Fun Zoo (Odyssey, 1972)

Fun Zoo (Odyssey, 1972): "Fun Caged Beasts" just wasn't a catchy enough title.Fun Zoo (Odyssey, 1972): "Fun Caged Beasts" just wasn't a catchy enough title.

Fun Zoo is one of the six "extra" Odyssey games released in 1972. You could get them in a box of six or buy them separately. The first one we look at is a title aimed at children along the lines of the game Simon Says. Rather than write about it the same way I wrote about Simon Says, I ran with the concept that the name "Fun Zoo" reminded me of Sun Tzu.

Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Fun "Tzu" is an enjoyable game aimed at younger players to help them identify the written names of animals with their illustrations, improve hand-eye coordination through the use of Odyssey's controllers and employ morale crushing stratagems designed to annhilate the enemy's will to wage war.

Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest.
-Sun Tzu, The Same Book as Before

Essentially, it is a racing/maneuvering game that takes place in a Zoo with really bright sidewalks. The overlay is eye-harmingly colorful and illustrates 28 different destinations within the captured wildlife attraction. Each turn, two players must race their Player Spots to a particular cage to visit the broken and defeated specimen within. The destination is always determined by the TZU KEEPER who draws the next subject from a ferocious pack of cards. The cards consist mostly of real animals but also contain concession creatures, such as the elusive Popcorn and the mighty Hot Dog.

Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunder bolt.
-That Sun Guy Again, Same Book.

The TZU KEEPER draws the card and says (for example) GO SEE THE TIGER or something like "The Tiger pounces only when certain his enemy is at his most vulnerable" (you can replace the animal "Tiger" with whatever animal is actually on the card, i.e. Penguin, Turtle, Ice Cream). The two Players must then maneuver their Spots though the yellow area (the "paths") without "lighting" any other animal cages on the way. The first to "light" the correct cage with their Player Spot, wins that card. If either Player lights the wrong cage they lose a card and the animal on that card must be "put down" (for a nap! Yeah, I'm sick, but I'm not cruel...).

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.
-Also Mr. Tzu... cripes did he even write anything else?

My son wasn't initially available to experience this game (He was playing Age of Mythology) so I conscripted my three year old daughter, to whom I think the game was most likely targeted. I played the TZU KEEPER and ordered her to the cages on each card using badly accented, cryptic references to animal behavior. ("The owl strikes from above. GO SEE THE OWL.") I drove her to ruin and made her cry. MuAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAA!!! Victory to my glorious empire!!!! No, I didn't really make her cry...

Okay, forgive my self-indulgent babbling. We had a very nice time of it and my son even wanted to play after he heard us having fun. My daughter liked the pictures of the animals, was able to name most of them and, most importantly to her future life of videogaming: she was able to maneuver the Player Spot to the correct cage via the yellow paths... *sniff* makes a daddy proud!

For a mind unjaded by the opulence of 21st century gaming, Fun Zoo is an amusing 15 to 30 minutes of quality time with a twisted father and tolerant spawn-children. Again, I give the point to Odyssey.

Ultraman 6, Odyssey 11

I have two extra games ready and I'm not sure which to do next! Both represent All-American pastimes, it will either be Baseball or Invasion.

Comments

Mark Vergeer
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Bumped this excellent piece to the front page!

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Matt Barton
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Thanks, Mark, and Michael.

Thanks, Mark, and Michael. These reviews really are wonderfully written, with lots of laugh out loud moments as well as unique insights, such as the relationship between Sun Tzu and Zoo Fun (still chuckling over that) and referring to "Ice Cream" as an animal. You've got quite a skill! Always look forward to reading these.

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Matt Barton
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BTW, Mr. Ralph Baer himself

BTW, Mr. Ralph Baer himself looked at these posts and was impressed!

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Bill Loguidice
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Kudos
Matt Barton wrote:

BTW, Mr. Ralph Baer himself looked at these posts and was impressed!

Indeed, and despite being north of 87, Mr. Baer has a great memory and is remarkably sharp for ANY age. Definitely something to aspire to...

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Michael, what is so

Michael, what is so excellent about your pieces is that you show how it is possible to still enjoy this system and the games in a fun way!

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Michael McCourt
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Joined: 01/17/2007
Wow, thanks!
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Michael, what is so excellent about your pieces is that you show how it is possible to still enjoy this system and the games in a fun way!

Matt Barton wrote:

BTW, Mr. Ralph Baer himself looked at these posts and was impressed!

Thank you so much for the kind words and for passing Mr. Baer's comments along! You just completely blew me away. I'll be walking around with a big grin on my face for the next week or so. :D

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