Its just like those handheld LCD football games, except the gameplay isn't as deep!
Barrier unofficially holds the title of "The worst vector arcade game ever". This 1978 Vectorbeam release was programmed by 17 year old Rob Patton so he could learn the Cinematronics vector hardware. Cinematronics proceeded to sell this "practice game" to Vectorbeam, who actually released it.
The basic idea behind Barrier is that you have to move your little marker to the end of a grid, while avoiding the other markers. Actually that is the only idea. The game is played on a 3x9 grid that is displayed at angle to make it appear to be in 3-D. You move your little triangle around on the grid by using 4 pushbuttons, while attempting to avoid the little diamonds that are also moving around on the grid. Reaching the end of the grid teleports you back to the front of the grid. That is it. There may have been some sort of scoring involved, but I couldn't force myself to play this game long enough to score any points.
Barrier ran on the Cinematronics hardware platform, which also ran such games as Warrior, Speed Freak, and Starhawk. It used a huge X-Y monitor that was almost entirely covered with a monitor bezel that only allowed the small triangular playfield to show through. Around 70 percent of the monitor's total area was hidden from the player. The monitor was too large for the cabinet, it actually poked out through a notch in the back door.
The control panel featured a start button and four directional buttons, even though this title would have been better with a 4-Way joystick. The sideart shows a picture of a blue wizard who has the playfield of the game as his body, and the same wizard is repeated on the monitor bezel that blocks out most of the screen.
This game used the same cabinet as Speed Freak, which means it had a metal marquee that did not light up. The marquee graphics were also repeated directly below the control panel, just in case you didn't see them on top of the machine.
Where to play?
There is no real reason to ever play this game, but if you simply have to play it, then it is supported by 3 emulators; MAME, CINEMU, and Retrocade.
Real Barrier machines are very hard to come by, and are extrememly expensive. What? You want to know why a game that is so bad costs over $1000? Some arcade game collectors don't actually play their games, they just sit around polishing their "rare" vectors. Just about every existing Barrier machine is in the hands of one of these guys, right next to their Quantum, Sundance, and dedicated Major Havoc machines.