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Dodge-It, FCF 1978



Videocart #16, Dodge-It, Fairchild Channel F, 1978


We really enjoy Dodge-It. Simple concept: You and your second player (optional) are in a box. A red ball (square) bounces into the box and you have to avoid its many rebounds off the walls of your enclosed space. Avoid it for long enough and it is joined by a second and then a third and then a fourth and so on up to nine bouncing balls. The highest we got was six balls at once. A counter on the left increases as you play and stops when you get hit. If it's the highest score it gets transferred over to the right and stays as a "high score" for that session.


Each time you fail to dodge, you are treated to a spectacular show which celebrates your defeat, and a new box is formed. The thickness of the wall varies, so the shape and size of the Dodgespace, a word I just made up, also varies. In addition to the Dodgespace, the game randomizes the speed and size of both the dodge balls and the players. Every game, while being very similar to the others, is always a little different and unpredictable.


The one failing of Dodge-It, is that it isn't terribly re-playable. Which, I guess, is a pretty fatal failing. Yes, it is fun, yes it is challenging, but how well you do from one round to the next is pretty much determined by the luck of draw which determines the speed and size, both of the balls to dodge and of the ball you use to dodge. We will keep this game around until something similar comes out. It stands out as a fairly unique entry into the 1978 universe of home videogames.


Well, that was a short entry. I guess I should show in some screenshots just to round it out.



Okay, this is the protagonist block trying to avoid the other blocks bouncing around the Dodgespace.



This is the graphical reward for getting pummeled by one of the balls if you fail to dodge. It's pretty flashy for the Channel F.


Next entry will be . . . Videocart # 17! Video Pinball!



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I *really* liked this one. Simple concepts always make for great games. Well, maybe not always, but I felt like saying that.


I enjoyed the gameplay, the controls, the sound, the graphics, the randomization, the "death" animation, all of it. No annoying stuff, nothing getting in the way of having fun. That's always a plus for games in this era. I also enjoyed the fact that this is an endless game. I assumed at first that the levels were predefined, and only then realized it's a never ending thing.


My only grip with it is something you also mentioned. The high-score doesn't make much sense. I managed to dodge 10 balls in one of the rounds and I scored something like 1300 pts. The fact that you are sometimes lucky (or skillful) and then have to beat that score in a completely random environment doesn't make much sense.


Something that you didn't mention - perhaps because you never got to it - is that in some randomizations you actually control a red square and have to dodge blue ones. I was so confused when it happened! I was like "Why is my square moving that way? I'm not pointing that way! I'M NOT POINTING ANYWHERE! AAAAAAH!!". And then I calmed myself and made sense of it.

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On 9/28/2012 at 8:29 PM, Nelio said:

 I was so confused when it happened! I was like "Why is my square moving that way? I'm not pointing that way! I'M NOT POINTING ANYWHERE! AAAAAAH!!". And then I calmed myself and made sense of it.




I wish that worked for everything. Calming myself just makes me calm while things continue to confuse me.

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