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Mezrabad

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Everything posted by Mezrabad

  1. Nice! My understanding of the whole bonus thing is that it's Corporate's job to have offer the bonus as bait, but make it so that no one gets it. There was a thread somewhere at digital press. The manager visited the corporate offices and saw a big banner saying something to the effect of "It's our job to keep them from earning their bonus" What a mixed signal to send anyone! "Here's what you can make if you excel, go for it!!" ---- "WHAT? You did it? What the hell!?!"
  2. Mezrabad

    No CGE for me

    Nope, no CGE, but at least I'm working on this again. I've been cleaning up the old entries and making sure they've got formatting (like... paragraphs!) and links that work, and pictures that load and movies that actually play. If I feel like I don't have a big trailing mess behind me it may be easier to move forward. Oh, and is there any way to link someone to an old entry and then that entry displays links to the entries before and after it? when I go to an old entry it seems that's all I get, no connection to the rest of the chain. I'm trying to fix that by adding a <-PREV | NEXT -> link set on each entry, but if there's some setting I'm missing to allow that to happen automatically, I'd appreciate a heads up. I hope you're all doing well, I have a lot of reading to do here to get caught up.
  3. Mezrabad

    Place your bets!

    WOW, thank -you-! You just made my entire month, possibly my entire summer. I've been going through my entries today, trying to get them archived and into a form that has links and pictures that actually work again. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm trying to get my act together enough so that I can at least finish 1980 before deciding what to do. (move onwards into just consoles or start to play computer games that I've "always wanted to play".). Thanks again. \[^_^]/
  4. ...I left my dog in the car with the windows up and all of the plants are dead. The stretching sound you hear is a metaphor being abused. I've come to realize that it's taken me three years to get even halfway through 1980. Play-lag has reared it's ugly cliched head in this blog before, but now it has become actually detrimental to the experiment itself. The "vision" if you will pretend with me that what I'm doing actually takes some degree of vision and not just a large degree of OCD, was to play the early games in their context with each other. To be able to look at, for example, Atari's Maze Craze, and say, "Wow this is so much more fun than that maze game we played last year on the Bally Professional Arcade!" The problem is: I can barely remember playing Amazing Maze on the Bally Professional Arcade because I played it three years ago. I don't even remember playing the Fairchild Chanel F's Maze game. If I can't remember a game I played "two years ago" in the Chronology, (because it's been about four years since I've played it in real time), then there's a problem with how I'm approaching this. I need to make a better plan. Anyway, not sure what I'm going to do. When I first started this I spent a huge amount of brain space on it. Between getting the games, playing them and writing about them, time and money was being poured into this project, and I really loved it. I still love it, but I've been absent-minded about it for at least three years. Months and weeks will go by and I'll suddenly be "OMG, when was the last time I chronogamed?" I blame it on gainful employment, but my wife says I can't quit my job to play games and write about them. So, anyway, when I figure out what I'm doing, I will let y'all know. It has to be a version of chronogaming that I can sink my teeth into again, while at the same time, producing for it at regular intervals, so I don't reach a "WTF...why are all my fish dead?" point again.
  5. From a PM you sent me over at DigitPress, here's that pic I was talking about.
  6. Actually, I was referring to the video of the 2600 version. In comparison, the MAME version doesn't look half bad. The MAME version lacks the distinctive phosphor glow of the arcade, but it manages to at least preserve a sense of forward motion. Conversely, that sense of forward motion is completely absent from the emulated VCS version.Ack, well, my face is red! I do like the pretty phosphor glow of the footage from the vid of the genuine cab as opposed to the pumped in capture of the MAME version, but I see your point with the youtube video of the emulated VCS version. The moving lights on the side of the road look like posts just sitting there.
  7. I haven't gotten even close to 80! And I agree about the emulated version of the Arcade. It's been quite a while since I've seen the original and I thought the difference between the two videos was stark enough that showing it was as useful illustration. Don't get me wrong, I think emulation is an awesome wonderful thing and I'm really glad it exists, especially for the rares or popular, but damn, there is a difference!
