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Flag Capture, 1978 Atari VCS aka Capture



Flag Capture, Atari VCS 1978 aka Capture


I dreaded replaying this game. I don't remember having a bad time with it as a kid, I just didn't thrill to the prospect of playing it again.


Two players on a 7 by 9 grid of squares. Hidden in one of the squares is a flag. Hidden in the 62 other squares are clues to help you find the flag or bombs to blow you back to where you started. So, if you don't blow yourself up and you don't find the flag, you're going to find an arrow clue or a number clue.


The number clue indicates how many squares you are from the flag. For instance, if you reveal the number clue "1", it means that the flag is in one of the eight squares surrounding your position. "2" would mean the flag could be anywhere on the perimeter of a 2-square radius surrounding your current position.


The arrow clues can indicate if you're searching in the right row or column, or point you diagonally toward an area of squares in which the flag is hidden. So, if you get a square pointing down and to the right you know that the flag could be in any square to the right of the arrow and below it.The Flag Capture game we enjoyed the most was the first game on the cart, the "free for all" variation. The flag stays in one spot and both players try to find it as quickly as they can. This was fun and simple, but not how I would choose to spend a rainy afternoon. We played it once. It took about five to ten minutes.


The other two-player variations involve taking turns on the same playing field looking for the the same flag, or taking turns on alternating playing fields. In the latter variation you're essentially taking turns, each playing your own game, each looking for your own flag. There's no way for the other person to benefit from a clue that you reveal as opposed to the double 2-player games where your opponent's clues help you as much as your own do.


The two-player games, with the exception of free-for-all, have variations in which the flag moves every time someone checks for it. It moves in a straight line (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) unless you're playing the "wall" variation where it will bounce off the edge of the playfield. The "wraparound" version allows it to continue to the opposite edge of the screen from the edge of the playfield it exits.The "moving flag" variations are tricky and a little frustrating. It's not so much that it can be hard, but that when we find the flag, we not certain if it is because we have deduced its location correctly or if it is because we've made a lucky guess. I suppose we would get better at it in time, or if we figured out a strategy, but we just don't have enough fun playing it at the outset to warrant investing the time to master it.It would be nice, if, after finding a moving flag, the game could indicate in what direction it had been moving. That would go a long way to helping discern between a brilliant deduction and a lucky guess.


My son didn't seem to mind Flag Capture so much, but didn't indicate he wanted to play it again. I asked how he felt about it and he said "I'd rather play that Basketball game." Which is what we did afterwards. :)


The one-player games are just timed (75 seconds) versions of the "stationary flag", "moving flag with wall" and "moving flag with wraparound" games.


Next entry: Hunt & Score, which will be the first time playing for me, so, yay.


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Yeah, pretty basic game. Not immensely fun, but kind of refreshing to have a puzzle-solving game in the mix.

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On 9/26/2012 at 8:59 PM, Nelio said:

Yeah, pretty basic game. Not immensely fun, but kind of refreshing to have a puzzle-solving game in the mix.

Yeah, it's not terrible, it's just not something we felt the need to play again. I think that could be a function of having so many games. If we really were in 1978, our options would be more limited, even among 1978 games. (i.e. I wouldn't own all of them in 1978.)

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