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Count's Castle



So I was making the beginning of Count's Castle for the Atari 2600 (The "lost" Kid's Controller game) when the power went out. I was expecting it to be out for a couple days since we had an ice storm here that toppled trees. It lasted SIX DAYS. For almost a week, all I had to keep myself warm was a gas fireplace. And all I had to entertain myself with was the radio and a Game Boy. Many hours were spent trying to figure out the puzzles in Daedalian Opus and trying to complete the screen in Word Zap. Then, yesterday at about 4 p.m., the electricity came back on.

So I went back to work on Count's Castle. The main object of the game is to correctly count how many bats are on the screen. If this seems a little too easy, forgive me, as it's designed for young children (those who watch "Sesame Street", where there's a character called Count Von Count who likes to count things.) Here is a very early test to see if I could get nine bats on the screen.


Success. The Kids' Controller is just like the keypad only it's bigger and blue. If you don't know what the Atari 2600 keypad is, it looks like a telephone button set up (remember those?) with buttons 0-9 and a * and a # key. So it has 12 buttons on it.

And the reason why there's a 7 there instead of a 9 is because I got how to get the number of bats on the screen figured out. Now I just have to figure out how to make sure if it picks 7 that there are 7 bats on the screen, as opposed to 9. And that thing in the lower left hand corner is Player 0. It will eventually be the Count standing there. But I need someone to draw bats and the "Sesame Street" Count for me because I can't draw. You pixel artists have a limit of 8 pixels wide and no limit on how tall it is (well, it must fit the screen.) And only one color per row. Don't worry about colors, I have 128 to work with. The Atari 2600 is a truly wonderful piece of tech in that regard. Oh, and the bats. They are flapping their wings in a two frame animation.

And yes, I will hide the number of objects it chooses. It's there because I'm still working on the game. And yes, the kid's controller I got working well. I have one to test the game with. In fact, that is why I am making this. I saw the kids' controller with some games at my used video game store I frequent (the same one selling a boxed Video Arcade II for $200!) Fortunately, it wasn't too expensive, so I bought it. And since there's only 4 games ever made for it, I need to make more. Thus, Count's Castle was born.


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