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Released: 1980

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Sega/Gremlin

Developer: Sega

Submitted by: Nick DeMarco

Carnival is another one of those early memories I have of video games and the Atari 2600 console. I can still remember the box for the console, an original six switch, sitting on top of a closet in my big sister’s room, as we all sat around the television and played this game for hours. Think about it, when you’re a kid, what is one of your favorite things to do in the summer time? Of course, go to the carnival and play games!

Carnival is a shooter that pits you the player with the task of shooting at items as they scroll by. You can collect points for hitting the items, as well as when things like extra ammo and points flash by the Ferris Wheel in the left hand side. But be careful, because if you don’t time your shots right at the wheel, you can lose points and ammo. The game ends when you’ve run out of ammo, and rounds end when you’ve shot down everything in the gallery.


To this day there are still some things I don’t understand, like are those teddy bears or owls, and why do those ducks turn into those yellow ghost bird looking creatures? It was a neat twist for sure, but it just seems so out of place, but hey, this is the Atari 2600 and we’re talking 1980. Who knows what these programmers were smoking as they were trying to sneak in code or anything they could so that their contributions would be acknowledged.


Carnival is a fun game, but the entertainment value only lasts so long before it wears off. Good for a rainy day or a nice introduction game for younger gamers interested in the classics.