Greetings gamers! This month I have a
pair of interesting commercials, but first, a pop quiz.
TRUE OR FALSE: You can only play Atari 2600 games on an Atari 2600.
Believe it or not, the answer is FALSE. In 1982, the 2600 ruling the
industry, with the Intellivision and Colecovision close behind.
Realizing that Atari games are always going to be popular, Coleco and
Mattel decided to try and convince gamers to
buy their respective systems by saying that their platforms can play
2600 games as well. How, you may ask? By introducing adapters
to allow players to use 2600 software on the INTV and Coleco. Mattel had
the System Changer, and Coleco has the Expansion Module #1. Interesting
thing about these ads is that they feature lots of Atari boxes, and the
INTV spot has screenshot fo Atari games. Wonder what the folks at a
certain gaming company though about these.
Both these ads are not available online, but will be on the CD (see
Intellivision II (System Changer)
Up first is an ad for the Intellivision II, featuring their
adapter. Here we find a kid wearing goggles as he zooms down a hallway
filled with Atari games. This ad is more aggressive than the Coleco spot
since it claims to play more games than the Atari or Colecovision. Plus
unlike the Colecovision ad, it actually shows screenshots
of 2600 games.
"Finding the best video game system is a tough game to win. Who plays
the most games? The best-selling games? Intellivision II! Add the new
System Changer and play all Atari 2600 games. The most games. The
best-selling games, like Q*Bert, Enduro, Burgertime. Intellivision II
has the most going for it. More games than Atari or Coleco. Over 430
games. Get Intellivision II. It's got the most going for it."
Where do I get goggles like that?
Look at all the boxes. Must be an Atari ad.
WHAT?! This isn't Atari?!
We're now flying into some Atari game screens.
OH! THE IRONY!
Colecovision (Expansion Module)
Our next ad is a commercial for the Colecovision that said
that their system played the most games with the Expansion Module 1.
They originally had planned a series of expansion modules for the
Colecovision, and decided the first would bring 2600 games to their
system. They also proclaimed to play the most games ever.
"This is the arcade experience on your Colecovision, and we bring the
arcade experience home. With arcade graphics like Donkey Kong with
multiple screens, just like the arcade game. Arcade controls, and
Colecovision is an expandable system. Plug in the first Expansion Module
and play all Atari VCS compatible cartridges. More arcade games than any
other video system. Now, bring the arcade experience home because YOUR
VISION IS OUR VISION. COLECOVISION!"
Again this is NOT an Atari ad.
From out of the screen into your living room.
Watch out for that laser, dude.
The magic box that makes it happen.
More Atari boxes in an non-Atari ad.
Were either of these modules successful? Hard to say, but my guess is
that many players just bought Atari's and
forgot about the two systems. Can't win for trying, huh?
Now for more information on the upcoming Commercial Vault CD. All I can
say right now is all the ads will be simple MPEGs, so they should play
on almost any computer without any special players or drivers. The
target date for completion is the end of this year, but maybe it'll be
finished sooner than that. Any comments, questions, and especially
submissions can be directed at
Hal_3000@rocketmail.com. Until next time, keep gaming.
Once again it’s racing month (Indy
500), and although I’m not a racing fan, I
love racing video games. Here’s yet another 20th Anniversary edition of
the Many Faces, as we salute the 1983 home game "PitStop", and
its awesome sequel "PitStop II". The name
says it all here. "PitStop" represents a milestone, being the first multi-platform racing game to add the "pit"
element. This combines action, reflexes, strategy and racing
together as never seen before. You can drive
your best, but still must rely on your pit
crew to take you all the way to victory road. You can’t just watch the
road, other cars, and your tires, you need to check that fuel
gauge, lap counter and map to figure out if
you can make another lap before you must pit.
Don’t run out of gas, blow out a worn tire, or crash into any other cars along the way.
