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Category — Video Games

Game #20: Blockade Runner – Intellivision

Um…  See, with He-Man and Slime World, at least I was able to play them.  The gameplay was possible.  I didn’t really understand why someone would want to play them for very long, but at least they were playable.  Blockade Runner is not.

You’re in a space ship, and stuff keeps coming at you.  You can’t avoid it and you can’t shoot it.  And so you die.


Blockade Runner is a cross between Starmaster and Suck.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #19: Masters of the Universe – Intellivision

I don’t get it.

You fly around, shooting fireballs and dropping bombs on Skeletor. 1

Then you land and Skeletor throws fireballs at you.  When you reach him, there’s a sword fight and Skeletor runs away.

Then Skeletor runs into his evil lair and throws more fireballs at you.  Then there’s another swordfight and you get back in your ship and shoot more fireballs and drop more bombs.

  1. Neither of which is actually that blurry in-game… []

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #18: Astrosmash!

Astrosmash and I have a complicated relationship.  I love this game, but it hurts me.  Literally.  This game is painful to play.  Once you get up around15-20K points, you’ll understand.

The concept is simple.  Shoot the rocks for points and avoid getting hit by the rocks yourself.  If you miss a rock and it hits the surface, you lose points.  In addition to the rocks, there are homing missiles which come after you and diamond shaped bombs which will kill you if they hit the surface.  It’s sort of a cross between Asteroids and Stampede and Repetitive Strain Injury.

You will rack up a lot of lives early on.  You get an extra life every thousand points.  However, the speed gradually increases, as does the amount of stuff getting thrown at you.  By the time you reach around 20K points, you’ll probably watch your score decrease more often than increase, and you’ll eat though those 13 lives very quickly.

And did I mention this game hurts?  You’re moving back and forth and squeezing the triggers so fast that you will be in pain.  Seriously.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #17: Shark! Shark! – Intellivision

In Shark! Shark!, you’re a small fish in the big ocean.  You’ll be eaten by any fish that’s bigger than you, but you can eat any fish that’s the same size or smaller.  You get bigger by eating a number of smaller fish.

Then there’s the shark.  He’ll eat you.

You can nibble on the shark’s tail, you you want, but be warned:  The shark does not like that…

The Intellivision controller actually works in this game’s favor.  You can slide it smoothly around in a circle and your fish will follow.  You can also dash, which is the key to avoiding becoming dinner.

Shark! Shark! is the sort of game that belongs on the iPhone, if it isn’t already.  It’s uncomplicated and addictive.  And it’s got a catchy tune.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #16: Mission X – Intellivision

You’re on a bombing run behind enemy lines.  Boats, tanks, trains, bridges, and AA batteries are all on the list of targets.

If you fly long enough, it will turn to night.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t want to fly that far.  The controls are an absolute killer.  They scream for a joystick or a game pad.  It’s hard to control the plane and it really starts to hurt after a while.

Another knock against it is the fact that you have machine guns, but I was never able to shoot anything with them.  They always seem to be shooting over the rockets, they don’t hit anything on the ground, and the one enemy plane I saw killed me before I had a chance to shoot back.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Intellivision Time

Yesterday was entirely Genesis games (Or SMS games played on the Genesis using the Power Base Converter), so today it is time to bring something else into the mix.

This is the Intellivision. 1  It was released in the late 70’s and represented the Atari 2600’s first real competition.

The controllers have a 12-button keypad, which took an overlay.  This let games have more complicated controls, but in most games, the keypad was only used to select the initial game or difficulty level.  Games that used it for in-game controls were often difficult to play without the overlay.  The controller also has two buttons on each side of the keypad.  The big round thing at the bottom is the control disc, which had something like 12 way sensitivity.  Overall, these controllers are horrible to use.  Games such as Astrosmash would end up as tests of how much pain you could endure, rather than how good you were at the game.  In the original Intellivision, the controllers were hard-wired to the console, so there was no room for third parties to introduce more ergonomic controllers.  And the most unfortunate of all is the fact that this controller inspired many others in its evil ways.  The ColecoVision is most notable, but the Emerson Arcadia had similar controls, and even the Tomy Tutor came out with the “Joy Controllers”, which were disc-based.  Even Atari got into the act for the 5200, and the impossible to hit side buttons made an appearance on the 7800’s controllers.  Thankfully, Nintendo ended this reign of terror with the NES gamepad.2

Anyway, let’s see if I can play a few games without getting Carpal Tunnel…

  1. Okay, technically it’s an Intellivision II system, but I’m using it because the original Inty is massive and I need space on the shelf for quite a few systems… []
  2. Although the Atari Jaguar did try to bring back the keypad and overlay concept, even it had a gamepad style layout for the main controls. []

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Camera Troubles

In order to get in-game screenshots, I’ve pointed a webcam at the TV and have it automatically snapping pictures every ten seconds.  Unfortunately, the camera really doesn’t like motion and doesn’t seem to be able to remember its focus settings.

Oh well, it’s not like I’m trying to start a screenshot repository.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #15: Blockout – Sega Genesis

Blockout is like a 3D version of Tetris, looking down a well.

Except where Tetris is fun and addictive, Blockout is just plain suck.

Oh look.  There’s some colored squares all the way down there.  I need to figure out which of the three buttons rotates the block in the right direction, then figure out how to line up the block with the hole I want to stick it in.

Or, on the other hand, I can just pile all of the bricks in one corner to make the game end and put me out of my misery.  That sounds like a better idea.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #14: Todd’s Adventures in Slime World – Sega Genesis

I just don’t get it.

The game seems to be entirely a series of slime tubes that you wander around and shoot slime creatures in.  And pick up slime things.  And clean yourself off in pools of water.  And listen to the same 20 second musical loop over and over and over and over and over…

I think this game came from the Lynx, where this kind of gameplay makes more sense.  On the Genesis, it just seems empty.

Strangely, this game has a password-based continue system and many checkpoints.  It doesn’t seem like this game would be long enough to need something like that, but I’m not complaining.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #13: OutRunners – Sega Genesis

OutRunners is a two-player, split-screen variant of OutRun.

I only have one player, so the split-screen aspect of this game was very annoying.

But at least there’s this:

November 5, 2010   No Comments