  8. Night Driver (Atari VCS, 1980) First, a look at the arcade game that inspired the home version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK_pwMItCPM I believe that video is captured from the MAME version. The yellow car on the screen would have been an overlay in the arcade. The lights represent the glowing reflectors on the sides of a dark road and as the driver of the car you use a steering wheel controller to keep your car on the road. The sound effects in the arcade original were engine sounds and drifting tire squeals. The arcade version of the game, in addition to a steering wheel, featured a gear shift and a gas pedal. There was even a cockpit version which was the first arcade game I can remember playing which attempted to simulate the actual posture you might have while doing the activity being simulated, which I thought was pretty cool. I use the video here because I'd just spent a half hour write-babbling about this, when I realized my articulation skills were just not up for it today... I think I need to read more books in my free time to improve... but while I'm posting Youtube links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RgIHCqzCF8 The home version of Night Driver for the Atari VCS not only captures the gameplay of the original but it enhances the graphics by adding houses and trees to the scenery, as well as other cars coming towards you on the road. Of course, lacking from the home version is a gear shifting system (which I don't miss) a steering wheel and a gas pedal. The Atari paddle controller serves just fine as a steering wheel, and the red button works as an accelerator, or whatever you'd call an accelerator you can only turn on or off. Something I never knew about this game is that you are actually driving around consistent tracks. Tracks whose twists and turns are the same every play, and they repeat. Tracks you can learn and get better at. I never knew this, which is probably why I never did get better at it. Tracks 1 through 3 are progressively more difficult to navigate while track 4 is random. Tracks 1 through 4 all have a time limit. Tracks 5, 6 and 7 are the same as tracks 1, 2 and 3, respectively, but there is no time limit. You can drive on them as long as you care too. Track 8, like Track 4, is random but also with no time limit. The left difficulty switch allows you to toggle between your car going fast and even faster, in case you're up to the challenge. The right switch toggles whether or not you hear the honking of the on-coming cars so you can avoid the urge to turn into their lane because you're some freak who likes to anticipate the collision. If you compare this home version to the home version of Datsun 280 Zzzap, you can see that adding a few improvements to a home port can make up for the absence of a steering wheel, gas pedal and gear shift and actually make the game worth playing at home, even if it doesn't look exactly like the original. At some point in video game history, the Arcade Version was what every home port strove to imitate, and where it failed to match was where the criticism was often aimed. I like that the Atari programmers decided rather than just do a straight port, they could improve a game so that the gameplay was what mattered, not how close to the original it looked. Oh, and here's the video of the 2600 version. I <3 Youtube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEktzerp14s Home version of Night Driver aside, if you ever get the chance to play the cockpit version of Night Driver, I recommend you take the opportunity. It's a neat experience and a great early example of how, in 1976 -- before there was much of a home market -- arcade machine manufacturers were trying to provide unique experiences that weren't just about the graphics or the gameplay. There was a "feel" to playing a game with the interfaces and environments designed specifically for that game which a converted cab or PC running MAME just cannot capture. Next Entry will be Maze Craze A Game of Cops and Robbers which always struck me as a really odd and awkward name for a maze game... 59344
  9. I actually like Superman a lot, I had no idea of its connection to Adventure, so thanks for that quote. An adventure in the sense of the word in real life, is constantly having to evaluate where you are and what you need to do to either survive at that moment or to reach another goal. Adventure can constantly supply new scenarios. Sure, it's all about getting the Chalice, but to get the chalice you may need to get a black key, to get the black key you may need to get into the white castle with a bridge. To get the bridge you need a key to the yellow castle (because it might be in there) which could be in the blue maze, but to get there you need to get past the green dragon who's guarding the magnet in the blue maze. You haven't seen the bat yet, but you know the little turd is flying around somewhere with something and will inevitably screw you over by taking something from you when you need it most. It's a good example of emergence in a videogame. Robinette didn't script the bat to come in and leave you with a key just as you're trying to not get eaten by a dragon, but it happens and it's funny as hell when it does. He didn't script any of it, he just setup some elements with a few simple rules of how things move and how they interact with each other and let them lose in a persistent little universe. Perfect? On the 2600, I don't think there's a game that gets it as right as Adventure does. There are games that are prettier and more challenging, but very few of them can surprise me like Adventure still can.
  10. Thank you so much, comments like this make me smile all week! That's great to hear from someone who played it back in the day and "gets" it! Sadly, while I think it's really cool, my brain just doesn't do well with it. I figured out one or two strategies that allow me to win fairly consistently on game two, but I haven't reached that with game 3 yet. It's great your students like it! I keep trying to interest my son in it, but can't pull him away from Little Big Planet, heheh. Maybe I'll try to play it with him on paper first, thanks for that idea!
  11. Nathan, that cover is brilliant! Not just for the addition of Walken but the bright headlight effect coming off the car on the right. I wish I had your talent for visuals! And thanks for reminding me that I really need to get caught up on my Pinky and the Brain.