Home Version Similarities: Except those in <>: all home versions have:
gameplay choices of 1 to 4 (non-simultaneous) drivers; a race of
3, 6 or 9 laps; at a skill level of either
"Rookie", Semi-Pro" or "Pro"; your choice of a
single race, a mini circuit, or the Grand Circuit. The 6 world famous
race tracks are: Monaco, Le-Mans, Kyalami, Albi, Jarama & St.
Jovite. Each track has directional billboards
& trees as scenery. On-screen are your car
and the computer driven cars; an overhead map of the track; number
of laps completed; the time elapsed; speedometer; start/finish
line; and your present location (flashes). Your racer has: a different appearance
than the others; primarily that each of the 4 tires has
individual signs of wear (colors change) and
must be replaced before blowing; a fuel tank
gauge, which if the fuel is overfilled resets to zero. The pit area is
located just before the finish line showing up as an extra lane
on the track. In the pit area, there is a
view of the raceway, where you will see & hear
the roar of other cars zoom by; your 3 member pit crew; 1 changes tires (1 @ a time – to & from the new tire stack), 1 refuels, & 1 waves
and flag when clear to return to the race.
Not shown during the race or after is the
skill level chosen. Each racer’s elapsed time, place of finish and
purse (money won) are shown as well as the cumulative circuit
standings (ranked by money won). Every race you win earns $50k for 1st place and
$25k,$15k & $10k for the next 3 finishers), plus $1k for each lap
completed. The money & place only mean anything if there is more
than one racer. The computer drivers do not
factor in, just the humans can place and earn
money. Ultimately, you should track your times to beat - on
Controls are: push the fire button or forward to accelerate or maintain
top speed; steering is left or right; pull
back to brake; do nothing to slow down.
Having 5 sets of controls and one that is repeated (accelerate) is
perfect. You can switch between fire button and forward to rest
Unfortunately the roadway physics, hereafter called physics, are not up
to par in "PitStop" as you can maintain the
top speed around every turn. The G forces
even in a hairpin do not throw you or slow you down. Thus in all
3 versions the challenge is not on the track(s), but only the
traffic. This violates, what I would call the
first law or requirement of racing games.
"Maximum speed all the time" makes unique race tracks worthless.
Oh yes - the zeroeth law is to race versus opponents. There’s no
pause during the pit or race, but you have an unlimited break between each
race in the circuit races. Press the button
The Many Faces of...PitStop
Home versions: All by Epyx in 1983
Commodore 64 (Jamie Faye Fenton), Atari 8 bit (?), Colecovision (?)
Sequel: Pit Stop II – see below.
Silver Medal: Commodore 64
My first reaction was that back
in the day, I forgot this title once the
sequel came out. The Gameplay is impressive (8) but the other drivers
do not swerve (violating what I’d call the
second law or racing games) and should be a
little more plentiful. Your speed change is
unrealistically small when you bump into other cars. The Addictiveness
is good enough (6) to bring you back to try
all of the race combinations - each of them is
a unique racing experience. Planning the right pit
strategy for 9 laps over all 6 courses of the Grand Circuit is
pretty cool - especially when your opponent
(s) has to endure the same challenge. The
Graphics are sharp (8) and seem to be the most smoothly flowing.
The Sound is very good (7) on all versions -
with adequate effects, but not much music.
Controls are perfect (10). Fairly common on cart and disk. The
diskette version was later distributed by Eurogold and I’ve seen
mention from CBS Europe as well.
Silver Medal: Atari 8 bit
A tie for the Silver. My first
reaction was that the crowd noise at the end
of each race was pretty cool, so why didn’t the others 2 versions add
that. The Gameplay is impressive (8) and all other scores match
the C64. 1 problem that’s worse here is that
the driving speed sound, & slowing down & speeding up is way out of sync - or something. Perhaps ignore what
you hear. The Addictiveness is good enough
(6). The Graphics are crisp (8) & the most
realistic, but the pale tire colors will take quite some time to
learn and quickly assess the damage. The Sound is very good (7)
- added crowd cheers, but no music. The Controls are perfect (10). Available
on disk and cart.
