Videocart #18, Hangman, FCF 1978
Parental Caution: This related experience refers to a repeated scene of a hanging. Be advised.
Everyone likes to try the Classics in a new medium and Hangman is no exception. In 1978 it appeared on the Atari and the Channel F, so beloved was this traditional word game. The Channel F boldly preserves the tradition of the designers' original vision by allowing the players to hang an identifiably human figure. I don't actually have the original box or directions, but I'm pretty sure that this game received a retroactive "M" rating given the innocence of the time period during which it was released.
I'd really like to see an updated version of this game. For a title, I'm torn between "Lethal Injection", "Electric Chair" or "Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits". But I digress . . .
There are four selectable games on the 'ol Videocart #18: Hangman: no-Score and Hangman: Score, each with one- and two-player versions. There are also several modes ranging from A to N. I haven't extensively tested all the modes but they appear to be clever variations on skill level, ranging from "we'll give you the first letter for free" to "we won't even tell you how many letters there are". There's also four different "books" to play from. Not sure of the grade levels, myself, but it's nice to know there are different, what I assume to be, vocabulary sets for different levels of play. I think there is also a "custom word" variation where you get to put in the word for your opponent to guess, but I ran out of time before I found it. (read the word "time" as "patience")
I lost patience because my button #1 on my console isn't as responsive as it should be. If you don't hit a button quickly enough, the Channel F starts playing Hangman with itself. It got on my last nerve while I was trying to go through the variants. Sorry about that. It is kind of cool to let it play itself and see how often it loses/wins, but it's rude when it just starts without me when I don't want it to.
A nice touch is the "used but not needed" letters appearing next to the gallows, rather than disappearing from the selector. (Atari's used letters disappeared from the selector, which was okay, but I prefer Channel F's version.)
If you manage to guess the word successfully, the death-row dude goes free, jumping from the noose and putting his arms in the air. Take heart, though, unsuccessful guessers are treated to a genuine hanging, so really, everybody wins.
Of course I have screenshots!
Notice how the box holding the letter selector acts as a support for the doomed soul, which was another nice touch, I thought.
These shots are from the MESS emulator (which always seems to start with the word WATER). The actual cart gave us the word BIRTHDAY, twice, during our little session. That's only funny because it was the day after my son's birthday when we played this. (He's 8 now.) Okay, so it's only slightly funny, but it does provide a transition to this:Happy Birthday, Benjamin! I love you!You're my favorite videogamer ever!
Of course, he'll have to wait until he's 18 to read this entry, you know, with all the graphic screenshots . . .Next Entry: Videocart #20, Video Whizball. Please be sure not to avoid it!
What? No Videocart #19? There is a #19 (Checkers) but I don't think it was released (along with carts 21 to 26) until the "rebirth" of the Channel F at sometime in the relative future. I may be wrong about this, but I'm not sweating it.