Octopus (Nintendo Game & Watch, 1981)
Octopus was one of the thoroughbreds in the Game & Watch stable and certainly for me, one of the most addictive. Created by game designer Gunpei Yokoi for Nintendo, this game was released as part of the widescreen series, being slightly wider than the previous ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ editions. The single Game & Watch consoles, such as Octopus, had a small metal stand which allowed it to be displayed upright. Each of the games had a clock and an alarm, which was the basis for the title, Game & Watch.
The goal of the game was to scoop the gold coins from the sunken treasure into your bag and get back to your boat, while evading the Octopus’ probing tentacles. Each dip into the treasure chest to fill your loot bag earned you one point and upon return to the surface you were awarded with a bonus three points for your efforts. At 200 or 500 points, additional lives can be gained which equated with significant scooping and evading action. If you were unlucky to be caught, a life would be lost and those remaining divers in the boat above would be deployed until none were left, at which point it was Game Over.
The interface for this game was very simple, with two buttons ‘left’ and ‘right’ to navigate. The Octopus had only 7 tentacles on display, where only 4 were used at any time to try to grab you. The game steadily increases in pace over time however there was a brief respite at every 100 points when it momentarily slowed down.
Without doubt one of my favourites from the 80s Game & Watch dynasty.