Gold Medal: Colecovision
My first reaction - Did the
crash prevent us from seeing a CV "PitStop
II"? The Gameplay is superb (9), with better physics, more aggressive
computer drivers & the bumping really slows you down. The
Addictiveness is very good (7), scoring better
with more realistic drivers and greater
difficulty. The roadway is a bit narrower & the computer drivers are
actually aggressive & more plentiful. Sometimes harder does not
mean better - but after all, what’s the point
of the PitStop if the race is too easy? Trade off: Driving slower/safer, or like use the pit & be a
dare-devil. The use of the CV driving controller also doesn’t
hurt to give you that extra replay or thrill.
The Graphics are impressive (8), probably the
best - with multiple colored computer cars. The tire colors, although
a bit loud & unrealistic , makes them the easiest to determine
wear. The Sound is very good (7). The
Controls score a perfect (10), since there is
no pause, you can choose any controller. This cart is a little hard to find, but well worth it for CV fans.
My own screen shot showing the C64 split screens on "PitStop II".
The Many Faces of...PitStop II
Ladies and Gentlemen! Start your
engines! That’s right, the ladies are invited
to drive/play here as well - and some of them will finish in the
money. With yet another racing simulation milestone, "PitStop
II" brings us a split screen for simultaneous
two player racing. Each half of the screen is
for one player, or the average computer driver. View your race
and theirs at the same time. See their map (location), tire
condition, fuel, speed etc. The sequel
combined all the elements from the original
"PitStop", & adds Head-To-Head (H-T-H) racing - which blew away all
racing games that ever came before. H-T-H
means nasty tricks like braking hard in front of the other guy &
the ultimate - shoving ‘em into the pit!!!
This was especially fun when they did not know
it was coming or even possible. "PitStop II" also brings us
much better roadway physics, better graphics with a scrolling
horizon (mountains); a speedometer number; a
turbo boost in speed; & real computer racers.
Regardless if you have a human opponent, 8 professional computer
drivers compete for the victory points earned in each race.
Every driver’s time & points are tracked for
each race & cumulatively for the Grand
Circuit. With the same choice of 3, 6, or 9 lap races & 6 new race
tracks, plus the Grand Circuit, amounts to 21
very unique racing experiences, all which can
be tried & conquered with the difficulty set to "Rookie", then
"Semi-Pro" and finally "Pro". A huge amount of replay value
indeed! Playing both with & without a human opponent, over the gamut of possible
races would yield an amazing 126 combinations. Take that "Space
OK, so who are your opponents? On the C64 there’s Diedra Dipstick, Tina
Turbo, Sheila Strut, Penelope Pitstop, Earl Sump, Terrence
Tierod, Raymond Rollbar and Lamont Lugnut.
The Atari & Apple II share the same set of 8
drivers: Ralph Racer, Willie Wheels, Austin Healey, Tires Malone, Earl Slick, Stockton Karr, Pattie Waggon and Otto Mobile. We also have a
combined total of 7 new race tracks this time. The Atari & C64
have 6 tracks, 4 of them in common are "Brands
Hatch", "Hockenheim", "Sebring", and "Watkins
Glen". The C64 also has "Roven Les Essart" & "Vallelunga". The Atari also has "Fuji" & a repeat - "Kyalami" The Apple II version
has 3 nameless tracks – oh for shame.
The Turbo Boost, as mentioned above, adds yet another new element of
racing strategy - going above the top rated
speed, but at the cost of consuming even more
fuel. By pressing both the fire button & forward at the same
time, you could see and hear yourself race even faster. The
computer racers already know the track & how
much and when to boost and refuel - it’s up to
you to learn as well.
