It’s been sometime since you and I have gone hand-in-hand down memory lane, unfortunately with the passages of time real life can sometimes take over and gaming takes a back seat. However, with summer fast approaching and the warm blazing sun high in the sky, grab yourself a drink and come take a walk with me as we look at a game that is as cool as it gets published by one of the coolest companies at the time.
Frostbite was a game released in 1983 for the Atari 2600, published by Activision (purveyors of other fine gaming action on the console). Frostbite resembles a mixture of Frogger and Q*Bert in that your character goes from the top of the screen downwards, landing on floating ice sheets to build up your igloo sufficiently enough to exit the level. What stops you from doing this in a straightforward manner is various enemies that cross the screen whilst you’re jumping, such as clams, birds, and crabs. Touch them and you’re pushed off the ice sheet. On top of this, you have a timer of sorts that on screen is represented as decreasing temperature, oh and on later levels a big Polar Bear that can’t wait to gobble you up roaming freely and majestically at the top of the screen. Who knew that building an igloo could be so challenging (says the person who has never built an igloo in their life)?
You start off with the ice sheets moving slowly across the screen which over time gets quicker and quicker. In regards to the ice sheets, there are two sorts of ice sheets that you can encounter in alternate levels – one which is a larger solitary ice sheet, or the other type being 2 smaller but closer together ice sheets you have to traverse. By going from one sheet to another in a vertical manner, the ice sheet turns from white to blue to confirm you have landed on it, and this as well builds up your igloo. After 15 landings as it were the door of the igloo glows and you can try making your escape. The controls are as simple as they come – you don’t even need an action/fire button! All you need to do is use the joystick in all directions to ensure you land on the floating ice sheets, which again starts off simple but gradually gets more and more tricky as the enemies fly past quickly as well as the ice sheets.
Frostbite is not the most complicated game to play, nor is it the most advanced on the console to play. But the beauty of the game lies in it’s simplicity, with its reactive controls with the joystick and no need or use for the action button. Like most games of it’s time, there is no story involved, it is playing the game on a loop as the speed gets quicker and difficulty increases to get a high score. The high score is not saved on the cartridge so you will need to take a photo to show your prowess but where Activision games on the console really showed it’s class was with it’s patches for getting a high enough score. With Frostbite, if you scored over 40,000 and showed evidence of this you got an Arctic Architect patch which showed how awesome you were by receiving a patch in the mail.
Did I get the patch? No, but I wasn’t awesome back then when I first played this, and to be honest nor am I now all these years later. But Frostbite is a fun game as were a lot of the Activision output on the Atari 2600 which I have a lot of time for. In fact, even with a few minutes spare it’s one of my go to games, and appreciate even to this day how fun the game is as it takes me back to those halcyon days of gaming yonder. If you get the chance, do play this game as your heart will be warmed by how “cool” the game is. Ok…I’ll leave it there.
As always, I thank you for reading this far and sharing this journey with me. Until the next time we meet, pip pip.