  12. Dodge 'Em aka Dodger Cars (Atari VCS, 1980) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPcSd7DDLk This game is about an insane sonuvabitch who has no regard for your life, your passenger's life nor even his own life. The playing field is a four-lane circular track. The player races around it collecting dots. The player may only change lanes at four points on the track's circle. The crazy bastard in the other car is going around the track in the opposite direction and his sole goal is to ram you head on... That expression sounds familiar in this context, I think Sega put out this game in the arcades as Head On, but I'm not swearing to it, and I'm too lazy to go to klov.com to look it up. Anyway, this is a fun game. I explained the concept to my son (in the way I presented it above) and he took the bait and agreed to play before realizing it was one of Dad's "old games". It's a good thing that some of these games are worth dragging my son 30 years into the past for, otherwise, he'd write a scary book about me... (Chronogaming...an Abusive Trip Through My Father's Personal Hell was a working title during the RCA Studio II period...) While the concept is simple, the game play is fast and exciting. That other car -- no, it's more fun to think of it as a deranged driver -- always switches lanes at the last split-second to ram you and cause you and your car and his car, the crazy fool, to explode in a cloud of pixels. You anticipate the explosion; the sound of shattering glass; the flames rising out of the flowing gasoline... The cart has three games. You against the program, you and a second person taking alternating turns against the program, and you and another person taking turns being Christopher Walken. The third game is the most amusing, because at no point is a person required to just sit and watch. If a player clears the track twice, then two opposing cars are employed, and are both controlled by the other player. How is this done with one joystick? Well, if a car is at a lane-changing point, if it can change lanes in the direction of the given input, it will. It works and makes things very difficult for the one just trying to collect dots. Interesting to note; the crazy drivers can't make each other explode. We tried to get them together, and it's as if they exist in two different dimensions. It's okay though, either can wipe out the other player's car. Fun for the whole family, especially those who can't drive yet. It's also a good moment to share any horrifying drunk driving stories you know to reinforce the stupidity of driving while drunk, or of changing lanes to ram another's car head on. Next game: Night Driver or Why Not to Drive Drunk, Part 2. 55,057
  13. LOL. Awesome points and thanks for the chuckle. I dig the theory of flow and I agree that some games should "adapt" to a players skill to keep them in the flow phase. I think an example of a game that did this very well was Spyro 3 on the PS. There were a few skill level settings that were set "behind the scenes". If you demonstrated high or low skill, it would adjust the level accordingly. I don't know of any other games that did this (and only knew about it on Spyro because of a design bug. If you were playing on the lowest level (my 4 year old was at the time) some gems became unreachable). Anyway, Spyro 3 is a good example of a game that adapted to skill level without forcing people back to the beginning of the game when they died. (I don't remember if it forces you back to the beginning of the level or not). Have you played Braid? It takes the Super Mario Bros style (with some liberties) and adds something I wish every SMB game had, the ability to rewind when you die. Don't make me go to the beginning of a level just let me go back and do the last 5 seconds over again until I get it right, thanks. Of course, Braid takes the idea of rewind and time flow and turns it into a twisty puzzle game disguised as a platformer, but I wish that rewind feature were something I could put in the first Super Mario Bros.
  14. Thanks so much! I'm trying to approach these games, not only as if I were seeing them for the first time, but as if I haven't seen anything after them either. It's very gratifying when someone voices that they've experienced the effect I'm trying to achieve. Thank you again! And I agree this game was not a mainstream type of game that kids playing Space Invaders would have flocked to (and apparently the absolutely did not flock to it). I think in 1980, like today, videogames were hitting levels of "mainstream popularity" (ie Space Invaders), but there are the occasional "indie" titles that only a few people get. 3D T^3 is like a clever indie title that most people wouldn't be interested in.
  15. I'm curious about it and I'd like to use one before making a decision on it. I use my iPod Touch all the time, but again, that's small, I can put it in my back pocket and walk around with it. I don't think I'd feel as comfortable with being out and about with an iPad. It's bigger, and a laptop would fit into my book bag just as easily without worrying about scratching up the screen. On the other hand, I'm getting a little tired of getting all squinty with the PDF's I'm reading on my iPT when I go to bed. Bigger screen would be nice. If I were to get one, I think it would be more like a home base iPod Touch, kind of analogous to a desktop computer vs. a laptop. I like laptops if I'm traveling, but I'd rather use my nicely sized iMac to do stuff while I'm at home. Same with my iPod Touch. I wouldn't take the iPad out with me instead of the iPod, but I could see while at home, the iPod Touch hooked up to the computer to charge and the iPad being used to more comfortably surf or read. Not convinced I'd use it to write a blog entry, but I wouldn't rule it out. In the interest of full disclosure, I do work for Apple but my opinions are my own and I'm not any better informed about this device than anyone else surfing the internet. I never saw a point for having an iPod Touch until after I'd gotten one...it's taken time, but I've grown very fond of it. We'll see what happens.
