Like Shanghai, there’s not much to discuss when it comes to Rocky. Based off the popular film franchise, this 1987 Master System game was developed and published by Sega. Assuming the eponymous star, I needed to outclass three rival boxers to succeed. Rocky moved automatically, although I had a modicum of influence. The same is true for the type of punches I threw. Although I didn’t play much I found it quite confusing. A different training minigame took place before each bout and granted a helpful buff if I overqualified. Simple at first blush, I was able to button-mash my way through the first fight and two minigames. This tactic failed me in the second match and that’s ultimately where I tapped out. For such a simple game, the manual implied a convoluted level of control, something I didn’t grasp and didn’t care to. If I did, I would only have to outwit one more boxer to reach the end. It’s a tough, short, and good looking game that I didn’t find enjoyable enough to keep on fighting.
What could’ve been a laid back fishing trip to the piers is anything but in 1980’s Fishing Derby for the Atari 2600. In it, two opposing fisherman aim to out fish each other, which in this game means reaching ninety-nine points first.
Fish are arranged in rows and are worth more points depending on how deep they reside. Getting a bite seemed hit and miss in my experiences with the game, but with a human opponent, this wasn’t as much of a detriment since both were facing the same problem. If one person was getting strikes consistently and the other wasn’t, it could be a tad funny, maybe. When a fish was on the line, managing it didn’t simply entail reeling it in as fast as possible thanks to the opportunistic shark roaming near the surface. A cute and easy to pick up and play game that, like Boxing, is at its best with a human opponent.
Fishing Derby was designed by David Crane who was arguably the most prolific designers of Atari 2600 games with titles like Dragsterand Pitfall! to his name. He continued developing video games until the mid nineties and is perhaps most known post-Atari 2600 for A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia.
As is the case with most every game on the platform, Boxing for the Atari 2600 is a simplistic version of the real thing. Fortunately, it’s easy to pick up and play and well suited for multiplayer.
Viewed from a top-down perspective, the boxers appear to be two Geodudes in a pigpen in the eyes of Pokemon fan such as myself. The boxers are almost magnetically attracted when they near each other, locking gloves and making it difficult to get a punch in. Only through a side to side shuffle does the opportunity present itself to land a punch; hopefully prompting a long combo, but if the other boxer isn’t against the ropes, there’s slim chance that’ll happen.
The first boxer to score one hundred points is deemed the winner and this roughly translates to one hundred landed punches. When I’ve played it though, I noticed points increasing in value during a combo. Then again, my opponent has had me seeing birdies more than once too – only human counterparts though, the computer boxer is a chump. Without a human opponent, Boxing wears thin fast and I can’t imagine playing more of it without one.
Bob Whitehead designed Boxing, and a healthy list of other games for the Atari 2600 that I’ll discuss in the coming days. He was one of the four designers who cofounded Activision who originally published this game in 1980. Included alongside Boxing in Activision Anthology is a corporate commercial that highlights a few commercials interspersed with commentary from some of Activision’s designers.
I don’t go to the movies that frequently but the past couple of times I’ve gone, I’ve seen previews for Real Steel and I couldn’t be less interested. The movie is set in the future where, for whatever reason, robot boxing is super popular. To get their fix, people remotely control robots and watch them duke it out, like Rock’em Sock’em Robots. I find the premise silly, but some reviews have said it’s a pretty good movie, but whatever, I personally don’t find it interesting.
To tie in with the release of the movie, a boxing video game has been released. Real Steel was developed and published by Yuke’s and was released last week on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Yuke’s, a Japanese developer, has been around a long time and wrestling games seem to be their wheelhouse, so developing a boxing game probably wasn’t too much of a far cry for them.
A demo was released for the game and I checked it out. All I had access to was the multiplayer, where I could play against someone locally or fight against the computer. There were a handful of robots to pick from and they looked unique, although I’m not sure how differently they controlled as I only played as Atom, the robot from the movie previews. I wailed against my robot opponent until he hit the floor. He had ten seconds to get back up before I got the win. I knocked him down a few times before I finally got the KO and I played a few more matches.
I’m not familiar with boxing video games but I didn’t have major complaints with Real Steel. The face buttons consisted and light and heavy punches, one for each arm, and I could block and sway with the triggers. I could also do a powerful attack when I held the right shoulder button and pressed a face button. I had a power meter that would deplete and fill up, so I had to keep this in mind. It doesn’t seem likes there much to the game, a very basic single player mode and multiplayer, and I really wasn’t wowed by the game, so in the end, like with the movie, I’m not that interested.