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Cat and Mouse


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blog-1571-1119234746_thumb.jpg

 

Ugh.

 

Picture a crossword puzzle grid (see overlay above). You know the type, empty squares (for the letters) and full squares (uh, not for the letters). The players start with their Player Spots on the Mouse and Cat icons respectively, which are already placed in the maze. In one corner of the maze is a "mouse house". (Yes, that's what "they" call it). The mouse has to get to his house before the cat gets him, but must do so by moving through only the white squares of the maze. The cat must obey the same limitation. If either the cat spot or the mouse spot overlap with one of the dark parts of the crossword puzzle-like landscape, they have to go back to their starting position. (NOTE: Please keep in mind that the players are controlling glowing white squares that represent a cat and a mouse and are not controlling the cute little icons you see on the Überlay reproduced (meticulously and at great cost of time) above.)

 

The further the mouse gets before the cat "eats" him (tags him), the higher his points are. Score is determined by little numbered stickers that go around the top and right side of the Uberlay. The score is the sum of the pair of numbers at the end of the column and row of the square where the mouse is eaten. (I didn't use my stickers so as not to "un-mint" my mint sticker sheet, but you get the idea.) No direction is given in the manual for the eventuality of the mouse actually making it to his house alive. Either he gets the maximum points, or the somber bastards who designed the game just had no hope for the poor little mouse seeing his house ever again.

 

Our playthrough of the game wasn't terrible due to the fact that my son and I both have a pretty morbid sense of humor. However, it wasn't all giggles. We started by cheering for the cat, but we soon realized, it isn't about the cat. It's all about the mouse! He is the one earning points. He is the one that must excel at what he does and the Player that does him best, wins.

 

We were simply unable to identify with the mouse.

 

We changed the game to "Meowth and Pikachu" (my son's idea). We made it so Meowth goes after Pikachu but when he catches Pikachu, Meowth has to get away before Pikachu electrifies him into a smoking pile of ash. (get it? Ash? Heh.) We enjoyed ourselves for about five minutes before wondering what else we could be doing with our time. My son also suddenly wanted to play Pokemon Red. Go figure.

 

We had fun, but it was really due to our attitude towards the game and my son's acceptance of the fact that 'dear old dad' is going to make him play every single one of these Odyssey games, so he should try to make the most of it. (I think he also cut me some slack today because it is Father's Day.)

 

Since we didn't have fun until after we essentially licensed the game to another franchise from roughly twenty-five years in the future, I can't give it any points. Ultraman gets it this time.

 

The Score: Ultraman: 4, Odyssey: 2.0

 

Not sure what game happens next. It's either Analogic or Haunted House. I'll know later.

 

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This overlay confuses me. Most of the other games had somewhat immersing overlays, and featured nice although simplistic illustrations. What on Earth happened when they were doing this one? Were the artists on vacation? Crossword squares, really? And what's up with the mouse's house? Just a square like all others? What gives?

 

Another thing that I don't understand is why they didn't include the numbers on the overlay itself. Why would you have to place them yourself?

 

The title of this game makes you feel like there's no way it won't be fun. A cat and mouse. How can that fail? This must have felt like such a wasted opportunity.

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Yeah, this was bizarrely geometric. I still won't unstick those numbers to put on my overlay. I'm guessing it was cheaper, production-wise, to print up another sticker sheet than it would have been to redesign and reprint the overlay.

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The Odyssey limitations (or poor design choices) come to the fore with this one.

Because the Odyssey has no idea if your obeying the games rules regarding the blue maze walls the game is to easy and to tempting to break and just resorts to a game of tag with a grid over the top.

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On 1/3/2018 at 3:35 PM, sut said:

The Odyssey limitations (or poor design choices) come to the fore with this one.

Because the Odyssey has no idea if your obeying the games rules regarding the blue maze walls the game is to easy and to tempting to break and just resorts to a game of tag with a grid over the top.

YES! Exactly. Maybe these games were relying on old school board game etiquette mixed with the novelty of a game on a TV screen to get people through these games. I think there was some playtesting done (the interview with Don Emry comes to mind, if I'm remembering right.) but I don't think it was very rigorous.

Edited by Mezrabad
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