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Forums > Submission Feedback > Felix_Arabia's Hangman review

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Author: aschultz
Posted: September 09, 2009 (08:54 AM)
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Hooray for Atari 2600 reviews! I found Sneak 'n Peek to be substantially the funnier and more entertaining of the two reviews, but I had little to say other than "nice job."

I had more to say about this one, so here goes.

I don't fully agree with your opening statement, that it could be exciting today but wasn't back then. The reverse is true. I remember it took a lot of time to make word guessing, etc. work. And to me one of the big points of Hangman is: smaller is better. You may get tripped up on a word. There's a basic strategy--choose ETOAN and then see about vowels and consonants--that makes hangman an exact affair.

Quite simply, though, I think Hangman is a great try for an early Atari game, because shorter is better. A lot depends on how many wrong choices you get--and probably this is my more technical side asking the question--does the # of mistakes allowed make the challenge too reasonable, or too hard? Can you change the allowed # of mistakes for difficulty level, or do you just get a time limit? This would actually be a useful difficulty switch as opposed to the 50+ useless Space Invaders options, say.

...and of course tyro programmers often found Hangman in a Learn Basic Now book, or wrote their own. It was one of those basic programs to learn to type, but someone did it in Assembly way before then. And it still makes its way into minigames. I'd be interested in disassembling this to see how they put the words in, and to see which words occur with which frequency.

Now whether Hangman's still any fun or not is open for debate--or if there are different difficulty levels to mix it up, or such. But looking at the ROM image they seem to have done a nice job compressing the data so there'd be a good number of words.

As your review says, there isn't a whole lot to say. It's a good job not running on about it, and it's tough to put yourself in a frame of mind of what things were like 30 years ago. But unfortunately that admission does make a review--which should be short--seem abortive.
And given your Adventure review where you mentioned "Hey, it was a great achievement for the time" (it was) you are changing your philosophy a bit quickly here--or maybe you need to flesh it out. They had to make a compromise between word length and number of words, and this affected playability/challenge.

My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips

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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: September 09, 2009 (04:17 PM)
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I don't quite follow what you're saying. I think a word guessing game could be far more entertaining in this day and age because it could implement a all sorts of superficial elements through aural and graphical displays. It could also afford more than six letters per word. Granted, the game would probably still be pretty pointless. Maybe it could be included in a grand compilation of other simple games like sudoku and mahjong, and maybe it could be packaged with hardware for several thousand bucks like that one piece of crap Randxian had linked in his blog.

Anyway, if I made the review any longer, I'd have to shoot myself. It's for a game about word guessing. You may be the sole person in the universe who would analyze the difficulty of this game.

And last, Adventure was a game . . . about adventuring. Hangman is a freaking word guessing game. Even for 1978 or whenever it came out, that's a huge difference.

Thanks for reading!

I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.

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