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China Syndrome

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Released: 1982

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Spectravideo

Submitted by: Scott Reed

I've thought and I've thought. To I've come to this conclusion: China Syndrome is the best game on the Atari 2600.

Or as close as dammit is to swearing.

I stumbled upon this little gem at Hardcore Gaming 101. A fantastic site. It is brilliant in it's simplicity.

All you have to do it keep the number of dots down with the intent of clearing the screen. You do this by 'grabbing' them with the cursor. But them dots keep re-spawning. The longer you leave between grabs and the longer you play for the more they come. So in the end you are overwhelmed, that's your lot. New game.

You can't just rush around. You have to figure it out. Have to figure out how the dots move, how to anticipate them. Or you can just rush around like my mum does. But that's not the point of the game.

Me and my family play this together on my PC. Mum, Grandparents. I can see us all. In one of them 1980s photographs with bad contrast. All smiling with our mouths open around the computer screen. A big obvious picture of China Syndrome on it.

To appeal to such a wide range of ages it a hell of a thing. Certainly when it's just something a daft as grabbing dots. I wonder why it never caught on Tetris style. Hmm. Sad that.

Of course now I’ve gone and raved about it better not disappoint you. Don’t fail me my faithful China Syndrome. Wow ‘em all.