Atari 2600 Friday’s #43 – Skiing

At least there’s no abominable snowman….right? there’s no abominable snowman right? guys?

The Story: Skiing, as close as you can get to the real thing….and NO abominable snowmen.

From the Manual: “Now you can ski all year long without worrying about tight boots, cold hands, long lift lines–or whether it snows! Skiing by ACTIVISION challenges you with a wide variety of slalom and downhill runs, designed for everyone from amateur to pro. Even if you’ve never been on a pair of skis, you can be a champion skier with Skiing by ACTIVISION. Read these instructions to find out how to make record-breaking runs without getting wrapped around a tree or crashing into a gate.”

From the Box: “For one daring skier at a time. Step into your skis and defog your goggles. A wide variety of slopes – from gradual warm-up runs to high-speed Olympic thrillers – lies in wait, with never an icy patch or exposed rock to worry about. You can ski all day (or night) without getting frostbite, and you never have to wait in a lift line! See if you can get through the slalom gates in record time. Learn to jump the treacherous moguls and dodge the trees hurtling by as you race downhill. Whether your an experienced snow skier or just someone who’s always wanted to try, Skiing by Activision is as close as you can get to the real thing – without leaving the comfort of your home.”

The Game Play: Games 1-4 and 6-9 will always be the same every time, games 5 and 10 will be randomized each time you start up the game. To start skiing, move the joystick. Tap it left and right to change direction left and right all the way to horizontal. You will move fastest when your skis are pointed straight down. Slalom: Run through the gates as fast as possible, try not to hit anything or you will lose time getting back up. In slalom mode, the red button resets you to the top of the course. Downhill: Race down the hill as fast as you can, no gates to worry about. Red Button will not reset you in downhill mode and instead makes you jump.

The Controls: Joystick Left/Right to tip skis and change direction.

Post Review: It’s about what you’d expect from Atari 2600 Skiing. It is actually pretty good and feels like an early version of SkiFree, Look that up too if you don’t know what it is. Slalom was dead on. left and right alternations to get through the goals. You can move further to the side by tilting more. There really isn’t a whole lot to say here, the screenshot describes it better than any text wall can.

High Score: Slalom Course ? – 35.59

Skiing was one of the games that you could win a patch by sending in a screenshot of fast times. “To qualify, you must run slalom course 3 (Game 3) in under 28.2 seconds.”

Atari 2600 Friday’s #42 – Space Cavern

Prometheus the game?

The Story: Space Adventurers land on a planet and explore it’s caves full of dangerous aliens.

From the Manual: “You are in command of a Mark XIV intergalactic star-cruiser in an uncharted quadrant of outer space. You land on a mysterious planet riddled with a subterranean maze of tunnels and caverns inhabited by savage Electrosauri whose horns generate electro-molecular charges capable of disintegrating you and your crew. Your photon ray pistol is activated by the joystick and the fire button. The iridescent eyes of the electrosauri light the cavern walls with eerie flashes as they stalk you, their horns crackling and sizzling. If even one blast of electro-molecular energy strikes you, your skeleton will glow inside your body as the bio-molecular compounds of your body disintegrate. WARNING: Beware the savage attack of the shaggy marsupods.”

From the Box: “You command an intergalactic star cruiser that has landed on a mysterious planet riddled with smokey caverns inhabited by savage Electrosauri whose horns generate deadly electro-molecular charges. The Electrosauri stalk you, their horns crackling and sizzling. If even one blast of energy strikes you, your skeleton will glow as you disintegrate. “

The Game Play: You start with 4 men and gain another every 20,000 points, with 4 being the max at any time. The game can be played with two players, but they alternate turned. Supposedly there are 48 variations to choose from. Annnnnnnnd, that’s all the information in the manual. I’m assuming this is a shooter going by the screen shot, so lets get started I guess.

The Controls: Joystick Left/Right to move. Down to fire right. Up to fire left. Red Button to fire up.

Post Review: This game is slightly unforgiving, and somewhat easy. The enemy fire can be slightly hard to dodge, but they move in somewhat random predictable ways. I say random because sometimes they would go cray and others just move up and down in one spot. Predictable because My best ‘strategy’ was to stand almost in one spot and shoot up, left or right when an enemy appeared. Speaking of which, you definitely have to watch all three directions, but points only come from those above you. Sometime you can get hit immediately after spawning, so it’s easy to go through all 4 lives quickly depending how you play and your luck. Space Cavern, a shooter that makes you watch 3 different directions…

High Score: 4245

Atari 2600 Friday’s #41 – Private Eye

Jinkies, it’s time to do some sleuthing.

