Ultra SCSIcide - Atari 2600



TV Type:  NTSC        PAL      

SCSIcide is an original, fast-paced homebrew game released back in 2001 by Joe Grand of Pixels Past. In SCSIcide you play the role of a hard drive read head. As the different colored bits scroll by on the hard drive platter, you need to quickly read them in the correct order before you suffer a buffer underflow. As you complete each level, the data scrolls by more and more quickly! How far can you go? If you're a fan of Activision's Kaboom!, then you'll love SCSIcide.

Joe Grand has spent some time recently updating SCSIcide and has released a new version of the game titled Ultra SCSIcide. This latest version of the game contains many improvements over the original:

  • Added support for joystick controllers. Controller type is automatically detected when you press the paddle or joystick fire button to start the game.
  • Fixed the flicker that used to occur at the beginning of each level.
  • Changed background and data bit color palette to make bits easier to distinguish.
  • Reduced track size from 10 to 8 bits, for a more appropriate one byte per level.
  • Changed speed increase per level - only two random data bits increase in speed each level.
  • Modified the sound and scoring routines to account for longer gameplay and higher levels.
  • Changed title screen text and added GIS and Pixels Past logos.
  • Added a PAL version of the game.

If you'd like to more about SCSIcide's original development, be sure to visit Joe Grand's SCSIcide Development Log (you might want to read from the bottom up).

To help commemorate this new version of the game, Joe Grand and AtariAge teamed up to create a new label and manual for Ultra SCSIcide. To that end we held a Ultra SCSIcide Label Design Contest to create original label artwork that graces all copies of Ultra SCSIcide that are sold through the AtariAge Store. One of Nathan Strum's submissions was chosen as the winning label entry. This artwork is also featured on the cover of the manual.

Includes cartridge, 12 page, full-color manual, and anti-static bag in keeping with the hard drive theme of the game. Available in NTSC and PAL television formats, please specify above when ordering.

Author Joe Grand
Number of Players 1
Controller Paddle or Joystick Controllers
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Nathan Strum
Manual Design Tony Morse
Daniel Zuccarelli on 11/06/2006 08:18am
Sometimes the product sells itself to the right person. It appeals to something inside you that triggers that “I must acquire this” mentality. When someone holds a 2600 cart in front of me and tells me it’s like Kaboom! only sideways and a little more involved, my wallet’s already out of my back pocket before I’ve even uttered the words, “I’ll take it.”

In the game you control a hard drive read head (no joke) and you scan back and forth across a spinning HD platter to read the bits of data in the correct order. How do you know the right order? Each bit is a different color and you have to match the changing read head color to the bit color. As the bit passes through the head you “read” the data by pressing the button, then it disappears. When all the bits are gone, the level is done and you start over with everything going a little faster.

It's definitely harder than Kaboom! since you're not just grabbing bombs, but discerning which color you need to acquire next and ASAP, since you lose points and your latency buffer decreases each time the bit passes by without being read. If the buffer runs out, game over. Being able to quickly and accurately discern the next color bit is imperative, and I think skill at rhythm games like DDR and Guitar Hero help. You'll need to stare at the entire board at once, never really concentrating on a single part of the screen.

That's really what makes the game so much fun and challenging. Most games allow you to concentrate on a small portion of the screen at any given time, but not here. You're best served by staring through the screen, never really focusing in, taking the playfield as a whole. With practice, you'll be able to get that Zen like stare where you're doing exactly what you need to do onscreen without really realizing it. There's something about the paddle controller that really lends itself well to these types of games.

My only complaint is the scoring system. It's sometimes hard to tell how well you're doing because you score is calculated in hex. Which basically means instead of rolling over after it gets to 9, it continues to f. So you end up with a score that's 2d0192 something. The first two numbers are the round you're in, followed by the score. It's interesting, and math geeks will probably love it, but for the rest of us it's just confusing.

Like the other homebrew games I've bought, this one comes with a full color label and manual. The game and the manual also come in a hard drive anti-static bag, which just makes the geek in me smile.

It’s an excellent take on Kaboom! and will challenge even expert players, and it’s an excellent addition to any Atari collection.

[adapted from review @ www.thebbps.com]
Nathan Strum on 03/28/2006 04:24am
Okay, it's time to dust off the paddles and spray a little contact cleaner in there. Fast-paced doesn't even begin to describe Ultra SCSIcide once it gets going. The game takes place in a hard drive, and it's your job to catch (or "read") colored data bits in the correct order as they go speeding by. Read the wrong ones or wait too long to read the right ones, and the hard drive will crash! It's pretty easy for the first few levels, but the bits begin speeding by so fast they essentially just turn into colored blurs. The game requires fast reflexes, and good concentration. Joe Grand did a nice job of keeping the colors different enough so you can tell which is which (even on my old TV), but you still have to pay close attention, since the faster the game goes, the harder it becomes to tell one lightning fast blur from another. Joystick support is also available, which works surprisingly well given the speed of the game, but paddles are the way to go here. One downside of the game is that the score is shown in hexadecimal. While cool in a geeky sort-of way, it really doesn't do much for those of us who aren't used to it. An option to just use numbers would have been welcomed. Also in keeping with the theme, Ultra SCSIcide comes in an anti-static bag, which is a very cool idea.
Raul Torres on 01/03/2006 10:49am
Love kaboom??? Want a new twist to that style of game play? You found it. There really isn't there much to say... except for the fact that the bits are moving sideways rather than down, does make for quite a challenge.

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