  16. Wow, I'd forgotten about Secret of Vulcan Fury... I played 25th Anniversary, and I'd swear I have the CD-Rom version somewhere. I also got that Special Collectors's Edition of Judgement Rites, but I never played it! Did watch the video that came with it more than once (City on the Edge of Forever). These "playings" are making me have to dig into storage bins I'd sealed shut a decade ago, heheh.
  17. I don't think this applies to Warcraft or Diablo, but with Diablo II and Starcraft, games I purchased long ago for my PC, I was able to go to Blizzard's site, enter the codes for those games, and was then allowed to download the most recent versions for my 10.6.2 Mac OS X. I can't begin to say how much that impressed me. These games are close to 10 years old or more and not only are they still updating them for newer machines, but they're letting me use my codes from the first time I bought so that I can play it again on my new iMac. How cool is that? Blizzard rocks. I didn't know they did the Lost Vikings, now I have to play that... ... hmm, I wonder if Warcraft would run in Boxer (DosBox for Mac with a pretty cool front end.) now I have to find Warcraft to find out...
  18. Hey, thanks for your comment, and for referring me to that review. I've avoided reading reviews about games that would come up in my chronology anytime soon to avoid sounding like the other reviewers, but it's nice to read them after I've written mine. To VGC's credit, he/she is trying to be an objective critic/reviewer of games by providing something as legitimizing as a "grade" and backing it up with his/her experienced viewpoint. I prefer to take a more Penny-Arcade-like approach, and really just talk about my particular experience so that someone else can make a decision about giving a particular game a shot or not. If they like it or not, that's up to them to decide. What's important to realize, and I thank the food critic from Ratatouille for providing this insight, is that even the very worst videogame takes more brains and hard work to design, code and promote than any reviewer would need to write a review of it. Regarding 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe, someone, (I believe it was Carol Shaw who later did River Raid), worked their ass off to make this game. I'm not saying it was a necessarily good business decision to publish it, it would appeal to a very limited audience, but I do find it to be a quality game. That being said, I don't disagree with VGC's rating of the game as an "F"! The game has a very steep learning curve. Also, because the amount of time it takes for the program to make a move on the higher level games, there's no incentive to get much better -- as good as one ever might get, eventually, it will just take a longer amount of time to get one's Tic-Tac-Ass handed to them. Though, seriously, it's only a big deal that Game 8 takes 20 minutes to make a move if a person is good enough to beat the program on Game 7. I doubt there's many people who would face that issue. If someone was that gifted, then there's probably nobody else available who would be good enough to challenge them anyway. Waiting 20 minutes might not be so bad vs. never being able to play someone who can think at that level. On the other hand, anyone facing that issue is probably either a grand master chess player or a particle physicist with more pressing interests. 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe is the product of some considerable brains, and as such, I believe takes some of the same to play without getting a real headache. Whether 4X4X4 Tic-Tac-Toe, in and of itself as a game concept, is worth anyone's time or not, I don't care to debate--it's a matter of preference. (Personally, I think Sudoku is a waste of time, but it's not a bad game concept.) If one ever wanted to practice their 4x4x4 Tic-Tac-Toe game, this cart is an AMAZING port of it, (though, a Four Score mode would've been cool). So, while I may agree that 99%, maybe even 99.9% of people out there are not going to like this game at all, I think it deserves some respect. LOL, I've never played Firefly. I wonder if I'll have the ability to show any respect to it when I do? heheh.