The Story: Join Private Eye Pierre Touche on his race to catch international scoundrel Henri Le Fiend. Solve Five cases and be the respected Private Eye you always wanted to be.

From the Manual: “”Sacre bleu! I am the great French private eye Pierre Touche and I need your help. I’ve been summoned to capture the ringleader, Henri Le Fiend, and turn him over to the police. But wait — we first must find evidence against him and the stolen property. There are five cases pending, each with its own statute of limitation. A case is closed when Le Fiend is apprehended and booked. So hurry! Study the files below, grab your trenchcoat and meet me at Precinct 2600 — I’ll be waiting for you.” Sleuth wanted! Help Private Eye Touche navigate the city streets, parks, secret passages, dead-ends and one-ways in search of Henri Le Fiend and his gang. Evidence and stolen goods are scattered about — you’ll need to find these, too. Let the map and your memory be your guide. And let nothing go unnoticed.”

From the Box: “A Maze of Mystery. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am the great French Inspector Pierre Touche. And you? Well, enough with the formalities. Frankly, I need your help. “I’m in the throes of five phenomenal cases. Five mysteries with a central theme: Henri le Fiend, International scoundrel, first class. Last seen in New York. Soon to be apprehended and booked at Police Headquarters. With your help and a map that is now in our possession. “Step into my new 1937 Model A. I will drive high and low, through every alley, up every street, from Second Avenue to Central Park. I will find the evidence. I will find the Stolen goods. I WILL FIND LE FIEND!”

He’ll never find me! There are so many secret passages, dead-ends and one-ways – even the stoolie who drew that map couldn’t remember them all.”

“And we lurk in the shadows, with bricks and daggers – just in case.”

Join Pierre Touche in: “Safecracker Suite” “Closed on Mondays” “Dealing in Diamonds” “Rare Stamp Roulette” and “The Big Sweep”

Cryptically Designed by Bob Whitehead. For one sleuth.”

The Game Play: There are 5 cases to solve. they have you driving around the city and collecting evidence. Each case has a time limit and a section of the city, with case 5 being all 4 cases in one as the ultimate challenge. You search the city in Touche’s Model A, which can make 90 degree turns and jump up to 2 stories. You have to search out the stolen items, and return them to their owners. You can only carry one at a time, so be prepared to move around a lot. They can also be done in any order. After you return the first item, thugs will start to appear and throw daggers at you, jump to dodge them or you will lose the item you are carrying. You can also jump to catch ‘questionable characters’ leaning out of windows for extra points or items you need.

The Controls: Joystick Left/Right to accelerate. Up to drive into an alley or park lane. The difficulty switches actually do things in this game. The left one controls cruise control speed. A for fast, B for slow. The Right one controls jump height. A for variable, be for always highest.


Post Review: It’s easy to see why this game is ignored and not very much talked about. It’s all about mapping out the cases and figuring out the best way to reach where you need to go all while contending with the jerk criminals and their daggers. There is no way I would have known what to do with case 1 without looking it up, and it still took me about 3 tries to get it down knowing what to do. Private Eye is a challenge not everyone will be willing to undertake, but is so satisfying when you actually accomplish it.

High Score: Case 1 – 95259

Private Eye is also one of the games that you could win a patch from for getting high scores or completing a certain objective. Private Eyes patch was won from finishing case 3.

PrivateEye

Atari 2600 Friday’s #40 – Commando Raid

This basically sounds like Terminator Missile Command and the manual provides minimal  information. I’ve never seen such a short and empty manual.

The Story: Okay, the entire game description is both in the manual and on the back of the box. That’s what I’m calling it, because the story they give is basically the entire game description. Which I might add sounds exactly like a Terminator movie….”Defend this AA Gun from a bunch of androids.”

