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Dodge 'Em aka Dodger Cars (Atari VCS, 1980)



Dodge 'Em aka Dodger Cars (Atari VCS, 1980)




This game is about an insane sonuvabitch who has no regard for your life, your passenger's life nor even his own life.


The playing field is a four-lane circular track. The player races around it collecting dots. The player may only change lanes at four points on the track's circle. The crazy bastard in the other car is going around the track in the opposite direction and his sole goal is to ram you head on... That expression sounds familiar in this context, I think Sega put out this game in the arcades as Head On, but I'm not swearing to it, and I'm too lazy to go to klov.com to look it up.


Anyway, this is a fun game. I explained the concept to my son (in the way I presented it above) and he took the bait and agreed to play before realizing it was one of Dad's "old games". It's a good thing that some of these games are worth dragging my son 30 years into the past for, otherwise, he'd write a scary book about me... (Chronogaming...an Abusive Trip Through My Father's Personal Hell was a working title during the RCA Studio II period...)


While the concept is simple, the game play is fast and exciting. That other car -- no, it's more fun to think of it as a deranged driver -- always switches lanes at the last split-second to ram you and cause you and your car and his car, the crazy fool, to explode in a cloud of pixels. You anticipate the explosion; the sound of shattering glass; the flames rising out of the flowing gasoline...


The cart has three games. You against the program, you and a second person taking alternating turns against the program, and you and another person taking turns being Christopher Walken. The third game is the most amusing, because at no point is a person required to just sit and watch. If a player clears the track twice, then two opposing cars are employed, and are both controlled by the other player. How is this done with one joystick? Well, if a car is at a lane-changing point, if it can change lanes in the direction of the given input, it will. It works and makes things very difficult for the one just trying to collect dots.


Interesting to note; the crazy drivers can't make each other explode. We tried to get them together, and it's as if they exist in two different dimensions. It's okay though, either can wipe out the other player's car.


Fun for the whole family, especially those who can't drive yet. It's also a good moment to share any horrifying drunk driving stories you know to reinforce the stupidity of driving while drunk, or of changing lanes to ram another's car head on.


Next game: Night Driver or Why Not to Drive Drunk, Part 2.




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Nathan, that cover is brilliant! Not just for the addition of Walken but the bright headlight effect coming off the car on the right. I wish I had your talent for visuals! :thumbsup:


And thanks for reminding me that I really need to get caught up on my Pinky and the Brain.

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I really love the Walken imagery in this post! Like Nathan, now I'll always be reminded of him when I play Dodge 'Em, and I think that's for the best.


Now I wonder which Atari games can be mapped on to other Walken roles. Outlaw reconceived as "Heaven's Gate: The Videogame"? I don't think I want to find the game that resembles his cameo in Pulp Fiction...

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Thanks to you, I just spent the last half hour watching Walken clips on YouTube! Damn you! :D


This is a nice game. I remember playing the arcade version of it recently (in my own chronogaming). Yeah, I think it was called Head On. (EDIT: Just checked on KLOV, it IS Head On.)


Chronogaming...an Abusive Trip Through My Father's Personal Hell



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