The Game: Remember those BASIC programming how-to books in the 70s and 80s with the do-it-yourself minigames you could type in and run? They’re back. Daniel Bienvenu’s tribute to those classic games has a twist though: it’s running on the ColecoVision. 14 maddeningly addictive and yet simple games are crammed into a single cartridge, with extras like a program to test the console’s musical ability. (Good Deal Games, 2003)
Memories: Debuted at Classic Gaming Expo 2003, ColecoVision Game Pack #1 is a nifty little collection of games like the ones we all used to type in from a book, minus that syntax error I’d always typo into existence somewhere around line 300. The translation from computer to game console goes much more smoothly than I expected it would, too. Games like Canadair and Shepherd Dog chew up a half hour of my life before I know it. There are also simple adaptations of such arcade games as Frogger, Space Chaser and Breakout as well. Now sure, Frogger already exists for the ColecoVision (see here for the review, in fact), but it’s a testament to the simplicity and the appeal of the classics that a DIY-style program can so closely approximate it.
The graphics won’t wow you here, but they’re not meant to. This is a fun bit of time travel back to those days when graphics didn’t matter that much, and game play was everything.
Overall, a nice package with immense nostalgic value (and some outstanding packaging – the look of classic ColecoVision packaging has been nailed head-on here), and hopefully just the first of many ColecoVision homebrews to come from Daniel Bienvenu and Good Deal Games. I like it, but then, I was one of those kids who used to type this stuff in from the books and magazines and then tried to add my own tweaks and modifications to the program to learn how it worked. Those who hearken from a later era can still enjoy Game Pack #1, but it might not carry the same nostalgic sucker-punch for the younger crowd.
The old Coleco’s got some life in it yet. Who knew?