Other Similarities: Except those in <>: in all 3 versions have:
improved physics <AP II>; full speed cannot be
maintained around all curves <Atari>; no more
really slow computer cars <AP II>; a pause could be used at any
time <C64>; while in the pit, there’s no longer any cars seen or
heard driving by; the computer racers will change lanes <Atari>; you could pit
immediately and thus practice your pit skills <Atari, AP II>; the
3rd pit crew member with the flag was removed
– simply click on the driver to drive away <AP
II>; the speeding up & slowing down process was much smoother,
gradual <Atari, AP II>; and finally your name can be typed in for
each race. The victory points, earned from
first place through seventh are 9,6,4,3,2,1,0
. . . Not shown during the race is your name or the number
of laps in the race or skill level chosen, but these can be
deduced from looking at the race results. This
marks the first game review that is only on
diskette, unfortunately no version of "PitStop II" was made on cart.
Home versions: PitStop II - all by Epyx in 1984 unless noted
Commodore 64, (Dennis Caswell & Stephen Landrum), Atari 8 bit (by
Synergistic/Epyx, James McBride, Tom Warner & Lloyd Ollmann Jr.), Apple
II (Robert Clardy, Ivan Manly & D. Stinnett)
Rumor mill: A CoCo site once listed this on disk by Epyx 1985, but the
site is N/A.
Bronze Medal: Apple II
My first reaction was that Apple
II owners got cheated - even with well-known
programmers here. The Gameplay is respectable (6), but even
worse than "PitStop"; the track & curvature is almost meaningless
as the physics do not apply to what we see on
the roadway. There are only 3 race tracks & no turbo boost. The velocity changes are unrealistic & hard to
visualize & understand. For lack of a better description, the
controls work in pseudo analog. Each press in
a direction steps you up a notch faster in
speed or curving. There are 3 to 6 levels for each direction Forward,
back, Left and Right. There is no extra lane for the pit,
rather, press "P" when you see one of the two
"P" signs & you enter. The pit functions much
like the original, with 4 crew members. 1 fuel, 1 tire man above, 1
below and 1 flag man.
The Addictiveness is respectable (6) but the increased skill (swerving)
of the other drivers & lack of physics in
knowing which way you car will swerve make
this very frustrating experience. There is no continuity, just
keep pressing buttons to speed up and slow down, left or right
without some reason why in advance other than
if you do hit another car - you crash and
burn. You can apparently get tire wear and crash from doing nothing at
all - that I could tell. The Graphics are OK
(6) and the flow and scrolling are not too
bad. But the car detail is horrible and tiny, & all the cars
look alike. The map and tire wear indicator are too small & hard
to see. The tire wear indicator is a separate,
small window. The Sound is feeble (4) and
this ultimately ruins this game. You have noises & effects in the pit and as your speed changes, but you are clue-less as to what is going
on with the audio. The Controls are nice (8),
but I am probably being too generous. For use
only during the one player game, you can use the
joystick, which doesn’t seem to cut it. But for two players use
these keys: driver 1. [L, R, accelerate (or
up), brake (or down), and select (in pit)] are
["K", "L", ":", "." and "O"]. For driver 2 they are "A","S",
"D", "X", and I think - "W".
Silver Medal: Atari 8 bit
My first reaction is cacophony!
The sounds are like noise and even more
annoying with 2 racing. It’s hard to tell if that groan you heard was
tire damage or not. A groaning (tire damage?)
sound gets cut out (overridden) when you use
the turbo boost. This factored in with bad collision
detection make it difficult to determine what is causing tire
damage. [Warning, the entire set of pixels or
car sprites, both visible and invisible pixels
will result in a collide with other cars – so guess where
your boundaries are and stay clear.] The Gameplay is impressive
(8), but still suffers from the bad physics –
such as you can race full speed around any
hairpin. Of course, there may be tire damage occurring, but hard to
hear or see if it is the case or not. The car’s left/right
movement is sluggish & you cannot get the
"feel" of the road. The computer drivers
don’t change lanes & there are too few of them, especially on "Rookie".
