporting Actress (Usually a damsel in distress)

Smurfette in Rescue In Gargamel's Castle (2600) Who can forget the climactic love scene?.
Olive Oyl in Popeye (2600/5200/INTV/O2) - She pours her heart out to Popeye.
Molly in Spike (Vectrex)
The Sea Hag in Popeye (2600)

Best Video Game - Here is where I have to make an exception of awarding a single prize. It's unfair to match Coleco against Atari. Or Atari against Vectrex. It's like comparing apples and oranges. In this instance I am nominating games for each major system of that era.

5) Atari 2600
River Raid

6) Atari 5200
Miner 2049er
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
Rescue on Fractalus
Space Dungeon

7) Intellivision
B-17 Bomber
Dreadnaught Factor
Shark! Shark!

8) Colecovision
Donkey Kong
Pepper II

9) Vectrex
Fortress of Narzod
Web Wars

10) Odyssey2
Attack of the Timelord!
Killer Bees!
Quest For The Rings!

11) Best Music
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor from Gyruss (2600)
Louie, Louie from California Games (2600)
The James Bond Theme from James Bond:007 (2600)
The Star Wars Theme from Star Wars (2600)

12) Best Director - (Director in this sense being the programmer. Who directs the course of the action. Lays out the scenes.) This award could no longer be awarded today because programming a video game is now a team project.

David Crane for Pitfall, Decathlon, Pitfall II
Howard Scott Warshaw for E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Yar's Revenge
Steve Cartwright for Megamania, Frostbite, Seaquest
Robert Fulop for Demon Attack, Fathom, Cosmic Ark, Missile Command
Bob Polaro for Defender, Desert Falcon, Road Runner

Here are the nominations. It's now up to you to cast your ballot. Write your choices on the back of a postcard using the numbering above, or cut and paste this text and e-mail it to us. One choice per category. You may write-in any game of your own choice if you don't see it here. Send your ballot to Digital Press, 44 Hunter Pl., Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442.

Al Backiel is just one of those guys that can't get enough of video gaming. How well we can relate to that. His specialty is Atari 2600, and you can reach Al at

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Last updated Tuesday, February 13, 2007 06:01 PM