From the Manual: “Commando Raid is a single player, full color game simulating Arcade Action and designed to be played on the ATARI Video Computer System or the Sears Video Arcade. You are in defense of your buildings which have come under attack by android commando raiders. Without warning they appear. Intent on capturing your buildings and destroying your gun emplacement. First the troop carrying helicopters fly in dropping android paratroopers to test your defenses. Soon the sky is filled with fluttering helicopters and wave after wave of android paratroopers. They must be destroyed! Each paratrooper allowed to land on a building destroys a portion of that building. If three paratroopers land on a building, it will be totally destroyed and must be considered under commando control. Worse still, the androids can now tunnel towards you gun emplacement. Each paratrooper who lands on that building expands the tunnel. If they are not stopped, they will plant an explosive charge under the gun. In the midst of the battle, an aircraft may appear. it will drop a devastating bomb which can destroy all buildings and the gun emplacement. You must shoot it down or at least shoot the bomb it drops. If you miss, it’s back to basic training!”

From the Box: “Commando Raid is a single player, full color game simulating Arcade Action and designed to be played on the ATARI Video Computer System or the Sears Video Arcade. You are in defense of your buildings which have come under attack by android commando raiders. Without warning they appear. Intent on capturing your buildings and destroying your gun emplacement. First the troop carrying helicopters fly in dropping android paratroopers to test your defenses. Soon the sky is filled with fluttering helicopters and wave after wave of android paratroopers. They must be destroyed! Each paratrooper allowed to land on a building destroys a portion of that building. If three paratroopers land on a building, it will be totally destroyed and must be considered under commando control. Worse still, the androids can now tunnel towards you gun emplacement. Each paratrooper who lands on that building expands the tunnel. If they are not stopped, they will plant an explosive charge under the gun. In the midst of the battle, an aircraft may appear. it will drop a devastating bomb which can destroy all buildings and the gun emplacement. You must shoot it down or at least shoot the bomb it drops. If you miss, it’s back to basic training!”

The Game Play: I’ll start off by saying that this basically looks like Missile command with android paratroopers. There are 8 levels of play each distinguished by a different color of enemy. Each level contains more troopers per helicopter. Two difficulty modes with either straight or steerable missiles. Every 10,000 points a new building replaces the most damaged building. and that is it, literally everything in the manual is the description and those few comments. So I guess lets get to playing.

The Controls: Joystick Left/Right to aim the gun. Red button to shoot.

Post Review: You only move the gun left and right to aim, then a speedy bullet fires in that direction, it can be hard to aim. You can try to take out the helicopters before the troopers, but it is hard to hit either at first, especially with no real indicator of minute aiming direction. The troopers have to be specifically hit in the body or the bullet just goes through them, no shooting the parachute. Everything moves fast and it obviously takes some practice to aim. You have one life, so if they dig their tunnels to your gun, it’s game over.

High Score: 7150

Arcade Block for September

I was waiting for this Arcade Block to arrive since it was advertised to have a Legend of Zelda Theme, so shall we take a look at what goodies it has included…

As usual, here is the preview card.

Now, the main item of this arcade block is the Wind Waker T-shirt, and this is probably the first shirt I’ve received that I am truly excited about. It’s something I quite enjoy and has a great design too.

Next up, here is a goomba plush, it’s about 4″ tall. It seems it was random between a Goomba and a Boo. I’ve been wanting the boo so that would have been nice to get, but the goomba is awesome too. Also included is a nice quality Zelda shield keychain, you can never show of your loves enough.

Galak-Z is a game I have never heard of let alone played, and I also do not have a record player so I can’t do anything with this one. The Dashboard cuccoo is something I will place in my car someday when I have a nicer one, it’s no hula Zelda but it’ll do.

The last item is probably my favorite out of any block so far, a Link pulling the master sword canvas print. At it’s 7″ or so size it’s great to hang anywhere. Overall, I’m very pleased and think I have become a fan of these themed blocks.

Atari 2600 Friday’s #39 – Frogs and Flies

This week we feed a hungry frog, is it Frogger?

The Story: I guess frogger got hungry after crossing that road to get home. There doesn’t really seem to be a story beyond a hungry frog, but we can imagine it’s frogger can’t we?

From the Manual: “The object of the game is to make frogs catch flies. Points are won by manipulating a frog so that he jumps off a lily pad and scoops up flying insects with a flashing tongue. Jump him too late and you’ll miss. Jump him too far and he’ll land in the pond. you’ll have to wait for him to swim back before trying again. Day & night action. Catch more flies than an opponent. Or beat your own top score!”

From the Box: “For 1 or 2 players. Play for top score or against somebody else. Day or night action. Running scores displayed. Score points by catching flies on the fly with frog’s flashing tongue! Two skill levels. Both players do not have to use same skill level. Adults can give little kids a break! Fun sounds include “splash” when frog falls in the pond, “happy croak” when flies are caught, various “bird calls” and “cricket” sounds when game is over.”

