Mouse TrapThe Game: In this munching-maze game (one of the dozens of such games which popped up in the wake of Pac-Man), you control a cartoonish mouse who scurries around a cheese-filled maze which can only be navigated by strategically opening and closing doors in the maze. Occasionally a big chunk o’ cheese can be gobbled for extra points. Is it that easy? No. There is also a herd of hungry kitties who would love a mousy morsel. But you’re not defenseless. By eating a bone (the equivalent of Pac-Man’s power pellets), you can transform into a dog, capable of eating the cats. But each bone’s effects only last for a little while, after which you revert to a defenseless mouse. (Coleco, 1982)

Memories: To some extent, I think regular readers of Phosphor Dot Fossils have come to expect certain things…and the occasional justified slamming of a 2600 game or two is probably one of them. But not this one. No, I’m here to tell you that I love Coleco’s 2600 translation of the obscure Exidy coin-op maze chase Mouse Trap. Yes, seriously!

Mouse TrapGranted, it’s barely a step above the much-maligned VCS edition of Pac-Man, but due to the limits of the Atari’s single mouse button, Coleco had to drop the arcade game’s color-coded door buttons and settle for letting one button change all the doors at once. And considering how much trouble I always had with the color-coding system of both the arcade 4 quarters!game and the rather more faithful version of Mouse Trap for the ColecoVision, this suits me just fine. I could finally play Mouse Trap, and it was – at last – fun.

Sometimes, the limitations of the 2600 aren’t a bad thing.