Release Date: 1983
Controller: Kid’s Controller
Players: 1 – 2
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: CX26103
Programmer: Michael Callahan
This cute kids game will appeal to the younger gamers.
This is a kids game that puts you in control of a space ship controlled by Ernie (of Bert and Ernie fame). You are apparently stranded in space, and the only way to get home is to fix your spaceship by matching up four letters that are floating above you with the corresponding section on your ship (apparently your ship is alphabet powered). This is accomplished by moving left to right, capturing the letter balloon with your transporter beam and then placing it on the ship with the same beam. Once this is achieved you are rewarded with a brief animation and victory song before Ernie is beamed to the surface and waves at you.
There are a few different game play options available that mix things up a bit. You can change the letters you must match to a mixed variety (such as A-B-C-D), have the letter balloons move instead of remaining stationary, and have it so you must match upper case letters with the lower case versions. The most interesting option is the two player mode since it is cooperative, so if Ernie is to make it home you have to work together with a friend.
Alpha Beam with Ernie is one of the few Sesame Street games for the 2600, and the only way to play it is with the kids controller. The game did come with an overlay for the controller that shows the kids how to control the ship. If you are curious to see what Ernie looks like in 2600 format or you just want to see what video games were like for the poor kid with strict parents who insisted that everything they did be educational in some way, then by all means check it out.