1979 Larry Rosenthal

Platform: Arcade

As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are gradually adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you.

The book contains a detailed 8 page full story about the unreleased 1979 arcade, Oops – talking to Larry Rosenthal and Dan Sunday about the development, and how it evolved over time. As there were no gameplay screenshots to show at the time, the piece features artist impressions of how the game could have looked.

Whilst creating the piece, Larry had found the board with his Oops game on and was trying to get it running by putting it into a spare Space War machine. He managed to get to the attract screen, but was not able to get it started. Here is the attract screen in action and the first time something of the game has been seen in around 41 years:

Shortly afterwards, the game stopped working and Larry has now passed on the board to a friend to take a look at. It’s hoped that more can be shown soon and the prototype fully preserved. As of late 2021, there was no progress update from Larry.

Jonathan Koolpe also kindly provided some photos of Larry at the California Extreme 2014 show, where he was showcasing his Space War prototype. We also include a scan of Larry and Dan working together at Vectorbeam, which was taken for an article in Vending Times, October 1978 (Scan courtesy of Keith Smith).

In October 2021, games researcher Ethan Johnson (@GameResearch_E) tweeted a great finding from New West, 1979-08-13 page 10 with a short article on the game, showing rare screenshots of the game running. The screenshots show the earliest incarnation of the game before it was modified to fix the syringe in the centre of the screen and have a ring of bricks around it (the element would later inspire the design of Star Castle). These scans have been added to the gallery below.

2 Responses to Oops!

  1. I played that game as a very feral 8 year old at Silverball Gardens. I have always remembered how blown away I was by its innovation. I have talked about it over all these years many times. I never thought at 53 I would come across this article or any mention of it. It was like a dream from another life time. I can’t wait to track down the rest of the story! if I remember right, you could pick any sperm and then direct that particular one to the center. It was genuinely revolutionary to my 8 year old self. I do think it was there before space invaders arrived but I can’t be quite sure. Thank you for the flood of memories of freedom and chaos that was Berkely and the pinball hall Silverball Gardens in the 70″s.

    • Hi Rachel, that is amazing! I’m really pleased that this gave back some great memories – and hopefully the screenshots and video have been nice to see too. We’re hopeful that Larry will some day get the game up and running again, and even preserved – so it might some day be playable.

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