One of (if not the) earliest arcade games to have its own TV commercial (featuring the seductive, if slightly self-defeating, slogan "The Atari game you cannot play at home!") Xevious was an impressive game to behold; even if the play mechanics were less than imaginative. That said, this was one of the first examples of the scrolling vertical shooter, and while a little sparse at times, the incredible clarity and conceptual insight helped inspire an entire generation of shmup games.
A continuous, rolling landscape passed underneath your ship as steady waves of enemy vehicles saunter past in a half-hearted attempt to destroy you with slow moving bullets. But that doesn’t explain why Xevious was a coin-guzzling arcade warhorse, though it does suggest the reason it’s not regularly lighting up the MAME charts. It might not be a particularly outstanding game to play, but to look at (especially in 1982) it was a thing of technological beauty.
Detailed and vivid graphics scrolled continuously without regularly breaking for level loading, creating a fluid and unremitting aerial escapade. But before gamers even saw this imposing techno-vista they were drawn to Xevious by its monolithic, ultramodern cabinet. Wrought from the kind of angular, futuristic design that placed gamers right inside the cockpit of the Xevious spacecraft, the dominating machine incorporated an equally ergonomic fit. The monitor lay almost horizontal, while the recessed controls slid accurately and surely into the gamer's kung fu grip.
While the positive aspects of Xevious might sound superficial and lots to the annals of history, this attention to detail and developer confidence in the end product was infectious, and the arcade was a richer place for machines like Xevious.