Changes in speed are unrealistic & not much transition,
especially the jump in speed when toggling the turbo boost - all or nothing instantly. The
Addictiveness is fantastic (9) and the pause is toggled by the
<space bar> and nearly all the control keys as
well – very nice. Besides the above mentioned
problems, the Graphics are wonderful (9), nearly as good as Atari
"Pole Position", but with split screen. The Sound is awful at
times, but good enough (6) to tolerate.
Controls are perfect (10) with 2 Atari
joysticks in control. With a lot more programming effort, the Atari version should have made a closer run for the gold.
Commodore 64 (47)
My first reaction -
Awesome! All games I had at that time got put on hold
indefinitely. Everyone on my dorm floor wanted to see & play
THIS game. Although the enhanced game play
options were enjoyed, the most desirable
element was the H-T-H racing. Just beat the other human & ram him off
the road if you could. No peaceful
cooperation on the road here – but instead
possibly the world’s first cyberspace road rage. The Gameplay is a work
of art (10). No holes were barred in this
very realistic simulation. You can even
practice your pit crew skills, by pulling into the pit at the start of the race – no need to wait to complete a lap. The Addictiveness is
sensational (9) only missing a "10" due to no pause feature,
other than the pause between each race. The
challenge and replay value is incredible. Easy
to learn, but requires both a marathon for the 9 lap Grand Circuit and
white knuckle driving to master. The Graphics are top notch (10)
with smooth flowing action, realistic color in
every detail. A small block of each of your
tires has some color to very clearly indicate the tire wear. Unlike the Atari, the lap counter correctly says "laps 0" when it means
zero laps have been completed. The Sound is crisp (8) with great
clarity and effects. Unlike the Atari, the
engines sing together in beautiful harmony.
You can tell with your eyes closed that your opponent has slowed a bit & then hear them accelerate back to full speed. The Controls are
perfect (10) with 2 Atari style controllers. The diskette
version was distributed by Epyx, then US
Gold. A must have title to your collection.
Add a little more music, push it a notch with some speech synthesis
(like arcade "Pole Position") and give it a
pause and I’d be hard-pressed to not give this
baby a perfect score.
Come back next time for another 20th Anniversary tribute to 1983, with
another "game & sequel" special with the Many Faces of "Jumpman"
& "Jumpman Jr." for the same set of computers
as this month. Atari 8 bit & C64 on both
versions, and the Apple II for "Jumpman" & CV in the sequel. Alan Hewston is can be contacted at:
I was reading
through the Forums over at Digital Press (www.digitpress.com)
when I came across this link (http://www.ukresistance.co.uk/)
(WARNING: Some foul language on this site).
It got me thinking.
Except for a small
number of hard-core, retrogaming fans (like many readers of this site),
who really thinks about, cares about or even likes old games?
Otherwise, none of these would ever sell.
These are found at
some of the game chain stores. The description, from Gamestop’s website
Atari 10-In-1 TV Games, is a plug and play 8-bit gaming system that
contains 10 classic and beloved Atari videogames in one Atari 2600
authentic joystick replica. Ten great games in one small controller!
collections like this would not have a
market either. So there is a market for retrogames out there.
(Side note: Why is
it that the same darn 4 or 5 games keep getting released on some of
these classic collection ? Don’t we already have like 16 different
versions of Pole Position, Dig Dig, et al ? And why only release 4 or 5
on a single disk ? We already know that the entire Atari 2600 collection
complete with an emulator and interviews and background material could
fit on a single DVD along with the widescreen version of Joysticks. Stop
jerking us around and give us some meat when you release these things.
The Activision Anthology is a great start.)
Are the games better
then than they are now?
Face it. There is
definitely some crappy games being made today. And for certain, some of
the best games of the past are better than some of the dregs of today.