The Game Play: You have two frogs on two lilypads, make them jump to catch flies. Each game lasts 3 minutes, you can tell a game is near its end when the sky changes from day to night. Make your frog jump with the joystick and then press the red button when near a fly to catch it with your tongue. Don’t fall in the pond or you will have to wait for your frog to swim back to the lilypad. There are two  interesting features in Frogs and Flies; whenever a frog is inactive for 5 seconds, the game takes over and controls it, and you can also give each player a different difficulty level to make it fair for kids.

The Controls: 8-Direction movement, hold joystick to make frog jump higher. Red button for tongue.

Post Review: It’s a little hard to aim the frog, which can be taken care of with some practice. The fly has to be in front of you a little bit, right in front of your face is too close and the tongue only reaches about an inch. the flies can change direction. Another one of those interesting competitive games.

High Score: 26

Atari 2600 Friday’s #38 – Sky Diver

I’m a little disappointed this one is so simple, But we have to get games like this out of the way eventually so here goes….

The Story: There is literally no story given here. I guess they decided Sky Divers didn’t need any kind of story or description. Well, this is a 2 player game, so feel free to make up any exciting story you want with your friend as to why your are competing.

From the Manual: Nothing written in the manual. There’s a first time for that.

From the Box: Once again, this is one of those games where the back of the box is pretty blank.

The Game Play: Your entire goal is to land the Sky Diver on the drop zone. This appears to b 2 player only, no single player at all. I played this once with Obsessive Compulsive Gamer. You fight against the wind and each other to land on the target and score the most points. There is a wind sock at the bottom of the screen that tells you which direction the wind is blowing. You have 9 jumps to score the most points.

The Controls: Red Button releases Diver from Plane. Pull Back on Joystick to open the parachute. Left/Right to steer against the wind.

Post Review: A fun competitive multiplayer game. It could have done with an AI to face off against solo, but it’s good non the less. I don’t think anyone will have any trouble finding a player two. So harken back to the days of splitscreen multiplayer, and have some fun.

Atari 2600 Friday’s #37 – Centipede

The Fortune Cookie has been doling out classics lately, and I’m okay with that because we need to cover those eventually anyways.

The Story: An elv name oliver found a magic wand and now uses it to save the elves garden from deadly pests.

From the Manual: “Once upon a time in a misty, enchanted forest, there lived a colony of good elves. These elves had a major problem, though. There prized mushroom garden was infested with pests–a giant Centipede, a
poison-spreading scorpion, a mischief-making spider, and a pesky flea. The good elves tried everything they could to rid their garden of these bugs. But nothing worked. One day, an elf named Oliver was hacking away at a poisoned mushroom in the garden. Suddenly, he saw an unusual stick gleaming in the dirt. Just as Oliver picked up the stick, a spider jumped out from behind a mushroom and rushed at him. When Oliver waved his hands wildly to try to scare the spider away, sparks flew from his stick and the spider disappeared! “How did that happen?” Oliver wondered out load. “Could this be a magic wand?” Soon Oliver had another chance to try the wand. When the scorpion
scurried across a row of mushroom, poisoning every mushroom it touched, Oliver pointed the wand at the scorpion and shouted, “Be gone!” Instantly, the scorpion disappeared and the poisoned mushrooms were
transformed back into normal mushrooms. “This is great! This is the tool we need to clean up our mushroom
garden!” Oliver shouted ecstatically. With his new found magic wand, Oliver hid behind a mushroom. “OK, you great big Centipede,” he said. “Come out wherever you are. I’m ready for you now!””

From the Box: “Watch out! Here comes the slithering Centipede, the poisonous scorpion, a mischievous spider, and pesky flea! Aim your magic wand and shoot sparks to stop these pests in their tracks.”

The Game Play: For anyone who has never played a variation of Centipede before, it is basically a shooter. The centipede zig-zags its way down the screen, changing direction every time it runs into the screen edge or a ‘mushroom’. You can move up and down in this one, but only about a quarter of the way up the screen. The centipede in this version has 9 segments, and every time you shoot a segment it gets detached from the centipede and left behind as a mushroom. In the first wave it is a head with 8 body segments, in each wave after it has additional heads until wave 9 where it is all heads. Each head will move on it’s own after being detached. Occasionally a spider will jump around the screen, a flea will drop straight down leaving mushrooms, or a scorpion will rush across poisoning mushrooms. When a mushroom is poisoned, it will make the centipede go crazy and rush you. You start with 3 ‘wands’ and get another every 10,000 points to a maximum of 7 wands, you also lose one every time you are ‘bitten’ by one of the pests reaching you.