  19. Off topic, but my Xbox Live name is Chronogamer. If you play 1 vs 100 Live on the Xbox 360, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Last night, I (with the help of my lovely and brilliant wife) came in third out of a crowd of 42,000 in a Live game and won myself a copy of RezHD! Yay! By the way, if you're an Xbox Live person, please invite me to be your friend! 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe (Atari VCS, 1980) I need to clear up any impressions I may have given about my feelings towards playing 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe. I wasn't dreading it because I thought it would suck, I was dreading it because it was going to require a bit more brain power than my energy levels are prepared to muster on the weekends. 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe is a 4X4X4 take on the traditional 3X3 version of the game. Not that I think any of you don't already know this, but it is played by you (X) and an opponent (O) taking turns placing your markers on locations in a 4X4X4 grid. The first to place four of their symbols in a row wins. In traditional Tic-Tac-Toe, there are eight ways of lining up your markers three in a row, and it's very easy to learn how to force a tie once you've played only a few games. After all, there are only nine positions to occupy. In a 4x4x4 cube however, there are now 64 slots to occupy and 76 ways of lining up your markers. You have to have the ability to plan ahead and visualize well to win against the program. 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe has 9 games on it. Game 9 is for you and another human to play. Games 1 through 8 are progressively harder single player versions where it's you against the program. Game 1 is the easiest, where the program only looks one move ahead and only takes a few seconds to make a move. This one isn't hard to beat, and only took me a few tries. For Game 2 the program looks two moves ahead and takes three seconds or less to make its move. This is noticeably more difficult than Game 1, but after playing for about 30 minutes I was able to improve enough to beat the program about three out of five times, more if I chose to go first. Game 3, the program looks three moves ahead, and can take up to a minute to prepare its move. This is where I got my butt kicked repeatedly. Yes, I got better, in the sense, that after playing for about an hour, I got better at seeing the early phases of what the program was doing, and prolonging the inevitable loss, but lose I usually did. Over and over. Game 4, 5 and 6 each look the appropriate number of moves ahead. Game 4 can take as much as three minutes to plan it's next placement. Games 5 and 6 up to 10 minutes or less. Game 7 looks ahead nine moves, and takes 10 minutes or less to do so. Game 8 will also look ahead nine moves, but take up to 20 minutes to make a decision. 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe is the type of game that, were I a sufficiently advanced player, I'd prefer to play on an emulator, because I could get through the "AI thinking" times that much faster. However, given my current level of play, Game 3 was as high as I was able to get. I'm just not a good enough thinker/planner to do well at this, which is exactly what I had anticipated, and what I was dreading. I can't really comment on how good the AI was, all I know was that it is much, much better at this game than I am. So, this game uses the joystick. When it's your turn you move the cursor through the levels to wherever you want to place your piece, and hit the button. This is not a hard interface to learn to use. On the other hand, it does take a little practice to visualize what is going on on the board. You're playing a 3D game on a 2D screen, and while the program does manage to display everything clearly; it is up to you to get used to reading it. I played 2.5 hours and I'm still not used to reading it. Like Chess or Stellar Track, my Inner Geek rejoices to see 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe on the system (Yes, I remember not liking the VCS version of Chess, but I'm still impressed that it exists on the Atari VCS). 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe oozes the mystique of "You'd better be ready to think, or you're getting your butt kicked." If I'd been playing it back in the day, when it wasn't so easy to find something else to play, I could easily see getting addicted to it, and actually improving my game over time...though honestly, that didn't happen with Chess so who knows? Playing 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe for two-and-a-half hours last Saturday afternoon doesn't do it justice, but it was certainly exercise for my flabby little brain. Given how time quickly flew, I'd say I had fun playing it. However, it wasn't the type of fun that I wandered around after going "wow, that was fun!" it was more like: "Whew, the life has been drained from me, was I really playing that long? Did the sun set already? Why am I so hungry? Who are these short people calling me 'Daddy'?" I recommend giving 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe a try, but be warned, the "brights" ("waaay above average" and above) among you might do alright, but the "tweens" (which is "above average" but below "waaay above average") may pull a brain muscle like I did. Though I can't find my little "what to play next" grid, I know I haven't yet played Dodge 'Em, so that's getting chronogamed next. 53,963
  20. I'm out of it for three months and while I am, the good Rev makes a Homebrew Odyssey game? Sheesh, Congratulations! That is way cool. That's the beauty of this system! Odyssey is not technically "programmable", but since new games can be made for it, it also isn't really "dedicated". Odyssey, a pre-programmable, non-dedicated, multi-game capable home videogame system! Bummer about the overlay film not being available anymore. Anyway, congrats on your historic achievement. You put an end to the longest dry spell a system has ever had!
  21. "It wasn't all that terrible..." Human Cannonball II: Corpse Bombs! I bet this would sell a million copies on Xbox Live Arcade.
