Discover more from The Retroist
Springer for the Atari 2600
The idea of a jumping platform game seems so simple now. Nintendo has pumped out dozens of quality jumpers, and just about everyone has made either a clone or an homage to the game based on their simple control scheme. Sadly, before games like Mario Bros or even Donkey Kong you had a horde of imitators trying to come up with systems for jumping that worked intuitively — most of them failed. Springer is one of those failed systems.
In the game, you take on the role of a rabbit named Springer who must jump from rectangular cloud to rectangular cloud kicking off dragons eggs and other hazard while collecting bonus items. Your end goal is to reach the sun at the top of the screen and be burned alive, only to be reborn again (like the Phoenix) to fight on another level. OK, the Phoenix part is a romanticization on my part, but you get the idea.
Ordinarily I like games with wacky premises, but this game is so hindered by an overly complicated control system, that I found it nearly impossible to enjoy it. A jumping game should not be this complicated.
Left or right, moves you left or right.
Up is kick
Down is Jump Down
Fire is jump upward
Fire and left jumps you forward and to the left
Fire and right jumps you forward and to the right
Fire and down jumps you forward and downward
Oh, and if you mistime a jump or are off by a pixel? You die. Plus, you cannot help at time pushing the joystick in the wrong direction (mostly down) and when you do, you usually fall to your death.
This might be OK, if the game had eye-popping graphics or a sophisticated sound system, but both of those are average at best. I spent a couple of hours playing Springer and managed to move forward a couple of levels and I did find it challenging, but at no point did I find it fun. The whole time playing it felt like work. That is why I give Springer 1 out of 5 stars.
Next week I am going to play King Kong, also by Tigervision. I hope that game is better.