The Game: You control a hapless creature who can jump between rows of moving bricks and even temporarily build a brick around himself. You’re trying to help him gather gifts for Lola, the object of his desires, at the opposite end of the screen; she won’t even pay attention to you until you’ve accumulated a certain number of gifts for her. (Demanding, isn’t she? I can hear Dr. Phil screaming “Stay away from her! She’s bad for you!” already.) Other than Lola’s curiously materialistic outlook on life, your biggest obstacles are colorful critters who would happily jump on you and end your quest. You can hide from them temporarily by building a brick around yourself, but if they catch you, it’s time to start over again. (Cinematronics, 1982)
Memories: First off, I have no idea what’s up with the title of this game. I really don’t. It’s like someone’s trying to make sure they’re absolutely the last thing in the white pages. Other than that, though, it’s strangely fun and frustrating, with the rows and rows of moving blocks providing you with more stuff than you can hope to keep track of.
Zzyzzyxx is also an example of Cinematronics past its vector graphics prime; the game was licensed from a smaller company, Advanced Microcomputer Systems, and it didn’t make a very big splash (do you think the name had something to do with that?). Audiovisually, Zzyzzyxx is appealing enough, and actually fun, but that name just killed it. Arcade patrons probably expected something forbiddingly sci-fi-oriented (see also: Zaxxon, Zektor and Zardoz), only to have cognitive dissonance set in when they saw cutesy critters on the screen.
With a name like Beauty And The (Insert Character Name Here), while not quite original, this game could’ve earned a larger footnote in the annals of coin-op cuteness. But as it is, it’s just that game that probably should’ve been called something other than Zzyzzyxx.