Cosmic Creeps

Cosmic CreepsThe Game: Aliens are after your kids! Fortunately, you’re armed with a resource that not everyone has: your own flying saucer. In the opening screen, you have to return to the saucer to resume command, and then you signal your kids to come up, one by one, as you try to pick off alien pursuers who are hot on their trail. If you’re See the videonot careful, you can actually zap the kids instead. If an alien manages to reach your saucer, someone else will have to give your kids a ride home from the star academy… (Telesys, 1982)

Memories: It may not have been the biggest, most obvious name in software for the 2600, but I have to give Telesys top marks for coming up with cool ideas for their games. Cosmic Creeps is a great example of what Telesys was best at, and it’s a lot of fun too. Read More

Fast Food

Fast FoodThe Game: You’re a disembodied pair of jaws – sort of like that old wind-up clacking teeth toy, minus the wind-up part. And the feet. Food flies at you from the left side of the screen, and your job is to gobble all of it up that you can reach. (Try not to dwell on the digestive process involved with a disembodied pair of jaws – See the videopresumably there’s a grateful disembodied stomach somewhere in this food chain.) The more snacks you snag, the faster the food flies. Beware of the purple peppers, though – you can only eat so many of them before your jaws erupt in a cataclysmic, game-ending “BURP!” (Telesys, 1982)

Memories: This is another game to file away under the category of “games that simply would not be made or marketed today.” As the healthy living movement (not a bad thing) collides and coalesces with the zombie-like conformity movement (almost always a bad thing) and some collective decision has been taken somewhere that overweight people are now as offensive to the general public as chain-smokers, a game like Fast Food – which congratulates players between levels with the tongue-in-cheek message “You’re Getting Fatter” – just wouldn’t make it to the store shelves today. (At this rate, I’m waiting for Pac-Man, with its unrestrained eating, to become somehow politically incorrect.) Read More

Ram It!

Ram It!The Game: Controlling the on-screen “ramroid,” you’re up against what appears to be a malevolent bar graph. Your job is to keep the colorful bars from reaching the center of the screen from the left and right sides of the playing field; once they reach the center, you can’t eliminate them unless you’re playing a game variation where they might randomly become flashing “bonus” bars that can be eliminated with a single shot. If two bars meet at the center of the screen, they form an inpenetrable barrier that traps you above or below them. A round ends when the timer runs out (it counts down from 5000), when you’ve eliminated the last oncoming bar from the screen that you can reach, or – preferably – when you completely clear the screen of those bars. (Telesys, 1982)

Memories: This is a game that shouldn’t work in terms of being entertaining, but it does. This is a game that, by 1982, was certainly graphically behind the times, but it still works. Ram It! is a seemingly simple game that is nothing short of a maddening addiction for me – I’m always compelled to hit the reset switch again, to try and do better one more time. Perhaps the best description of it would be “Breakout from both ends,” but that just sounds wrong somehow. Read More