July 1984 - Beekeeper, Bonking Barrells, Space Patrol

Notable Features

"Ultrafont+"!  I remember spending many happy hours designing my own character sets for various games that never saw the light of day. 

Character Graphic games were such an interesting feature of the era. Later Gazette will have some truly impressive examples, but they were generally an expedient way of putting lots of stuff on screen, and making up sets became a fun exercise in tiny pixel art.

The Editor's Notes mentioned the Summer CES and the Commodore "264" and C-16. The gimmick of the 264 was going to be that it had apps (WP / spreadsheet / Logo) and was going to drop sprites and sound. The gimmick was supposed to be non-hobbyist "information appliance" like the Macintosh, though now it reads more like Jef Raskin's other baby the Canon Cat.

Other interesting type-ins were "Quilt Squares" (simple tiling) and "Robot Math".

The Games

Beekeeper - Daniel Gray

This game represents some of why I started this blog: half-remembered fun little microcosms exploring interesting little gaming ideas. This character-based game feels a bit like Centipede meets Asteroids, with a hint of Yar's Revenge... the constantly moving (unless it's up against a wall or Clover) Beekeeper has a short range pesticide gun, but (unusually for the genre) steers left and right. One enemy at a time, either a bee or sometimes a clover-laying crab (???) is a threat in the top 3/4 of the screen. The enemy's movement is an odd mirror of your own. Meanwhile, you're using your peashooter pesticide gun to whittle away at the beehive, and then the sleeping drones behind. So the game play tends to be fly to the wall, whittle away at it, and the duck away when the active enemy gets too close. The sound is kind of annoyingly piercing, however. Rating:4/5

Bonking Barrels - Bruce S. Gordon

And... this game is why I was afraid of starting this blog.  Terribly blinky-and-BASICy overall. You use the A and D key to move left and right, press f3 to jump up to the next level, and f1 can blast a hole over your head to jump through, plotting your way to avoid barrels. The control is bad in other ways - there's some kind of timer running, and if you have a key pressed down when the keyboard is polled, you move, otherwise you stay. "'Bonking Barrels' will appeal to those who want to take a break from fast-actions games which require quick reactions" claims the magazine text I'm not sure controls this bad will appeal to anybody, however... Rating:1/5

Space Patrol - Salvador Alcántara

Not a bad little shooter. UFOs slowly descend, taking turns shuffling downward.  The bases under you scroll but the illusion of motion is challenged since all the aliens never shift their horizontal position. When you've fired all your bullets you can land on one of the bases to refill (having to line up perfectly) but you get fewer and fewer bullets each time. Rating:3/5

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