Brain Games, Atari VCS, 1978
Simon and Merlin were two of my favorite games from this era in my life. I think that back in the day I would've really enjoyed the memory sequence game experience as translated to my TV screen by Brain Games. This was my first time playing this cart.
Brain Games uses the Atari Keypad technology to transform your TV into a memory challenger, for one or two players. The different games are Touch Me, Count Me, Picture Me, Find Me, Add Me, Play Me and Bite Me. Okay, not the last one, but my level of professionalism demanded that I include it.
In Touch Me and Count Me, you use the keypad to match the tone or number sequence produced by the game. Each time you get it correct, the game adds one more to the sequence and you have to match it again. You can match a sequence up to 32 tones/numbers long and you have four chances to try again if you get it wrong along the way. Two-player games have each player taking turns inputting the playback sequence. If you want to make it more exciting you can pretend that there's going to be a "nukular" meltdown somewhere when you fail. We picked Seattle for, um, no reason whatsoever.
Picture Me shows four simple pictures in a particular order which you must then match. Strangely, this was harder for me than either Touch Me or Count Me. I guess it's because I'm much more of a music/numbers person than a visual person. Maybe my brain was just full after playing Touch/Count Me. Yes, I'm embarrassed I failed at it and I'm making excuses for my early onset senility.
Find Me shows four almost identical pictures and you have to pick out the one that's "different" in as short amount of time as possible.
Add Me shows you numbers and you add them up, lickety-split. Put your answer in with the keyboard. *yawn* I didn't like this because it showed me how lazy I've become when it comes to adding numbers in my head.
Play Me is fun! Your Atari, via the keypads, becomes a musical instrument. While it is limited in its range and expression, the novelty of playing duets on a videogame holds up pretty well. The instruction book even comes with some number sequences to help the musically impaired tap out a few tunes.
I have little to say about the graphics because they are exceptionally simple yet serve their purpose. It's just boxes to help hold the numbers and simple pictures or to give a relative location of the keys you need to hit. It is really the bare minimum. What is important to understand about these games, especially Touch Me and Count Me, is that the game play isn't really on the screen, it's in your head. Brain Games does a good job of facilitating the Brain play.
Next entry: Outlaw aka Gunfighter.