4 In 1 RowThe Game: The constant struggle between cat and dog requires a great deal of concentration. Two players can play, or one player can control the dog while the CPU makes moves as the “Microcat.” Each animal drops a piece into the playing field, trying to line up four pieces horizontally, vertically or diagonally, or trying to keep the other animal from lining up his four pieces. Whoever lines up four pieces first wins the game. (Phillips, 1982)

Memories: Another Videopac title that never quite made it to the North American market, it’s entirely possible that Odyssey2 owners never got to play 4 In 1 Row because such a release would’ve attracted the unwelcome attention of the makers of the board game Concentration – or the attention of Atari, who released a licensed Concentration cartridge.

4 In 1 RowAtari and Phillips had already clashed in court over K.C. Munchkin‘s similarities to Pac-Man, so another fight wasn’t an attractive idea. 4 In 1 Row was released everywhere except North America.

And maybe that wasn’t a bad move. The only thing distinguishing 4 In 1 Row from Concentration is the inclusion of the cat and the dog, though they’re noteworthy as being very 3 quartersunique sprites for the Odyssey2 hardware, whose programmers normally resorted to the built-in characters of the machine’s video chip. It’s such a direct lift of the board game that it would’ve made an easy legal target.

As it is, 4 In 1 Row remains an Odyssey oddity – and still a fun (if unremarkable) rendition of a classic children’s game.

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