51 Shades of Geek

Impossible Mission / Programmed Trip

The Game: On an enclosed grid, you control a robotic drone whose job is to collect certain items on the grid and deflect enemies away from those items. If you can plant obstacles – which deflect your enemies with 90-degree left or right turns – that lock your pursuers into an inescapable infinite loop, all the better…but more will come. (Ectron, 1983 [unreleased prototype] / custom copies released in 2006)

The Game: An interesting unreleased game which was apparently developed for the South American market (where the Odyssey2, known simply as the Odyssey, was quite the success story) by an outfit called Ectron, Mission Impossible / Programmed Trip is a little like playing a video game by programming in a visual variant of the LOGO programming language.

In hindsight, given the relative complexity of it, it’s easy to see why this game remained unissued, though it was apparently finished. Mission Impossible (also variously known as Impossible Mission – why the alternate, attorney-baiting title was chosen, I have no idea) is not a casual game that you can just pick up and put down at your leisure. The control scheme for programming your robot’s course is as simple as the game’s designers could make it, but there’s a learning curve involved – and nothing as intuitive as editing a custom K.C. Munchkin maze. This game would probably not have been a success back in the day.

However, as a “repro-brew” release – a home-made reproduction of a recently discovered prototype – it’s okay, because few enough games are coming out for the Odyssey2 and Videopac that Mission Impossible gets a moment in the sun. On a disclosure note, the author of this review created the cover artwork for the second edition of Mission Impossible, rolled out after a very limited first edition, which was based loosely upon the simple line art on the original prototype cartridge’s label. The unconventional Videopac logo and cover arrangement was part of an entirely hypothetical proposal on my part for a new style of artwork for Videopac and Odyssey2 homebrews and repro-brews, though it very quickly left the hypothetical realm – too fast, in fact, for me to eliminate one part of the artwork that was largely meant as a personal joke: a small photo of my horse, looming over some kind of retro-futuristic domed city.

2 quartersMission Impossible has resumed its place in the “out of print” list, but future re-releases may be in the works at some point. As a game, however, this is a title that may be best left to completists who are after the definitive, every-game-ever-made Odyssey2 library.

About Earl Green

I'm the webmaster and creator of theLogBook.com and its video game museum "sub-site", Phosphor Dot Fossils.
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