Atari 2600 – Name this Game


What a great title…


This game was published by U.S. Games in 1982 and they held an interesting competition:
-Come up with the best name and win 10k $.-
Sadly, they went bankrupt shortly after a winner was never announced.
The game was later released in Europe under the title ‘Octopus’.
Fun fact:

In 1994 Digital Press held its own naming contest for the game; the winning title, coined by Russ Perry Jr., was Going Under – referencing not only the game’s content but the fate of its publisher. (via Wikipedia)

Well played Russ!

You control a diver who has just discovered a treasure in the deep ocean.
This somehow caught the attention of a shark and an enormous octopus.
It’s your goal to protect it against them.
The shark will swim down towards you (kinda like a space invader) and gain speed the closer he gets.
Shoot him before it’s too late.
The octopus’ tentacles will also reach downwards and you have to shoot them.
They retreat one by one after every successful hit.
And if that isn’t enough already, you also lose air.
Thankfully, your partner on the surface will drop air tanks on a line (?) that you need to collect.
After doing this for some time you’ll move on to the next stage.
Plays exactly the same but enemies are faster.
The game is over once you’ve lost all your gold (after three hits).

First of all, that’s a great concept.
Having to deal with so much sh*t right from the start and never having time for a breather makes for some tight gameplay.
I also like the octopus’ design with his creepy smile and your partner looks like he’s on cocaine.
He really shouldn’t be that happy to be in this situation.
Heck, I even like the constant *bleeps* that get more frequent the closer you’re to death. Reminds me of ‘Jaws’ which is very fitting.

What drags this one down is, like so often, the abundance of gameplay variations.
You can only choose between different difficulties and the same old ‘controller-switcheroo’ multiplayer mode.
Doing the same thing over and over can be fun (Frogger, Pac-Man etc.) but Name this Game just isn’t addictive or charming enough.
I still like the idea and execution so…
Try it!





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