colecovision

Venture

Even on a huge television this dot is tiny – but once you figure out where it is (it’s at the bottom in the middle of the screen in the picture above) you’ll be fine. Each level has four rooms for you to explore, which you enter using white doors. At first entering these rooms is easy, but the further you progress in the game the more aggressive the green squid-beasts that patrol the corridors become. One touch from them and you lose a life, so when you exit rooms you have to be very careful not to immediately bump into them. There’s no way to fight back against them either. [...]

Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom

Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t even be sure that we’re playing the game as Buck! Oh well, whoever may be at the controls, it’s your job to guide their ship through a tonne of dangerous stuff, and the best means of doing this is by blasting the crap out of it all. To this end, the ship offers unlimited use of its cannon, and you can also move it around the screen freely and increase or decrease its speed as you see fit. Each round is divided into eight stages (or sectors) of which there are three types – trench (as seen in the screenshot to the right), open space (next shot down), and planet (bottom shot) – but the object of each is the same; namely, to either fulfill an enemy quota or to finish within the time limit. [...]

Exploring the ColecoVision

Unlike the blocky, low-resolution games found on Atari’s machine, Coleco’s games were like having an arcade in the home thanks to the Z80A processor that powered it. Indeed, many of the games it hosted were arcade conversions and most of them were close to arcade perfect – a term that had to be invented for their machine. [...]

Zenji

At first glance, Zenji seemed to be a simple ‘kiddie’ game, with easy gameplay and cutesy graphics and background music. Then as I played more, I realized it was much more than that. The screen is filled with yellow and blue hexagons, within them are white pathways. You are a rolling white ball with a smiley face (don’t ask me why). As you roll on the paths from hex to hex, you can rotate the hexes 90 degrees at a time, turning the pathways green and eventually connecting them to make one continuous path. After completion of the pathway, you’ll move on to another level, larger with more dangerous hazards. [...]