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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Tech Deck

This weeks’ free game: Total Carnage!

Are you a gamer? Do you like free things? Of course you do!

We here at the Tech Deck are just like you: poor gamers looking for cheap entertainment. And nothing's cheaper than cost-free gaming. Each week, we'll bring you a title (or two or three) you can legally play at home without plopping down a single dollar. If you see games you think we should be featuring on the blog, email us at

Midway Games took the machismo behind 1980s action films and turned it up to 11 with "Total Carnage," a game that's a spiritual successor to the equally nutty "Smash TV." Taking control of either Captain Carnage (bunkmates, no doubt, with Cap'N Cruch) or Major Mayhem, players were tasked with taking down fictional Middle Eastern dictator General Akhboob.

Yes, the writing was a little less nuanced in 1991. 

The Internet Archive offers an in-browser emulation of the 1994 MS-DOS port of the game, which was also released in arcades, on the Super Nintendo and Amiga home console systems in the early 1990s. You can play it yourself by clicking on the link below!

Click here to play 'Total Carnage' for free in your browser!

The twin-stick shooter was first popularized by the 1982 arcade classic "Robotron: 2084," which tasked players with clearing screens of enemies while using one joystick to move and the other to continuously fire. Hence the name of the genre. "Smash TV" built on the idea by adding a crazy, violent game show backstory and putting two players on screen at once. "Total Carnage" uses scrolling screens, but the same basic power-up system that was evident in the previous title.

You'll notice the continued popularity of the twin-stick shooter in games like "The Binding of Isaac" and "Geometry Wars," which was itself a game hidden inside the car racing game "Project Gotham Racing 2." 

What's your favorite twin-stick shooter? What's your favorite Jean Claude Van Damme movie? Let us know in the comments below, and check back next time for another free game. 

Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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