3-D Genesis

3-D Genesis
Company: Amiga
Model #:
Dan McElroy and Jerry Lawson (Videosoft)
Year: 1983
Port of unreleased 1983 arcade game by Design Lab


According to the manual that came with the reproduction sold a few years back, it is the far future and the planet has been overrun by enormous super insects (sounds like a bad 50’s B-movie).  However in an aversion to the standard plots of the time, you are not a lone hero out to save the world from these deadly insects.  Instead, you ARE one of those insects!  You goal is to destroy all the insects who are invading your crevice and win the battle for the planet.


You control a scorpion (technically scorpions are arachnids not insects, but we’ll cut the programmer some slack) who must move around the outside of a three dimensional cube shooting all the incoming spiders (once again, not an insect!).  If a spider reaches the edge of the cube it has a chance of knocking out a piece of it creating a hole, otherwise it will go back down to the center again.  If you accidentally touch a hole that a spider created or the spider itself you will lose a life.  After shooting specific number of spiders you will go to the next more difficult wave (eight in all). 


Speaking of the cube edge, you’ll undoubtedly notice a yellow bar that slowly moves around.  This is the ‘rail snail’ (also not an insect), and like most snails he’s deadly to the touch (well ok, not like most snails.  Cut me some slack here).   However every now and then the rail snail will decide to change direction (the snail will flash and emit a short sound when this happens).  If you happen to move over the snail during this brief time window you’ll not only gain 10 points, but increase the point multiplier, gain a onetime immunity from touching the snail, AND be able to repair one hole in the cube (simply touch it to fill it in).  Not a bad deal for running over a dimwitted mollusk.  However you’ve got to be quick because the time window for doing this is pretty short.


Other than being a pretty decent Tempest rip-off (admittedly with some new elements thrown in), the main draw of the game is the 3-D effect.  Attempting to play the game without the benefit of red/blue glasses is nearly impossible as the screen is constantly switching back and forth between red and blue frames that make up the 3-D perspective.  Even with the proper glasses, the 3-D effect is pretty bad as the 2600 just doesn’t have the resolution to do it properly.  Still, it would have been a decent gimmick at the time and probably sold pretty well given 3-D’s brief resurgence in popularity at the time.  The 3-D effect can be turned on and off with the Color/B&W switch, making the game playable by those without the special glasses. 

For the longest time it was assumed that 3-D Genesis was an original game designed by Videosoft.  However upon further investigation it was discovered that the 2600 version is actually a port of an unreleased arcade game by Design Labs.  No one really knows much about Design Labs or the arcade version of Genesis, but somehow Datasoft got the home computer rights and released ports for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, C-64, and the PC (which also went unreleased due to being incompatible with the PCjr).  It's unknown how Amiga got the game console rights, but the 2600 appears to be the only platform they targeted.

The history of 3-D Genesis is a bit confusing.  Originally planned to be a cassette based game for the Amiga Power Module it was then moved to the Power Play Arcade series of multicarts (see this page for more information).  3-D Genesis would have been teamed up with 3-D Ghost Attack and 3-D Havoc on Power Play Arcade cart #1 (5 carts were planned in total).  It’s unknown why Amiga decided to put three full games on one cart as any one of these games could have stood on their own, but it would have been a real deal for the penny conscious gamer.  Perhaps Amiga knew that the market was becoming cluttered and thought that offering several games on one cartridge was a way to stand out from the crowd (Xonox did something similar with their double enders).  Whatever the reason it was all for naught as the project was cancelled before getting out the door due to Amiga’s decision to stop with the games and focus on a little computer that they’d been developing instead...


Version Cart Text Description
Only known copy

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