The Controls: Up/Down/Left/Right movement.  Red button to shoot.

Post Review: My cart may not be clean, but there was no idea while I was playing. Decent version of a classic game. It shows it’sage compared to modern versions, but still very much worth playing.

The High Score: 17590

Let us also note, that Centipede is one of the few Atari 2600 games that was shipped with a small comic. Centipede, Yars Revenge, and the Swordquest Games to my knowledge. You can read Centipede here.

Atari 2600 Friday’s #36 – Dig Dug

Are we digging to China? So I missed last week I got a sore throat, and after a day of that I had a severe headache and running nose and a cough which has persisted to even now. I pretty much did nothing but sleep through my last weekend and need this weekly enjoyment to relax a little. So lets dig to China in a game I love to play on any kind of console.

The Story: You are a Miner of the quest for buried treasures. Treasures in the form of Vegetables. But watch out, all manner of underground monster wants to eat you.

From the Manual: “You are Dig Dug, the underground miner. With your jet-powered shovel, you create intricate, subterranean mazes. Ever on the watch for vegetable prizes, you must also look out for the fierce Fygar(tm) and mean Pooka(tm) that lurk underground. Their touch kills| Worse, these two meanies can transform into spooky ghosts that will appear out of nowhere and haunt you to death. Use your Joystick Controller to dig through the earth in this one-player game. Your objective: Destroy the meanies who lurk below and uproot the prized produce. Destroy meanies by using the fire button on your controller to pump them up until they burst or by drooping boulders on them. To get the valuable vegetable, dig to it as soon as it appears and cover it completely by moving Dig Dug over it. Each round is completed when you destroy all the meanies or when the last one escapes. The game ends when you lose all your lives.”

From the Box: “Create your own maze as you tunnel fearlessly through the earth. Your goal: Reap tasty vegetables worth healthy points. Your enemies: ghosts who want to bury you alive, fierce fire-breathing dragons, and mean ballooon-like bullies! Can you dig it? Here’s the exciting home version of the celebrated coin-op original!”

The Game Play: You dig tunnels through the earth to get where you want to go. You move in the direction you move the joystick. You dig automatically as you move. To defeat an enemy press the red button to pump them full of air. If you dig under a rock, watch out because it will fall and crush anything under it. When there is only 1 enemy left, it will run for the top left of the screen to escape. Either this or killing all enemies ends the round and begins a new round. You start with 5 lives and can earn new ones, the first at 20,000 points and then another for each additional 50,000 points, up to a maximum of 8 lives. Keep in mind that the game will periodically speed up.

The Controls: Up/Down/Left/Right movement.  Red button to attack.

Post Review: I don’t have much to say here. I love Dig Dug, it’s easy, fun, and you can just play for extended periods of time on one game. I should note that one thing to watch out for is enemies that are on top of each other. and that you get more points for killing enemies further down the screen.

The High Score: 36130

Arcade Block for August

Curious whats in the August Arcade Block? I already like this one more than July. Lets take a look at the detail card.

Looks like a lot of cool stuff. The main item seems to be the Mortal Kombat Plush. Exciting, but I’ve never played or gotten into Mortal Kombat. The same can be said for Counter Strike which I have at least tried, I’m just not a Multiplayer kind of guy. I do like the Retro NES Styling of the Counter Strike Shirt even as subtle as it is.

Here is an item I am excited about. A Scott Pilgrim Video Game Soundtrack. I love Scott Pilgrim, and I love the Video Game associated with it. This is going straight into my car when I go out later today.

And another exciting item. A Fallout Pennant. This is quite exciting to me as I await the Fallout 4 loot crate. I have both the PC Anthology and 4 preordered.

And the last two items. Not as interesting, but still cool. I wristband I can only assume is also Scott Pilgrim related (feel free to correct me if I am wrong), due to what looks like a Sex Bob-omb logo and the Scott Pilgrim Live Action Movie font. There is also a preview of a  Retro Gaming Magazine honoring Metal Gear.

I can’t wait to see what is in next months Arcade Block which seems like it’s going to be Zelda Themed according to an enclosed advertisement in this months Block.

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