octopus

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sdcarl!rusty

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Feb 1, 1982, 7:25:07 PM2/1/82
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This is a review of a hand-held game "Game & Watch" made by Nintendo
(makers of the Donkey Kong video arcade game). The model I have is
called "Octopus". The store where I bought mine had five different
models, each costs $35.

First a general description of the physical configuration. The case is
quite thin; about 3/8 inch thick, 4 1/2 inches long, and 2 2/1 inches
tall. About the size of a wallet calculator. It has a large LCD screen
in the middle. The dimensions of the screen are 2 1/8 inches by 1 3/8
inches. The game is held with the long dimension horizontal. To
control the action there are two large red buttons, one on each side of
the screen, each conveniently near the lower left/right corner where
your thumbs would naturally rest. The left red button causes movement
to the left and the right red button causes movement to the right. In
the upper right hand corner are three buttons; two select the level of
difficulty, game A and game B, the third button turns on the clock
display as the game can be a clock while it isn't being used. It has a
little swing out stand in the back so that it can be stood up on your
desk.

The game: to get as much of the treasure out of the sunken ship as
possible. The scenario: in the upper left corner is your boat floating
on the surface of the sea with a rope dangling to the ocean floor, in
the lower right corner is the sunken ship with the treasure chest.
Filling up most of the area in the water is a large octopus with four
tentacles that grow and shrink at random rates and intervals. The
rightmost three tentacles don't move around, they just grow and shrink.
The leftmost tentacle can grow either in a downward direction or in an
upward direction. In the upward direction it can snag you while you're
climbing down the rope. If one of the tentacles touch you you're dead.
As the game starts you have three divers in the boat and you use the
right button to move the first one down the rope and over to the
treasure then you use both buttons to make it dance back and forth to
avoid the tentacles or when you're all the way over to the treasure you
press the right button to make it grab some of the treasure. For each
piece of treasure you snatch you get one point. After you've picked up
any amount of treasure you can climb back into the boat and get a three
point bonus. While the game is being played it makes a ticking sound;
reminds one of a time bomb and adds to the sense of tension and panic.
When the octopus gets you the game makes a buzzing rasberry sound and
the remaining diver(s) do a left shift in the boat in preparation for
the leftmost one going down next. Game A and B are the same except the
tentacles move faster in game B.

It's quite fun. It's difficult enough to keep you coming back but not
to difficult to frustrate you. The design of the characters is very
humurous. The octopus has a sappy, lugubrious expression. When the
diver is grabbing some of the treasure it's arm moves back and forth
from the treasure chest to the bag it's stuffing it into. When it
gets back into the boat it's arm swings up and down with the bag to
show it unloading the treasure. They have comical positions when
walking over to the treasure. When the octopus gets one of the
divers he pulls it up towards him and the diver flails its arms
and legs frantically.

Features: As mentioned before it has a clock. When the game isn't
being played it can stand up on your desk as a clock with the time
displayed in the upper right hand corner of the screen. While in
clock mode the display is active with the divers marched down to
the treasure and pranced around until the octopus gets them but
it is all done silently with no ticking or beeping. It also has
an alarm. The clock and alarm are 24 hour.

Misfeatures: to set the clock or alarm requires a thin object to
poke the recessed buttons. A paper clip straightened out will do.
It remembers the highest score but setting the clock causes it
forget it. There is no on/off switch (being LCD I suppose that's
not a misfeature).

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