I just found out that only one Atari Keypad controller that I own still works. In the late 1990s I picked up 6 of them for 6 dollars and cannot say I really use them all that often. So when I decided to fire them up to play Brain Games this weekend, I was surprised to find that each one had at least one button broken, except one. I have since moved that controller out of my controller box to a safer spot. Not that I really need to, I only own 2 games that use the Keypad, neither of which I will usually go out of my way to play. One of those is the 1978 Larry Kaplan game, Brain Games.
I do not enjoy Brain Games, even though I thought I did. I picked it up at a Garage Sale a few years back with positive memories of playing it at a friend’s house as a kid. I brought it home, put it in my cartridge box and promptly forgot about it until last week when I was fishing through the box for my copy of H.E.R.O and made a mental note to review it next.
I wished I hadn’t though. The cart has a few different games on it all of them designed to tease your brain and test your mental muscle. Due to the limitations of the technology though, the games aren’t exactly challenging, or if they are, they get boring kind of quick.
I am talking to you Number Sequence Game.
The only mode I enjoyed a little bit more was the one that let you use your keypad to play music. Although that loses its novelty pretty quickly. To tell you the truth, I am having a hard time figuring out exactly what younger me enjoyed about this game, so I decided to give younger me a call on my Back to the Future Novelty Time Travelers Phone (patent pending).
Here is a transcript of that call:
Hey young me, how you been?
Soda Pop and video games!!
Yeah that’s good, I was wondering. Why is it you like Brain Games?
Burger King and arcades and GI Joe!!!
No, Brain Games…can you tell me about it?
High Scores and Fruity Pebbles?!
Listen to me you little punk! Why did you enjoy Brain Games!?!
Star Wars! Star Wars! Star Wars!
Uggh you little jerk, no wonder everyone keeps punching you in the stomach. I’ll see you in therapy in a couple of decades.
So as you can see, Young Me appears to only like Brain Games because he is an undependable sugar addict, who may or may not have had a serious brain injury when he was 5. So while Young Me would have given Brain Games 5 Gasoline Scratch and Sniff stickers (and then probably would have eaten those stickers), I can only give it 2 stars.
It would have been one, but I have to admit, I do enjoy using the keypad for something and some of the games while not fun, are at least mildly challenging.