But if you take the best of today and compare it to the best of
yesterday in presentation, depth and value, generally speaking, today
I offer the premise
that, while they use the same basic components as the past (CPU, input
device, monitor, etc.), today’s games are not the same as yesteryear’s
(“And now more from
The experience you
get from today’s game and the value for your dollar that is required to
be successful in today’s marketplace requires games to be different.
Player’s expectations concerning graphics, sound and overall story are
much higher. Today’s players will not tolerate a game that does not give
them a substantial “return” for their $50.
Have you played
Kingdom Hearts ? Beautiful game. But it takes almost 40 minutes of
training to even start the game ! Most action/adventure games have to
take the time to orient you to their world and their control scheme. You
cannot, with most games today, just pick up the game and play.
That is great, if
and when you have the time to devote to playing a game for 2 hours.
But the games of
yesterday offer something different.
The simple pleasure
of plugging it in, turning it on and playing, all with in 60 seconds.
With 1 or 2 buttons, you don’t even have to read the manual. Just move
and shoot. (Or just shoot. Or just move. (there weren’t a lot of choice
in the old days …)
You could play as
long as your skill would keep you alive, or as long as you felt like it.
There was no “end” of the game. No goal (except a higher score). The
game could be different each time you played it, not a just a scripted
series of enemy encounters. You could develop a strategy.
Older games are like
eating a candy bar or grabbing a bag of chips when you’re a little
hungry rather than cooking a four-course meal. A quick fix of what you
are hankerin’ for without having to invest a lot of effort.
Retrogames are just
like any other “retro” items (cars, music, movies, etc.) You either
appreciate them for what they are or you just don’t get it.
Fred has been
playing games for over 25 years and actively collecting them for 15. The
2500 + games that he has takes up most of his home office and game room.
He lives in Denver, PA with his understanding wife Jennie, his 7
year-old, Smash Brothers Melee-playing son, Max and his 3 year-old, 4th
player, Lynzie. This will be Fred’s last article for a while. Fred will
be spending the next several months on hiatus, trying to get his game
collection organized. He can be contacted at
Welcome back. This
month's edition of SD7800 is a salute to one of the best third party
companies ever, Activision. For over 10 years
Activision has been a staunch supporters of
the Atari machines, releasing many great original titles. Even into the
late 80s Activision continued to release games
for the 2600, and produced a pair of arcade conversions for the 7800,
Double Dragon and Rampage, which are reviewed this month.
It's no secret that both games were monster hits in the arcade, and were
both candidates for the home systems. The interesting thing is both
games were released on all three major 8-bit systems: the Nintendo
Entertainment System, the Sega Master System, and the 7800, as well as
the 2600jr. However Activision, again known for great original games,
did terrible arcade ports on the 2600, and Double Dragon and Rampage
were no exceptions. The 7800 versions, on the other hands, were MUCH
better than their 2600 brothers, but they still had to compete with the
NES. Are they in the same league? Let's find out.
Everybody's familiar with this
famous game that started the street-fighting
genre. You play Billy Lee, who along with
brother Jimmy, is out to rescue his girl from the Black Shadow Warriors.
It's four missions of street fighting action as you and a friend take on
an army of thugs. You have a limited amount of time and energy to get
through each level. Your main weapons are your fists and a selection
of special moves, including jump kicks, uppercuts, head-butts,
and others. You can also find weapons along the way and use them against
I really wanted to give this game high marks, seeing how much better
this game is than the 2600 port, but Activision dropped the ball on this
one. The graphics look like the arcade
featuring all four arcade levels, and the sprites, though blocky, do
look more like people than the 2600. Plus unlike the NES version, this
has the two-player simultaneous action that made the game famous.
However, this game is not fun to play for one reason: it is extremely
difficult. Enemies seem to take forever to kill, while they have no
trouble finishing you off. It's tough to even get past the first
mission. The game does use both buttons for the attacks, but the special
moves are hard to use, and the enemies seem to swat you out of the sky
anytime you try a jumping attack. The biggest thing is there's no extra
lives; you lose all your men and that's it. Sorry, folks; looks like
Nintendo and Sega win out on this one.
