“Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”

Sure, these days you can flip-on your xBox and listen as Captain Price and “Soap” chatter away in MW3, but there was a time when voices in a video game (even of the robotic variety) were unheard of.

Then came Berzerk.

Created by Stern Electronics (of, yes, “Astro Invader” fame), Berzerk entered our consciousness in 1980. It was a deceptively simple game (humanoid battles robots, tries to avoid Evil Otto), but it gave us something no other video game (ever!) did. Voices.

Does “Coins detected in pocket!” sound familiar, arcade junkies?

You know it does. And if that didn’t get you to drop two bits into that coin slot… heck, what would?

Berzerk was an instant hit in the arcades, and then in August 1982, it took another giant step for video game-kind. You could now play Berzerk on your Atari home game console!

But all was not fun and games in Berzerk-world. The game has the dubious distinction of being the first to be blamed for the real-life death of not just one person, but two! In January 1981, teenager Jeff Dailey had a fatal heart attack after a particularly marathonic session of Berzerk, and then (not even two years later), Peter Burkowski met the same fate.

…so when we say we love Berzerk, it’s with a bit of a heavy heart. (And sorry to bring you all down.)

Jeff and Peter, this one’s for you.

We ♥ Berzerk.


~ by weheart80s on January 10, 2012.

One Response to “Berzerk”

  1. I thought I was such a hotshot on that game.
    If you were really slick, you could let the robots shoot you “through the neck” and you wouldn’t die. Or since your bullets were long, you could try and shoot to stop a robot bullet. Heady days indeed, but it never got me a date…

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