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Mogul Maniac (Amiga)

DoctorSpuds

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I'm kind of confused here.... Why would Amiga... THE Amiga make a game for the 2600? And why is it a skiing game? Now I'm sure just about every one of us know who Amiga is, Heck... even I know who Amiga is and I've proven, on many occasions, that I don't know squat about classic computing, If you don't know who Amiga is... Google them, it'll be a fun evening. After reading the little bio provided on AA it seems Amiga wanted to be the 'peripheral' guys, you know, the company that always has a unique controller for their games, think Guitar Hero or Rock Band. It seems that Mogul Maniac had it's own special controller, It's called The Joyboard, and it was meant to give the game 'full body controls', and from the looks of it this thing is rare, so don't bother trying to find one, it probably sucks anyway. This is liable to be a rather short review, since this game is so incredibly simple, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that. In fact I'll likely have to pad out the review by either going on a rant, or writing a sentence that has absolutely no bearing on the review whatsoever, much like this sentence, (see I'm self aware so that means I'm funny)... please laugh.

 

This game consists of seven graphical elements: The rather nice background, your skis, the red poles, the blue poles, the trees, the start 'line', and the title screen. I imagine all of the memory was taken up by all of the sprites because this game has some of the smoothest sprite scaling I've ever seen on a pre-NES console. I'm actually very impressed, the smooth scaling really puts you in the game, and when you're going really fast, it conveys movement very accurately, top notch stuff. But here's the main problem with this game, unlike with Activision's Skiing, which sets the bar when it comes to skiing games, you have ONLY the colored poles on the screen, no trees to avoid or mulligans to hop over, and it leads to stagnation very quickly, it also limits course design since there are no obstacles to avoid.

 

This game has very basic sounds as well, even for 2600. This game has, like, four sounds: The opening music, which is an on-key but off-beat rendition of the first few bars of the Olympic Anthem (or the Canadian National Anthem, either one), there is the whoosh of your skis when you turn, which is actually a rather soothing sound, kind of like a white noise machine. There is the angry BEEP when you miss a gate/slalom, and the crashing noise when you hit a pole, which you'll likely end up doing intentionally since it makes the screen flash with many pretty colors. That's pretty pathetic, even for 2600, I'm not expecting anything and yet I'm still disappointed.

 

In this game you ski through gates, and around slaloms, in first person, I'm serious. Despite the first-person gimmick this game has almost no substance to it, sure in the higher difficulties you can move faster, or there are more gates to ski through, but that's simply postponing the boredom for a few seconds. I'll admit that this game is fun for a few rounds on difficulty 9, but all the other levels are either too slow or too long or both. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable with the Joyboard, but I have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding one of those, but I'll keep you posted on that. Unlike Activision's Skiing, which can keep you playing for over an hour due to the immense variability of the different levels, Mogul Maniac can barely keep my attention for more than five minutes, since It all just starts to feel the same.

 

I bequeath this game to the Collector's Zone... It was a unique idea that simply couldn't beat it's more traditional competitors, and simply wound up being a cool tech demo in sprite scaling. This game is also more expensive than Activision's Skiing, it's aver 10$ for a loose slightly beat-up cart, while you could easily find a copy of Skiing in the box for not much more than that. I'd say don't bother, especially when there are more enjoyable alternatives for much cheaper.



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I wish I could comment on this game, but it's been so long since I've played it I don't really remember it that well. And I think the extent of me playing it was essentially just a few minutes of making sure it worked when I got it.

 

My favorite "skiiing" game for Atari is probably the Slalom games in Street Racer, honestly. Paddles! :D

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I think the extent of me playing it was essentially just a few minutes of making sure it worked when I got it.

 

That's the way it should be... This game is the definition of Shelf Fodder...

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I don't think Amiga wanted to be the peripheral guys. Rather they needed some $% way to bring in money into the company, when external investors didn't pump in as much as required to keep the development work of their new video games console Lorraine going. So in order to get money to the company, they need to have something to sell - here and now, not in 2-3 years time. That is how the Amiga Joyboard and the various games came into production. However not all the planned games got to production so perhaps it wasn't the cash cow they first had planned it to be, plus that I suppose it took away some development resources to make Atari 2600 (and even Atari 8-bit computer) hardware and games.

 

By the way, the Atari 8-bit computer version - which AFAIK only exists as a prototype, but has been dumped many years ago - is very playable, moreso than the 2600 version IMHO. We had some good fun with it in the Atari 8-bit HSC earlier this year.

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I don't think Amiga wanted to be the peripheral guys. Rather they needed some $% way to bring in money into the company, when external investors didn't pump in as much as required to keep the development work of their new video games console Lorraine going. So in order to get money to the company, they need to have something to sell - here and now, not in 2-3 years time. That is how the Amiga Joyboard and the various games came into production.

 

I know Amiga had a rocky start, but... and I must admit I don't know how monetarily feasible this was, but why not program games under a different established company? Again I don't know what the contracts would have been like, but with a little work they could have had some hits, despite what I said, the game is programmed well and flicker free. We all know those guys at Amiga were coding wizards, the games they could have come up with could have been amazing, but it's best not to imagine what could never be.

 

Then again it's all about balancing the books, if you have half your team working on games to make profits in the short term, your delaying the project that will possibly make you money in the long term by diverting resources. It's an interesting problem, that we've seen answered correctly and incorrectly in almost every industry, and still nobody truly knows the correct answer, since the answer is different every time.

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Keep in mind that in 1982/1983, everybody and their dog was making a killing on video games -- or at least that's what everybody else thought. So it seems natural that if you need to raise some quick capital and you have talented programmers, you'll come up with the idea of releasing games.

 

On top of that, consider that if you also have talented hardware guys, you could imagine getting an edge over your competitors by integrating some clever hardware controllers with your video games. (Back in those days, it seems that once in a while someone would wondered why nobody else was releasing custom controller hardware, and they thought they could get an advantage by doing so. Only to quickly find out why: nobody wants them! :roll:)

 

Personally, I can see that as a very obvious plan to be presented at a board or management meeting of Amiga, back in the day.

 

It turns out that not all that glitters is gold, and that not all video games sold that well -- especially as the industry started its downward spiral towards collapse.

 

Looking at Mogul Maniac, I can see how it would not be so popular. It's a very simple game, done much better already by others. All it has going for it was the technology behind it -- it was very smooth and flicker-free; but that's like putting a gold-plated engine on an old Ford Pinto: it may technically make it a luxury car, but it doesn't make it any more desirable.

 

Ford_Pinto.jpg

 

(Ugh.)

 

-dZ.

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LOL!

 

Now for a really ugly car which doesn't even have the redeeming qualities of being explosive, check out the AMC Gremlin:

Gremlin_side_%285903000893%29.jpg

 

It's like the bastard child of a Ford Pinto and a station wagon. :o

My mom had one of those when I was a little kid, and it was shameful to be seen in it.

 

-dZ.

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I don't know... It's kind of a toss up between the Gremlin and the AMC Pacer since they're both

ugly as all hell.

amc-pacer.jpg

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Perhaps there was a longer lead time for Amiga to get in touch with a bigger publisher and get the contract to develop some games for them, than publish their own games with or without custom hardware. As a dev team you have less expenses, but perhaps also less income in the end.

 

By the way, the Amiga term of Guru Meditation supposedly came from when the Amiga developers were sitting on the Joyboard, trying to balance it without tipping over or something like that.

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