If there is one game from my childhood that stands out so far above the rest (and was actually the inspiration for this column at all) it’s Spacestation Pheta. Once, when I forgot the name of this game, I googled “guy gets keys for doors and goes doh” and somehow that found it! This one is a true classic, and I hope I’ll get to play it again one day.
The earliest version of Spacestation Pheta was released in 1988 (making it the same age as I am, no wonder there’s a connection!) for the Macintosh computer. The game is a multiscreen platformer, where you control a spaceman through the station. On each screen, you have to collect a key and then make it to the airlock. Of course, there are a few challenges thrown in to make that more exciting.
If the spaceman fell too far, he’d go splat (and make that “Doh!” sound I remember so clearly.) He also had limited oxygen and energy, so if you didn’t collect these items you wouldn’t make it through the level. The puzzle involved ladders, slides, falling blocks, cannons, and hidden surprises. Some levels even had multiple keys and airlocks you needed to reach in order to move on.
I really loved this game as a kid, and I think that was mostly because of the personality of the spaceman. Even with the crude graphics, the sound effects along with playing multiple levels with this guy, we bonded. I love how he says “Jump” whenever he does, and “Yeah” whenever he picks up an item. Another awesome part about this game was that you could make your own levels. I definitely remember Rosalind designing some nearly impossible puzzles for the rest of the family to solve.
The graphics are nothing exciting. The game exists in four colors, with very simple art and a stick figure main character. This game is old, and a more modern version of it was never made, making it difficult to get your hands on.
Can I Play?
The game still runs on older Macs, or with a classic emulator on OS X. T&T Software still sells the game for $9.95 for all 100 screens, of free if you just want a trial run of the first 10. There’s no official version for windows, and so far I haven’t found a Flash version or fan made reproduction you can play on your PC. Luckily, someone made a video walkthrough, so you can see how cool it is even if you can’t play.