Designed by Bob Whitehead and published by Activision in 1982 for the Atari 2600, Sky Jinks is a time attack video game in which players race their P41 airplane around a few courses. It’s a game not unlike the Red Bull Air Race World Championship that has sprouted up in the past decade.
Flying to the far sides of cones, placed on opposing ends of the game screen, Sky Jinks plays like Skiing, another Bob Whitehead game. Avoidance still plays a large part in posting increasingly better scores but the obstacles are different, well some are; there are still trees but players must also avoid hot air balloons. In what seems to be a slight technical edge over Skiing, Sky Jinks has objects that cast shadows, providing a sense of depth to what players are seeing. Great in short bursts and better yet with a friend, Sky Jinks is another solid Atari 2600 game from Activision.
Lacking an unlockable commercial or even a new gameplay mode, the only goal for players of Activision Anthology to strive for is the unlockable patch, award after completing game 1 in 37 seconds or less, the original requirement.
Qualifying as both a great score attack and time attack game, Skiing was, personally, an unexpected pleasure in Activision’s Atari 2600 catalog. Designed by Bob Whitehead and released in 1980, Skiing was an exemplary game for my friend and I’s ongoing competition, the Game-a-Thon Olympics.
In the early going, the skier seemed awfully stiff because movement was limited to slight degree changes either left or right. Soon enough though, this was a boon. Rather than holding a direction to avoid obstacles, I could instead push in the direction once (or more if needed) and change direction. In my mind, this lent to more “twitch” style gameplay which had me addicted.
Beyond the simple design and addictive gameplay, Skiing had two types of downhill races, multiple difficulties, and even random courses so there was a lot to do before growing bored. A simple game, like Dragster, that’s deceptively enjoyable and replayable. Finally, included alongside it in Activision Anthology is an unlockable patch (awarded upon completion of game 3 in under 32 seconds) and its original television commercial which includes a faux-Frenchman and lots of cheese.