This famed title was obviously
inspired by all those monster movies of yesteryear. Several humans have
been transformed into monsters, and they immediately go on a rampage.
The best part is you get to play as the monsters. One or two players can
smash their way through over 80 cities, and the object is simple:
destroy all the buildings to move on. You can choose from George the
ape, Lizzie the lizard, or Ralph the wolf (who
is NOT in the NES version), even though there's no real difference.
However, you'll meet resistant from he citizens of each city, in the
form of tanks, helicopters, and soldiers shooting machine guns. Your
monster can recover lost energy by eating the people in each building,
but gulping down the wrong thing can hurt you. If you lose all your
energy, you'll revert back to normal.
Just like Double Dragon above, Rampage is a
HUGE improvement over the 2600 game, in terms of just about everything.
The graphics are very good, with good background and cool animation for
the characters. The sounds have a great
opening tune and good sound effects. The controls use the two button
setup well and are a welcome change from the 2600 one button setup. The
only minus I have with the game, as well as all the other versions, is
that there's no end. If you lose all you energy, you can hit one of the
buttons and boom you're back up for more action. Plus leveling city
after city does get monotonous after a while Other than that this is a
great arcade port, one of the few good ones from Activision.
Well, that's one plus and minus, but overall it seems Activision
had lost their magic in the late 80s, and it's a shame that such a great
company became a shadow of itself.
And now I close with an interesting letter found in an old issue of
If only the rest of the industry felt the same way.
One of the great
stories in video game history is how Toru Iwatani was
eating a pizza and looked down and saw the character of Pacman (pizza
had one slice missing). This created the character who went on to
become the first big star of video games and still a well known and
enduring character to this day. But what if Toru Iwatani was eating
something different at the moment when inspiration struck him? How
different could have the character been? So with this in mind, here is
my personal take on how some different foods could have changed the
character of Pacman.
#1 - A Plate of Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Imagine a Pacman in reverse (what would conceivably be Crush
Roller). Your main would be named Noodle Man and have two meatballs for
eyes. The maze would be a large white linen and you would have to smear
your red sauce over it to finish the level. The ghosts could be
replaced by sponges or other cleaning items that try to stop the mess.
#2 - Turkey Dinner - Make the lead
character a scared turkey who runs through the maze eating corn that has
been dropped. He is being chased by four pilgrims who are trying to
make him into Thanksgiving dinner. The powerpills would transform him
into a powerful eagle who could then swoop down and take out the
pilgrims. The fruit could be replaced by side dishes like stuffing,
rolls and yams.
#3 - Hot Dog - You must run around
the park as hungry dogs chase you around. You pick up packets of
condiments as they chase. Grab a powerpill and transform into a Dog
Catcher and grab those puppies (don't ask the logic, it is the Chocolate
Since I did an
article on Pacman, it is only fitting to have a site dedicated to the
game. So with that in mind, here is the sites of the month!
For anyone who does not know,
Puckman was the original name for Pacman (puck shaped). But Namco
feared what vandals would do with that name, so they changed it to
Pacman. Here is a site that has a ton and I do mean a ton of
information about the biggest selling arcade game ever.
This is one of many sites that
offer Java Applets of classic arcade games, including Pacman. Nice way
to have some fun and it is free! Enjoy!
Digging through the
mailbag, I find so many letters that I cannot answer. Someone somewhere
must have told the masses that I can find any game for anyone. I get
emails every day from people wanting this rare game or that rare game.
I get asked where they can find games for every system from Atari to
X-Box. Sorry, but I do not have the time to search all over the net for
games for people. Maybe someone wants to offer a pay service that
searches and finds the lowest price for any game for a small fee.
Sounds like a winning idea. I can send you a ton of business.
What is the strongest weapon that a classic video game character had?
