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Sky Skipper (Parker Brothers)




Children’s games are nothing new, just about every console has them and most of them suck due in large part to them being far too simple and condescending for even children to play, but that hasn’t always been the case. On many of the older consoles, especially the 2600, you had games made for both adults and young children at the same, the one that comes to my mind is Missile Command where it has a disclaimer printed on the box that it has additional versions for young children, even Draconian a recently released homebrew has a kids version. The 2600 DID have games dedicated for kids though, mainly the KidVid games and the games based on Sesame Street but there were a few more thrown in there by other publishers, and it today’s case it’s Parker Brothers, the game we’ll be reviewing today is Sky Skipper (I’m cringing internally at even typing the name), a drab little game that I feel doesn’t to enough to qualify as a worthwhile investment of time. I’d prefer to not even bring out my 2600 to play this drab nothingburger of a game and just stick with Stella, but that isn’t how I do things.


There is very little when it comes to graphics when it comes to sky skipper, and despite the fact that everything is done at least competently, there is nothing special to this game. The bi-plane looks like a bi-plane the animals look somewhat like animals, the only thing that looks rather off is the gorilla, it seems none of the second generation consoles, or computers, of the time could display a decent gorilla (with the obvious exception of the Colecovision,) but at least I could tell that this was supposed to be a gorilla just by looking at it and didn’t have to consult the manual. There is very little variation when it comes to the graphics as well, you are given two stages to fly around in and as you progress you cycle between these two stages with different factors making the gameplay a bit more difficult, but the simple fact is by the time level three rolls around you have seen everything this game has to offer on a visual level, unless you count having the stage be a slightly different color, which I don’t.


I will admit that the little jingle that plays when you start up the game and when you complete a level is obnoxiously catchy, I’m liable to whistling it at work for the next couple of days. Otherwise you just get to listen to the constant farting of the bi-plane and you scoot around the screen, with the occasional sound of a bomb being dropped. You are also gifted a jumbled mess of rubbish whenever you run into a wall or an enemy assault gorilla, which is not going to be very often. So apart from a decent little jingle there just isn’t anything to listen to as well; Hmmm nothing to look at and nothing to listen to, I can’t say I’m too surprised.


In this game you drop bombs on gorillas and collect flashing animals whilst avoiding obstacles, that’s it, there may be more obstacles thrown into the mix later on down the line, but the objective remains the same. When you drop a bomb onto the gorilla it’s laid flat and the animals it was guarding begin to flash in and out of the small boxes, presumably cages, which confined them, you must then fly over them to collect them. If the gorilla gets back up before you can collect all the animals you just have to drop another bomb on his head and get the rest. You have a limited amount of fuel at your disposal, but apparently you can refill your fuel by collect one of each animal in a row, this is stupid because you’ll expend an entire tank of fuel just to refill it again whilst making almost zero overall progress, unless you want to do it three times in a row. Even with the introduction of moving clouds the game remains painfully easy, all you have to do is move around the clouds, I know everybody is saying “oh this is a kids game, it’s supposed to be easy”, I’m saying that this is too easy even for kids. Once you get around to level five your plane begins to move faster making the game even easier, at this point I just gave up out of sheer boredom, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever play this game again.


Yes this is a kid’s game, it’s also a very bad kid’s game, its mindless, its repetitive, and its dull, something I’m sure kids probably wouldn’t appreciate, even in the 80’s. There may be some of you out there who are nostalgic for this game or may have grown up with it and enjoyed it, good for you I don’t want to trample those memories, I am simply doing an honest review of a kids Atari game. If you disagree with me then you are welcome to do so, but please don’t go around saying I can’t review a game because it’s meant for children, I see that argument flare up so much when it comes to stinkers like this that it get’s rather obnoxious. Sadly this is not a cheap game, I’m looking on Ebay and people are asking over 10$ for loose copy and over 30$ for a boxed copy, personally I wouldn’t pay more than 2-3$ for this but that’s the way the market works. I will condemn this game to the Collector’s Zone, for being a bland and dull snoozefest that simply didn’t need to be made.


NOTE: Only after doing research on Monday's review have I found out that Sky Skipper was an arcade game by Nintendo, this knowledge does not change my opinions on the game, if anything it makes me like the game even less.


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