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Pinball, Dungeon Hunt, Blockout (APF MP1000, 1978)



Pinball, Dungeon Hunt, Blockout (APF MP1000, 1978)



Oh, how sad.


I'll start with my disappointment rather than with my surprise fun.


Dungeon Hunt is essentially Battleship! except without the stimulating use of a coordinate system.


The playfield is 70 tiles representing 70 places one can look in the "dungeon." Up to four players may each take a turn typing in the number under which they'd like to search. This action eliminates the number and either reveals an empty space on the board or reveals part of one of 8 exciting objects, er, treasures, consisting of 1 to 4 parts. Given that there can be four players, there can be "fun" in the competition to uncover the rest of the object. Since one doesn't know how large the object is, and one doesn't know what shape it will take (it isn't a uniform line like a ship in Battleship would be) it can be interesting as the other players descend upon the area where the treasure is uncovered to try to uncover the rest of it if the first to find it fails to uncover the whole thing. Damn, that's a long sentence. I blame Red Bull.



The colorful things are the treasure. Feel the tingle.


Overall, however, I was disappointed by the lack of "flavor" in the game. There wasn't any risk of being eaten or enscorcererolled or anything like that. It was very hard to get into the spirit of being in a dungeon. Lacking a basement in my home, we couldn't even provide our own dank and damp. When I first saw the title I honestly thought it was going to be some initial attempt at an RPG. I was wrong, though not for the last time. *sniff* No, I'll be alright, really.



The TREASURES exposed in all their sparkling sarcasm. Oh, wait, that's my sarcasm. Sorry, I got confused.


Moving on to Pinball.


DEAD LINK was here. <-- Click here to activate your presumptuous Quicktime plug-in!

ACHTUNG! 656K! The above is my first attempt to embed some kind of movie link. The movie isn't a great representation of the playfield but it should give you some Idea of the blinkin' and movin' going on. My camera is old, so there's no sound. I will correct this failing someday and have spiffy sound-filled feeds that go right into my camera.


Pinball is . . . different. You remember Video Pinball on the Channel F? How it was just Breakout, 'cept they called it Pinball? Remember? Well, it's not important if you don't. (*sigh*) Well, this isn't just Breakout, so that's plus one over Channel F's. The screen is fairly blinky, which a screenshot can't convey so try to download the small MOV file I made (warning 656K). The ball bounces around the screen and you have a paddle at the bottom which you move back and forth to keep the ball from leaving. In its travels the ball may hit bumpers, some of which generate points, others may merely reflect its trajectory. The two sides of the play field consist of openness through which your ball may plunge, unless you press the fire button to generate sudden walls.


Failed Ergonomic Design


This is where we discover the failed attempt at primitive ergonomics: the fire button. Not content to make the button merely "button-like" they made the edge of it slightly concave, providing a little valley for one's finger to rest. Unfortunately, with a valley one also produces sharp little peaks. In the heat of the pinball game I stabbed my finger on it more than once. Ouch.



Beware the jagged, pointy edges!


Despite the pain, Pinball is some fun. There are three levels, one which includes two paddles, and they can be challenging but, alas, not interesting enough to drive me to attempt to generate any type of high score.


Last but not least: Blockout



This one my four-year old called "Two Rooms Mixed in With Each Other." I think she has a future as an artist who names other people's paintings.


Equivalent to Checkmate on the Bally Professional Arcade or Surround/Chase on the Atari VCS, Blockout falls short of both versions in that it only allows two players (Bally's allows four) and only has four variations (Atari's has a bunch). Still, my four year old and I had fun playing "what does that look like?" after each round. (we made the word "go", the word "to," scary eyes, a duck and a bathroom, among other Rorschach-ian results). The color of the trails change each round, which is a nice switch up from always being pink, green or blue. The sound is actually a low key, almost mechanical-sounding click that doesn't come close to prompting me to turn the sound down, unlike Atari's. (yeah, if it's too loud, I'm too old.)


A new twist to the genre was the addition of a barrier variant. However, the barriers are unvarying from one round to the next, which would, um, make it a barrier invariant, I guess.



The color of the barriers change, but their aggregate invader-reminiscent shape remains.




Dungeon Hunt was disappointing, Pinball was better than I thought and we managed to have fun with Blockout.


I think next time we'll do the cart that has UFO on it.

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AAAAAHHH!!! I blame you for my expectations on Dungeon Hunt! When you first mentioned the game, you said it was the first D&D game! LOL Well, it does have dungeons... :D


The other games on this cart were also "meh".


By the way, your video isn't working. I think I already mentioned it before, but nothing on your chronogamer.com domain is working.

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On 11/4/2012 at 1:05 PM, Nelio said:

By the way, your video isn't working. I think I already mentioned it before, but nothing on your chronogamer.com domain is working.

The whole blog is absolutely riddled with linkrot, I'm so so sorry to say.

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