Topic: Video Games
With my daughter in bed and my wife at the grocery store, I managed to play my new gamesticks some more. I got through one game of everything on the Namco stick: Pac-Man, Galaxian, Dig Dug, Rally-X, and Bosconian. Bosconian continues to impress, while Pac-Man and Dig Dug stand the test of time when it comes to great gameplay. Twenty years later and I still gasp when the ghost monsters on Pac-Man's tail inexplicably reverse course. Galaxian is a great Space Invaders descendant, right up there with Gorf and the Atari cartridge Phoenix. The one thing I take points off for on both Galaxian and Gorf is that the setting for the game is deep space. Defending Earth, visible at the bottom of the screen, seems incredibly important to me with regards to the psychology of Space Invaders style games.
I got in three games on the SpongeBob stick before Amy got back from the store. Super Chum Bucket is a great single screen platformer in the tradition of games like Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Wizard, a great C64 jumper. I got a little farther into the sidescrolling shooter featuring Sandy the squirrel. The Sandy game develops very nicely, adding terrain, foes flying in formation, and power-ups that give you more raw firepower. Patrick and the Maze involves running around an undersea labyrinth, using items, collecting treasure, and dodging baddies all while searching for a way out. Overall, I like the SpongeBob games. The graphics have a little too much white in them, making some items look like an overexposed photo, and the stick is very touchy in Super Chum Bucket, but I still had loads of fun.