There is something
out there that causes such thoughts. It may be a combination of junk
food with sleep depravation, I do not know but I know that I have been
personally afflicted with it and from the letters I get, I see many
others also have. As far as what weapon is the most powerful, my choice
goes to Mr. Do's exploding ball. Long range and deadly results.
Why is it that so many gamers want complete games? Do you really need
the instructions to play most games? I thought the boxes were supposed
to thrown out? What is up with this?
One thing I will
never understand is how people will justify being anal for a hobby of
theirs, from putting a protective sleeve over a Beanie Baby tag to
keeping action figures in their packages, unopened and that is fine.
But when a hobby like collecting video games has people willing to pay
big money for a box or manual of a rare game, they do not get it. To
answer your question, people want the item to be as close to what it
would have been off the store shelf. It isn't so much that they need
the manual or the box, but it makes the item complete and a boxed game
just looks so much nicer than a loose cart. The boxes sometimes had
nice artwork as did the manuals (especially the Activision ones).
Is it true that eating the old gum that comes in a pack of Pacman or
Donkey Kong cards could kill you?
While the gum is
usually hard enough that you could turn it into a knife and do damage
that way, you will not die from eating it. You will end up with a
terrible taste in your mouth and may get a whopper of a belly ache, but
you should be fine (at least physically).
For any gamer
growing up during the 1980's, one thing that will be etched into your
memory is the arcade. If there is one segment of gaming that truly
excelled in the golden age of video games, it was the arcade. The
variety was staggering, the hits were continuous and the amount of
gameplay you could get for a quarter was amazing. While the home
consoles of today can run rampant over their predecessors, the arcades
of yesterday can surpass today's.
Walk into an arcade
today and you see a handful of genres done over and over. There are
fighting games, gun games, driving games and a few others and that is
about it. But back in the day you had all kinds of games. From a ton
of maze games and space shooters to unique games like Zookeeper, Tapper
as Jungle King. There were duels in Joust and blasting bugs in
Centipede. The hopping of Q*Bert to racing in Pole Position. Who can
forget Burgertime, Crazy Climber, Tron or Defender? it was a glorious
time with so many great games that one wished for a much bigger
allowance (I was lucky enough to have a paper route to pay for my arcade
But as I walk
around a new arcade, I always find myself thinking about those glory
days (cue in the Bruce Springsteen song). The whole experience was
fresh and the developers really tried to create new and different
experiences. Sure there were clones, but for even they offered some
different experiences. Pacman spawned many more maze games that offered
different experiences. From Ladybug to Mousetrap to Crush Roller, the
games were different enough to capture our money. The experience was
unique enough to get us to return.
So as I frequent
the small handful of arcades that can still be found (mostly at
amusement parks), I shed a tear for a time that is gone. I miss the
excitement that a new game would bring. I miss the enjoyment that I
could get for so little money. But most of all, I miss the fun. It was
a hangout, an experience and an integral part of my childhood. Too bad
that my kids cannot experience what I did as the arcades of today are
just shells of what they used to be.
If you enjoy videogames (and if you're
reading this you certainly should!), then
you'll want to mark your calendar for July 26th if you're
in or near Texas. The first annual Austin Gaming Expo has been
announced, to take place at the Marriott Austin North from 10am through
8pm. Featuring vendors with a wide variety of gaming merchandise
to play and buy, arcade games, new game
releases for classic game consoles,
tournaments, door prizes, and more, there's something for every
videogame fan. The show is being sponsored by several popular
classic gaming organizations and many vendors
have already been lined up, with more to be
announced shortly. You can find all the details of the event at
It is late, it is
short, but at least it is done. Getting harder to keep doing these.
Anyway, enjoy the summer and find some time for your game systems. Like
pets, they need constant love and affection.
(This issue done
while listening to Three Dog Night, Little River Band and that accursed
Jigglypuff Pokemon song that I am so addicted to.)