Spider-Man's History Swinging Through Games

Image Credit: Emma Lambkin

John Murphy examines if Spider-Man is a threat and menace to gaming

Amazing, ultimate, superior… and many other adjectives to describe our favourite wall-crawling, web-slinging hero. A healthy and hearty staple for Marvel in movies and comic form over the last sixty years and was even Stan Lee’s favourite character but today let’s discuss the video games side of this awesome arachnid.

getting to slap Ryu with Peter was really satisfying

Now our good pal Spidey, has seen many incarnations in the landscape of video games, zipping all the way back to the 80’s where he started off on the Atari. He then went on to appear in a lot of them, most we won’t cover aside from a few special mentions. Skipping to the more interesting 90’s we saw the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise take off and getting to slap Ryu with Peter was really satisfying. In 1991, we got the Spider-Man arcade machine and this is still a fan favourite to this day [Little secret: you can play this in Token right now in Smithfield if you hurry after reading this article] and could accommodate four friends playing together, it’s great.

In the early 2000’s I played the last best Spider-Man games on the PS1, while the sequel Enter Electro didn’t get higher reviews than the first, however I still feel it introduced many mechanics which improved upon the original, including more costumes. After that my availability for gaming sort of “Petered” out… If you don’t like puns, you don’t like Spidey. Anyway, this meant I missed some of the later games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance, another beat-em-up, and the movie tie-in games which were received favourably. I did get back into the Spider-Verse in 2013 for Lego Marvel Super Heroes, it’s not a main entry but it is incredibly fun and they got Spidey playing well and feeling good.

There were a few more games over the years from Gameboy Colour to the PC but none really stood out until 2018 when Insomniac blew our minds with a surprise entry in the series. Within the opening cinematic everything feels right. Peter is late for something as he always is, forgetting his gadgets and breakfast but proceeds to jump out the window into this seamless transition where you are now in control. This took my breath away and I had to pause to process how fluid it was. My PS4 has far too many videos and screenshots thanks to the damn perfect photo mode in the game as well. They got even better and created Miles Morales too, play these now, forget your degree.

A final mention should be that Spider-Man is now in Fortnite… I know, I hate it too but I want that costume so bad, I am a sucker for Spider-Man and his many get-ups. I look forward to what Insomniac can bring us in the future though as they got the Spidermonkey done right. They got the power; they got the responsibility. Or something like that.