  22. Excellent points all! Someone with whom I am acquainted told me that since they used to work in 3D animation, they prefer to avoid seeing movies like this because they notice the shortcuts and it feels like they are being stabbed in the eye. I didn't press the point, but I thought that this movie avoided that nicely. I liked that the aliens had four-digit hands but the human/alien clones had five-digits, though I didn't actually notice this until someone pointed it out to me.
  23. Mezrabad

    A Stupid Idea

    Hey, thanks!!! Sorry that I took so long to see this! I've been "busy" (addicted to Second Life, but I'm better now).
  24. Circus Atari (Atari VCS, 1980) One of the inspirations for doing what I'm doing here (even though it's been progressively less frequent) is the fact that "back in the day" I didn't actually get to play most of these games. Intellivision? I know one person that had it, and I only ever saw AD&D in action-but never got to play it. I had one friend with an Odyssey^2 and I never ever even saw it hooked up. I'd never heard of the Bally Professional Arcade back in 1981 and, though I'd seen the Channel F in catalogs, I'd never seen one "in the flesh" until 2002. So, it's always a pleasure, while in the process of getting through these games, to take out a game that, not only did I play it back in the day, not only did I play it often, but I actually played it often with other people, which is why I attach some significance to it, I guess. Circus Atari is based on an arcade game called Circus (Exidy, 1977). It could be described as a derivative of Breakout with a thematic twist. Your "paddle" is a teeter-totter that you can move right to left across the bottom of the screen. On the "low end" of the teeter-totter is a clown who is to become your projectile. Parading across the top of the screen are three rows of balloons (red, white (though I thought they looked yellow) and blue). A second clown comes into play by jumping out from one of the sides of the playfield when you press the button on the paddle controller. You have to maneuver your teeter-totter to catch that incoming clown on the teeter-totter's "high end", so that the clown on the "low end" is catapulted into the air towards the balloons. The goal being to pop as many balloons as you can, while scoring points and going through clowns as if they were a disposable commodity. The clowns are animated while they are projectiles, flailing their little arms and legs about in an effort to keep themselves upright while airborne. When up among the balloons, they'll pop as many as they come close to before falling back towards earth. When you fail to catch the plummeting clown, he becomes what is known in show business as "Circus Pizza" -- he lands with a splat, head grotesquely flattened on the floor of your tent, arms and legs still attached but wiggling like recently detached lizard tails. This never fails to amuse me. Never. (My corporate sponsors have informed me that some clown union has threatened legal action. I must point out, that the loss of life in funny ways is only funny in imaginary circumstances. My dark humor is purely in the context of the videogames of which I write.) (Ethics require me to admit that I actually don't have corporate sponsors and there is actually no clown union... as far as I know... it's more of a guild... I think...) The cartridge, as expected from Atari, has several game variations, mostly amounting to one and two player variations of: with and without overhead "bumpers", an easier version for beginners, and a two-player only version that has the players "share" the balloon field while alternating turns. This last variation is interesting in that if you don't "clear" a row, then your opponent might, getting all the good points. A feature of the game is that the red button allows you to switch the high and low ends of the teeter-totter to give you some flexibility in catching the poor, doomed, and yet, happy, soul. Speaking of doomed, yet happy... my children did groan a little as I recruited them for their reactions to this gender-neutral game. Their initial reluctance did give way because what child doesn't like to see a clown go splat? After about 15 minutes, I turned it off to write this, but they were actually interested in playing some more! I forbade this, of course, because I'm a power-abusing father. While I do think of Circus Atari as a Breakout derivative, it should be noted that, unlike Breakout which bounces the ball around in a straight line, circus clowns trace through genuine parabolic arcs...elegant yet simple in their mathematical beauty. Okay, not as simple as a line, but the arc does lend a certain, curvy grace to the flight path. In accordance with a law of physics, the clowns do soar higher and longer if you land the incoming clown further out on the edge of the teeter-totter. Sadly, the inevitably tragic ending of the clown is not intensified by this increased flight duration, but it does let you pop more balloons. Frankly, (may I call you, "Frankly"?) we only play it to watch helpless passengers of the equation describing a parabolic arc, often ending their trip in the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of show business. No business like it; no business I know. If I assigned numbers to games, I'd give this a good number. A number that everyone would recognize, but not be bored by. Probably a number created by multiplying two large primes and adding a one to it. Circus Atari is that much fun. Ironically, I'd been putting off this entry for such a long time, because I thought I was going to have to play 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe and I am admittedly hesitant to do so. I was very happy to double-check my previous entry and realize I had intended to play Circus Atari. However, what must be done must be done, and I do intend to play 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe next. And soon. Really! 51481
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