He's friendly, he lives in your neighbourhood and he does whatever a spider can. Yes, it's The Punisher! No, of course not, it's Spider-Man. Everyone's favourite web-slinger has had a lot of videogames over the years, some excellent and some... not so much, but I was raised on the Spider-Man cartoon and any opportunity to swing around and make wisecracks is something I enjoy. So here are some of his sprites. You will notice I have made a concerted effort to remember to include the hyphen in his name, because his name is Spider-hyphen-Man. It's very, very important, and for every time I forget to include the hyphen I will jam a compass into my thigh as penance.

Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, 1992, Master System, B.I.T.S.

Spider-podge, Spider-podge. That's quite the gut he's got there. The little button nose makes him look like he'd fit right in on Sesame Street. A muppet version of Spider-Man would be pretty excellent, actually. And what's going on with his right arm? It's strangely bulbous, and he doesn't appear to have an elbow, giving him something of a Stretch Armstrong look. Still, he looks great compared to...

Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, 1992, NES, B.I.T.S.

... the same sprite from the NES version. That front-on view is just peculiar, making him look as though he has suction cups for feet. If suction-cup feet are redundant on anyone, it's Spider-Man. The side-on view isn't much better, with him still displaying very rubbery arms and a long, long torso.

Maximum Carnage, 1994, SNES, Software Creations

Maximum Carnage is the first Spider-Man game I really remember playing, partly due to the fact it was so hard I may have a had some kind of aneurysm. Maybe my rage has passed directly into the sprite, because Spider-Man looks pretty furious there. It's a good job Spidey has super-reflexes, because a normal human would never be able to stand upright on those tiny feet. Other than that, it's a fairly good sprite, even with his strangely prominent knees.

Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes, 1994, SNES, Epoch

Lethal Foes was only released in Japan, in case you were wondering why you've never heard of it. It's the best sprite so far, where some kind of effort has been expended in giving him a Spider-Man-esque pose. He also looks good when swinging from a thread:

Unfortunately, they do appear to have put his left hand on backwards.

Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge, 1993, MegaDrive, Software Creations

A slightly generic incarnation, looking a bit like he might be a bootleg toy of Spidey and not the real thing. At least there was an attempt to give the red bits of his costume a web pattern. At least I think that's what that is, he might be wearing his quilted velvet costume.

Separation Anxiety, 1995, SNES, Software Creations

¡El rey del cuadrilátero, Hombre de Araña! Yes, Spider-Man looks like a luchador, and that is awesome. It's the running-with-arms-raised pose that does it; I expect him to knock a goon over, run up a wall (because he can do that, being Spider-Man and all,) and moonsault onto him. His left arm is overlapping in a strange fashion there, making it look like his arm ends in a Spider-Stump.

Spider-Man the Animated Series, 1995, MegaDrive, Software Creations

Whoa there Spidey, been hitting the 'roids? Whatever you've been doing, it can't be healthy. You look like 300 kilos of sausagemeat stuffed into a pair of tights. Poor Spidey has taken a serious Leifelding there. And why so dark? It's kind of difficult to tell where Spider-Man ends and the background begins. No, I don't like this one. Whatever he is, he certainly isn't your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man; he's the menacing brute Spider-Man from the other side of town, the one that went to school with you but was a year or two ahead, and you'd always hear stories about how he punched a policeman or drove a scramble-bike into a pensioner's flat. And what kind of hero would that make you, Spidey?

Spider-Man, 1991, Arcade, Sega

Or Droopy-Man, as he is more commonly known. He reminds me of something, now what was it...?

Oh yes, that's right.

Marvel vs Capcom, 1998, Arcade, Capcom.

I've saved the best for last. How do you know it's the best? Because it's by Capcom, that's how. Looking at those thighs, I should be using him in a team with Chun-Li more often. He's probably the best-looking computerised verion of Spidey ever, and I'm including the CG one that swings around in the films. They really captured the look of the animated Spider-Man, while still giving him a slightly unique feel. That leaves only one question: will you be any good in Marvel vs Capcom 3, Spidey?
Well, you're a lot of help.

That's all for today, and I think I spelled Spider-Man right enough times for my thigh to remain un-stabbed. If you feel like it, check out these other sprite-based articles:

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