Thursday, July 23, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Anticipation

Anticipation - y'all remember this one right? During Rare's NES heyday, they convinced the Big N to put together a party game for NES. It sounded a little unusual to anyone who paid attention, but as Rare was on quite a kick of dishing out some amazing software back-to-back in those days - Wizards and Warriors, Marble Madness (port), RC Pro-Am, for starters - who was going to argue with something else unusual that was coming down their tube? Yeah, the cover looks horribly dated (this released in 1988), and if I was a kid looking at this at a Toys R Us with no context it would have been an easy pass, but hey - I was of the Nintendo Power generation, alright?

Here's the game's shtick - typical board game business here, I believe it supported up to four players (two people would share a controller as the "buzzer" during the board game screen, this predated multitap peripherals!). Like Monopoly, you'd pick some item to represent yourself on the board, roll the dice and jump appropriately around the different-colored squares on the board. "Solve" 1 of each color and advance to the next level, each color being a different category of course.

The puzzles to solve, of course, consisted of a separate screen where you'd see sort of a computer-controlled "pictionary" or "win lose or draw" thing going on - it would draw out, connect the dots style, so item (toaster, the letter B, a hat, whatever) and the first person to guess it would hit the buzzer and "type" the name before the buzzer ran out. The strategy was to try to guess what you were looking at based on as little info as possible, of course (see what you could gander just from the dots).

Sound a little strange? Sure, but at the time this was pretty fun - and it stood alone in it's field on the NES. You never saw any kind of party-type games on these systems at all, really - I think the closest you got was Monopoly on Sega Master System (and who bought that machine, honestly?)

The game was fine for what it was. I fondly remember it as the one my mother actually liked to play with me (she never was any kind of a gamer, at all!) whereas my Dad would at least get kinda hooked on Pac-Man back in the day. This is the type of game I'd actually even pick up nowadays if they released some kind of sensible update, for all I know there's a tons of titles like it.. Not one to look at in terms of the audiovisual experience, but I could see pulling it out at a party nowadays "for something different" after Rockband and Bomberman are petty tired, to try something unusual.

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