Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If gaming has a name...

...it must be the Atari 2600! Boy howdy did I ever freak out when I opened this up on my birthday ages ago when I was but a wee lad. This game in my mind stands out for a couple of reasons, the biggest being it was the first time you had to use two, count 'em, two joysticks to play the game. I belive the other game to use this concept...and perhaps better...was Imagic's Riddle of the Sphinx.
Another reason the game stands out was how my entire family seemed to come together for this one. Now bear in mind my Grandfather and father just outright disliked video games, it was usually my Grandmother who had my back in these circumstances. But in this case, all three of my parental units were taking notes and scratching their heads trying to figure out how I could possibly get the shovel from the black market that was being held by the...lunatic. That's actually what the manual called him. Go figure.
A coming together over a video game like this didn't occur again until Atari's SwordQuest series.
I did beat the game but my score wasn't quite enough to propel the digital Indiana Jones up to the glowing Ark of the Covenant. But just beating the game was something of an achievement of itself. Years later I learned that if you flicked the power toggle on and off quickly it would cut to the end scene and Doctor Jones would be touching the fabled Ark.
Agents of the Lightbulb Detective Agency, I've been looking up more of those Easter Eggs and found one pertaining to this title that I did not know of...more of that infamous Yars housefly.
From the good folks at Atarimania once again:
"The manual mentions the appearance of a 'special signature' on the final screen if your score is high enough (although this isn’t entirely true). On the final screen showing the Ark, the initials HSW2 (for Howard Scott Warshaw – the 2 denotes this is his second game) appear in your inventory.
A screenshot of Jerome M. Domurat's initials in the 'Valley of Poison' appeared in several publications. For reasons unknown, this graphic was removed in the released version. Also, a second key exists in the program which cannot be found in the game. It seems the key was originally going to appear on the 'Entrance Room', but due to the way the kernel displays objects, it couldn’t be used.
The manual also states the possibility of an extra-terrestrial Yar near the 'Flying Saucer Mesa'. This is true and here’s how to find it: go to the 'Flying Saucer Mesa' with the Chai and a parachute. Walk off the bottom of the mesa and drop the Chai when you start falling. The Yar will appear above you at the top of the screen. Uncovering the Yar is required to reveal the initials."

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