Acorn User


Gyroscope

Author: Jeffery Pike
Publisher: Melbourne House
Machine: BBC/Electron

 
Published in Acorn User #046

Every so often, you come across a piece of games software which you suspect was much more fun to write than it is to play and here's case in point.

You have to steer a spinning gyroscope across platforms and down ramps, into holes like those on bar billiard tables (Hands up those who remember bar billiards?). When you've achieved this, you get another screen, with more platforms and more ramps, leading to another hole. And then another one.

The programming is ever-so-clever. The screens look solidly three-dimensional and your gyroscope behaves just as a real one might if you had remote control over it - reacting slowly but surely to a twitch on the rudder (keys or joystick), rolling faster down the steep slopes than the gradual ones, trundling slowly uphill when necessary, and falling off the edge if you oversteer. John Nixon and David Wainwright are to be congratulated for some neat graphics, and a brilliant application of three-dimensional geometry and the law of gravity. But as for playing the game...

I just couldn't get excited about it. I couldn't see why I should want to steer a gyroscope into a hole, and thus I didn't care much one way or the other if I made it or not. I'm not sure what it is that's missing, but all the best computer games have some in-built compulsive element which makes you want to go on playing and doing better. This one, clever though it is, simply doesn't.

Jeffery Pike

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