Kaboom! was one of those games that played better than it led you to believe. It had lackluster box cover art of a stereotypical criminal type dropping bombs off the roof of a building. There was truth in advertising there, too, as that is what the game consisted of – a criminal dropping bombs that you had to catch in one of your three buckets. As the game progressives the bombs drop faster and more erratically. It was a scenario lifted directly from real life … or a cartoon.
My neighbor had this game, and I avoided playing it for quite some time despite his insistence that I would “love” it. The game’s box turned me off that much, and even the act of watching him play it made me want to avert my eyes. Finally, after much convincing, I gave it a reluctant whirl. I sucked horribly at it, as to be expected, but I soon found my skill progressing. Catching bombs became, like the activities of most Activision games of that time period (early 1980s), strangely addictive.
The game also had a bit of subtlety which caught my attention: When you missed a bomb, the criminal’s face changed. That is a standard type of touch in today’s games, but back then it was not, and it was that little thing that made this game stick out in my mind. Well, that and the fact that you weren’t doing anything to the criminal, as you would in most games. You weren’t shooting at him. You weren’t trying to catch him. You were merely trying to survive the onslaught of bombs, and he had personality.
Kaboom! was a simple game with simple graphics, a simple title and a simple idea. Sometimes simplicity is all you need to make a fun game, though. Compare this to Desert Falcon and you’ll know what I mean.
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