Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gypsy Juggler

I found this game, "Gypsy Juggler" via the Wikipedia entry on this arcade game, "Circus", that I tried awhile back.  I wasn't crazy about it, probably because I wasn't playing with a paddle.  "Gypsy Juggler" is considered to be a spinoff of "Circus", which I suppose makes sense, but I found this game simpler and much easier to enjoy than "Circus".

This game is Pong-simple, but unlike Pong, can be enjoyed with one player (although Gypsy Juggler allows multiple players).  I don't know what Gypsies have to do with juggling, but I will take the game's title for it.  Anyway, the gameplay really is as simple as the title implies: you juggle an egg.  Each time you juggle an egg on your hand or arm successfully, you get 5 points.  If the egg hits your head, you don't get a point.  Hitting a button releases another egg, so you can juggle up to 4 eggs.  The more eggs you juggle, the more points you get for each egg you're able to juggle successfully.  Every time you break an egg, a little chick comes and walks away.  

I'd never heard of this game before reading about it on Wikipedia, but I'm glad that I tried it.  It's a pretty fun time-waster.  As the maker of the attached Youtube bit says, it'd be a natural game to update for cell phones and iPods, since it's one of those games that are perfect for a short round of gaming.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Interestingly enough, there have been quite a few adaptions and clones of the game "Circus" over the years.  I'd barely heard of the game before taking a look at the original arcade version last time, so that shows that I still have a lot to learn about the early days of gaming.  I didn't really care for "Circus", but it's a game that is more suitable for two players and with paddle controls.  The first clone to come out was "Clowns", which came out a year after "Circus". 

A very fascinating thing I've come to realize over the years, was how much the early years of gaming had a "frontier" style veneer.  What I mean by that, is that in addition to designers and programmers trying innovative, new things with this newly discovered and implemented form of technology, there was also not much hesitance in shamelessly cloning and ripping off the ideas of others.  In the early years of gaming, particularly in the arcade scene and in some home systems (I'm looking at you, Commodore 64), bootlegs ran rampant.  "Clowns" is pretty much the same game as "Circus", but by a different publisher, Bally Midway (Exidy published Circus). (Note: Just read that "Clowns" was a licensed game, meaning that Exidy was compensated for Midway using their design).

So, any differences?  Not really.  I did find the game slightly easier to play, and a little slower than "Circus".  It was still quite difficult though.  I do like that when you receive an impressive score or hit a high balloon, the action will pause for a moment while a melody plays.  I think it will always bother me when others refer to these types of games as Breakout clones.  Technically, they are, but in a rather loose sense.  Games in this vein require rather pinpoint precision-like controls in order to be playable, and unfortunately, I do not have a paddle.