The Game: In this two-for-one game, you take to the skies in one of two different ways. Out Of This World! is a classic lunar lander game, in which you must balance your descent speed and your remaining fuel to make a safe landing on the surface of the moon, and then safely return to dock with your command module in orbit again. Helicopter Rescue! is a simplistic game in which you pilot a helicopter, trying to retrieve as many people as possible from a doomed hotel and take them safely to a nearby ground station. Precision and timing are of the essence. (Honestly, though, we never see what’s wrong with that hotel – there’s no evidence of fire, terrorists, massive fiddygibber infestations…) (Magnavox, 1979)
Memories: I grew up a space buff, and by the time this game came around – and keep in mind, kids, 1979 was only the tenth anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing – I thought it was so cool to have even a rudimentary spaceflight simulation on my state-of-the-art Odyssey2. It really is quite a challenge, but the real test in Out Of This World! lies in getting another good player on that second joystick…and then tallying crashes and successful landings in a veritable lunar exploration death-match! (Figuratively speaking.)
Helicopter Rescue!, on the other hand, can quickly grow boring. It relies on the same sense of timing and placement as Out Of This World!, but Helicopter Rescue! wore out its welcome with me early on. It does not speed up. The next victim to pop out of the highrise does not run back and forth or even emerge in a different spot. It’s a pattern game and the pattern becomes blazingly obvious within a few seconds.
But I always thought Out Of This World! was beyond cool – and therefore, I actually give this game a recommendation to collectors.