Monday, February 21, 2011

Pixelated Rawhide

First, you may have noticed the new masthead.  It is courtesy of Felix Vasquez, Jr., who does the Cinema Crazed site.  I thank him.  Gotta love Missile Command.  Speaking of other Atari 2600 classics ... Stampede.  1981.  Activision.  Oh yeah, it didn't get better than Activision in those days.

Stampede was an underrated game in its day.  In 1981 nobody wanted to play a game where you were a cowboy.  That was "old."  You had to be fighting aliens or something at least current, like communists.  Now, however, you can see the genius behind the game.

The premise is simple: lasso various cattle (the different colors were different points).  Your horse moved and so did the cattle.  You would direct your horse and rider up or down and try your best not to bypass any cows.  When you first start out you can bypass three cows before the game is over.  There are obstacles set in your way, too, like skulls and cows that don't move.  These things serve to slow you up.

As with all the most addictive games, simple is better.  The cows move at various speeds, but there is a pattern to it, so if you memorize the pattern, you can rack up some impressive points (and get those patches Activision gave out). 

I've been playing the game on my PSP with Activision Hits Remixed (and have been very tempted to turn off that '80s soundtrack).  As far as I can tell, it holds up well to the original, though I never owned the game and only played it at a friend's house. 

If this game were to be remade today it would be needlessly complicated.  I believe it could be easily translated to an iPhone, however, if it hasn't been so already.  Its very nature makes it a great game for passing time while waiting for the cable guy to show up or something.

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