Platform: Atari 2600
Controller: Mando default de consola.
Early 80s, the Atari 2600 console still reigns the console videogame market, but the saturation of titles available for the system, forces the companies to design ways to distinguish themselves from other companies.
The company Amiga, tries its luck with a special controller called Joyboard. We are writing this entry about one of their three titles (actually, all of their titles) which used that controller, this one being the one about skiing.
Sports like skiing are quick choices for videogames, and in particular, for a controller like the joyboard. So, with the olympic hymn at the intro, commonplace at the time in videogames, because of being close to the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, we’ll write about the skiing game.
The Joyboard, advertised with the motto “move your body, not only your fingers” because it was a system with 2 pedals where the videoplayer bounced forward, backward or horizontally. Equivalent to the ones of a traditional joystick.
This was on purpose, because the titles were also played with a joystick in case the joyboard malfunctioned. The problem was the games could feel a bit silly when played with joystick.
The videogame provides a first-person view of the snow course, just like a real skier could see. Running the course in the least time possible passing thru the gates is the main objective of the game.
The control schema is simple enough: the joystick up accelerates, down brakes, to the left the skier moves to right, and the joystick to the right moves the skier to the left. This is because in real life that is how a real skier would move. So it had to be implemented in the joyboard that way.
It’s possible to see how many gates are left in the course at the top screen, along with the elapsed timeand the speed.
With the difficult switches, it’s possible to change some aspects of the game. One is the penalty for missing a gate, in easy setting the penalty is 5 seconds, in the hard one it’s the maximum value of 9:59, although you must finish the course. This is too much to me.
Other variation is the sensation of going in a plain downhill, or with moguls (hence the name). The second choice translates in the screen as the gates looks with different height as the player approaches. This also applies to speed.
A match gives the videoplayer two tries to get the least time. There are 9 different courses to try.
The videogame by itself is not bad, but it was quite notorious that the company Amiga hoped too much for the success of the special controller. According to some reviews, this controller was not very practical. There have been future controllers based in similar ideas, but for other consoles.
Videogame recommended as a curiosity to play during winter and feeling like a skier.
Console Icon taken from Retroarch.
Image of control taken from Atarimania.