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Pigs in Space

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Released: 1983

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Aspromonte / Zdybel / Russell

Submitted by: Michal Mozejko

If you are old enough to remember how popular the Muppets were back in early eighties, and were so lucky to own Atari 2600 console back then, there is a big chance you have not missed the opportunity to pick up
Atari's own Pigs in Space cartridge. In the time when american videogame giant was sweeping all the major franchises on the market out of rivals floor, it comes as no surprise they managed to get their hands on Miss Piggy. It sounds suspiciously too exciting for all of Muppets fans, that backed with the knowledge
of videogaming industry (oh, can't believe how much smarter we are now, over twenty years after the fact ;)) it is easy to predict what was the outcome.

Yes, the final effect was a nightmare. Developers decided to play it safe, and have chosen the proven track. There must have been a lot of arguing between them though on the planning stage, as the final product is not just one game, and basically consists of three games selectable from the neat title screen: one being Space
Invaders variation, second having a feel of Frogger in space, with the last being a Vanguard clone. The good thing about being given such choice is, that if you are lucky enough to actually enjoy any of these, at least you can skip the other two, but programmers seemed to be smarter than reviewers from the future, and made it extremely hard to pick the favourite of the selection, because they are all done wrong! Let's have a look at the third game: it's probably the closest you could ever get to depicting a space flight (point for that) as it is so sloooow. Yes, you are flying, flying, flying, then you see Gonzo at the side of a space
corridor, but the game still gives you about three hours to contact your commander on the radio, call Ronald Reagan, and then you are ready to shoot the missile. Most of the time you succeed, so it's back to flying, until you approach Gonzo again. In the meantime you could watch a Muppets episode.
That is if you did NOT have enough of Muppets already.

Ok, so those games were actually designed for kids, the label even features that square pattern background (hmmm, does it sound familiar?) that Atari was using for the games aimed at children, but it's hard to imagine a kid entertained by Pigs in Space. Unless that kid is insane like me.

Because i have to confess, for the reasons that are far beyond my understanding i really like this game. With all the damage that videogaming has done to my brain in the early days, i can easily forget about all the flaws included within plastic case of Miss Piggy's own cartridge, and enjoy the defective gameplay.

But i have the feeling, you will not likely share my appreciation for this little gem, and quickly switch to full of colour and intense action Nintendo shoot'em ups. So, consider yourself warned!