Blog:Tunnel Runner (Atari 2600)
It is first-person, but it is not a shooter. It is an adventure where all elements work in unison to weave an interactive tapestry for the senses. A veritable feast for the mind, body, and spirit.
More to the point, Tunnel Runner is a first-person maze game in which you must find the exit while avoiding the Zots, ghastly creatures not at all like the ghosts in Pac-Man. Sound cues increase in volume as they draw near. You can play with random or pre-programmed mazes.
Of course, it's not enough to find "the" exit. You have to find the key and the right door, one of five kinds, all of which do different things.
I enjoy this game and it is technically impressive, but some might be turned off at first by the navigation. You don't move a step at a time. You run until you reach a corner or a door or stop to check the map, which you'll be doing often. And in later levels, you'll find that map isn't too helpful.
Honors. All those highfalutin words in the opening paragraph are completely justified as Tunnel Runner was a nominee for inclusion into the Smithsonian's The Art of Video Games exhibition. It lost out to Pac-Man in its category, but it's nice to see a relatively obscure game get some respect.
Development. Tunnel Runner was programmed by Richard K. Balaska Jr. at CBS Electronics. He also worked on the RAM Plus chip inside the cartridge that helped make this game possible.
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