Risc OS Desktop Games (Gem Electronics) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Risc OS Desktop Games
By Anonymouse
Archimedes A3000

Published in The Micro User 6.06

Bit of a puzzle

The name Anonymouse definitely shows a sense of fun, and I think good humour is what you need if you buy this collection. There are two discs - DeskGames 1 and DeskGames 2 - but if you order them both you get five games on one disc which even then is less than half full. Still, it's not quantity that counts, so let's look at each in order.

On DeskGames 1, first up - apart from the advert - is Icon Machine which is a one armed bandit using the already-seen icons. There are nudge and hold facilities but no animation and hardly any sound. Clicking Menu on the window brings up two options: One to start again and the other presenting the scoring system.

Passing on quickly, we come to Pair Match. This has some nicely drawn playing cards but is the same as Icon Match - see later - except with four rows of 13 playing cards instead of icons.

With despair beginning to set in we get to Reversi - otherwise known as Othello. The board for this is small but quite pleasant and it's easy to grasp the strategic positioning of the pieces.

Four levels of skill are selectable and, unlike any other game in this collection, the options include having the micro play both sides or having two human players - if only the others games had these facilities.

This is the third version of Reversi to appear on the Archimedes, the earlier ones being on the Arcendium by Dabs Press (reviewed April 1989) and Family Favourites from Minerva (reviewed February), neither of which were multi-tasking.

Of these two only the Arcendium version played a strong game - in fact it was almost unbeatable at high level - while the Minerva version was a walkover.

The four Anonymouse levels show a decent gradation from easy to very hard

DeskGames 2 starts with Icon Match which is Pelmanism for one person. Like all the rest, it comes up on the icon bar and clicking its icon puts a large unsizable window up with five rows of ten blank icons.

You click one and it turns over - no actual animation here - and reveals an icon that the program has picked at random from the system pool, so you could get the alarm bell, printer driver or anything that your system has seen this session.

Then you click another blank to see whether it matches. If it does, nothing happens; if it doesn't, you get exactly the same response so the only thing left is to try clicking another one.

Now if your previous two choices matched they stay on-screen; if not they revert to blanks and your new choice appears.

The game is satisfactory but is only single player - it even lacks an against the micro option, and has no sound effects. Clicking Menu on the window gives you the single option to start a new game.

Pontoon - Twenty-one - is a simple card game and this version matches it.

You have single player vs. micro - as banker and as such it is reasonable, but only proves what any statistician would tell you - the House always wins eventually.

Finally, heaving a sigh of relief, we come to Yahtzee. The graphics are again quite acceptable but it's only a one player game, so what's the point? There is some sound on here - A beep when you roll the dice. So you spend a minute clicking the Roll dice and eventually fill up your score card and what happens when you've completed it? Nothing.

Most of these games are a waste of time and money - with the notable exception ot Reversi. Making them two player - even if it's not against the micro - would at least relieve the tedium of playing through them on your own.

Minerva proved you can make good playable and interesting games on the DeskTop with its Casino collection which had excellent graphics plus lots of animation. If Minerva can do it, so can Anonymouse.

Steve Turnbull