January 3

Game: Surround

Release Date: September 11, 1977

Platform: Atari 2600

Genre: Puzzle

Anecdotes: This is the third and final game I’m covering from the Atari 2600 launch, as I’ve got 45 years and 8 generations of gaming to cover and covering everything would be impossible. By the way, it’s hilarious how my PS2 is warning me about playing without a save card. Is a save card really necessary to play 2 minute games from 1977?

Like stated below, this is what NOT to do. Don’t ram you head into a wall.

Description: If you’ve played or Snake, you have a pretty good idea what not to do. Don’t run your head into anything. In Surround, running your head into a wall gives your opponent a point. Do that 10 times and your opponent wins. The best way to get the win yourself is the title of the game. Surround your opponent until they’re trapped.

I got you now! Good luck getting out of this!

Positives: Unlike Air-Sea Battle, the AI actually is competent. While Game 2 is super easy because of the low speed, Game 4 speeds up the play every few seconds, making for some fun, quick thinking action. The time limit is thankfully absent in this game; the object is to score 10 points. I didn’t play any 2 player, but I could see this being a whole lot of fun with another player. The palette used in Game 4 does a nice job of making everything stand out.

Lots of fill on the screen here, but I’m losing 5-1. Ugh.

Negatives: Ok, what exactly are the things being controlled here? The manual just calls them “leader blocks.” It’s not terribly important in a game like this, but it would be nice to know. I didn’t care for the Video Graffiti “games,” but I could see it appealing to kids that just want to draw on screen. There is also a glitch that allows both heads to use the same space at the same time safely.

Victory! It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

Grade: B

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