Long time ago, I talked about Brick Game. I was somewhat sad that I couldn’t get my hands on one of those around here, and was lamenting that at the end of the article. Yesterday, however, I found this.
It is almost like the one I have as a kid, except that mine was blue, is in a horizontal orientation, with the screen between the buttons, and … OK it is nothing like my old brick game console. It is also really, really small.
The thing itself functions pretty much the same as my old brick game console though. It is kind of weird that something that used to be more common than advertisements when you don’t have Adblock is now sold as a novelty, a retro curio. To be fair, it was already ancient when I first had one (this article told me it’s almost 40 years old at the time of writing), but it is weird to see something so popular in my late childhood being treated as something as old as the Ford Model T, especially when I’m only a young adult.
The only game I found myself playing is classic Tetris, without any gimmicks. It has always been that way for me, and I’m sure it is for most people playing on this as well. Some other games, such as the one where you are driving a car down a two-lane road and trying to avoid other cars, is just mind-numbingly dull. The Breakout clone on the console only allows the ball to travel in 45° diagonal lines, which means the last few blocks are always frustratingly hard to get. I get that this console has rather severe limitations, but not having the option to bounce the ball in different angles just makes the game irritating to play at the end of the level. The Frogger clone just hurts my eyes.
If you are wondering, the blinking pixel at the bottom is you. The row of blocks moving across the screens are the hazards. This screen is enough to give me a headache without it being 20 times smaller than what it used to be.
I am certain that the console has been made with only Tetris in mind, and everything else are just add-ons. That is why there are a bunch of Tetris variations and why every other game that was ported into it fares so badly. The Tank Battalion clone, for example, has been so watered down in order to fit onto the narrow, simple screen that it is just you driving a tank to shoot down other AI tanks on a narrow, empty field. No home bases to defend, no power ups, no nothing. The isn’t any AI either, the enemy tanks just move and shoot in random directions. I know that expecting a fully-functional Tank Battalion clone on this is like expecting a three-year-old to conduct an orchestra, but it’s just to show that how games have been stripped down to fit onto a console that is basically only good for Tetris.
One classic game that’ll fit quite well on this console that isn’t on it would be Pong. Now that I think about it, I am surprised that Pong isn’t on here, since the hardware is more than capable of supporting it.
Don’t get me wrong, for what it is and how much it cost, this thing is a beeping blinking miracle. Might be just me with nostalgia goggles on, but the humble brick game console never lost its charm.It may be one of the most basic gaming consoles out there after the Game and Watch and the Tiger handheld games, but it does what it is made for and it does it well. It is great during its time, and even now it is not half bad. Better than most mobile games nowadays at least.