The Game: Which came first: your imminent defeat or the egg? A crazed chicken scoots back and forth across the top of the screen, hurling eggs downward at your suspiciously Cookie Monster-esque protagonist. Once your monster has captured all of the eggs (missing even one egg results in a lost “life”), you can fire the eggs back at the chicken and try to score a direct hit. (U.S. Games, 1982)
Memories: U.S. Games, formerly Vidtec, is one company that industry insiders single out as a prime example that speculators and bandwagon-jumpers were beginning to dominate the third-party software industry around 1982. U.S. Games didn’t really have a breakout hit or a killer app; instead, they had the distinction of being an upstart video game company that happened to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Quaker Oats – a company with no previous interest in the video game field.
Eggomania does little to quell these somewhat disparaging views of U.S. Games. The game is clearly based on the ’70s Atari coin-op Avalanche, which had already provided inspiration for Activision‘s Kaboom!. The notion of firing back the projectiles caught by the player’s on-screen character is somewhat novel, but it’s expressed as something that’s not much more than a very typical slide-and-shoot game.
The graphics are, at least, fairly solid, with very little flicker and vivid colors. Eggomania is also an example of a breed of game that was increasingly rare on the Atari 2600 in 1982: the paddle game. By this point in the system’s history, the joystick was considered the default option for virtually every kind of game available (this despite 1981 and ’82 seeing the release of numerous add-on controllers for the 2600, including trackballs and all-button controllers like the Starplex). But then, Kaboom! was also a paddle game – once again, Eggomania seemed to be taking all of its cues from games that were already widely available.