Release Date: 1982
Alternate Title: Rubik’s Cube
Model #: CX2670
This is a surprisingly robust and challenging puzzle game that will give fits to even the most seasoned of puzzle fans.
Originally released as Rubik’s Cube (and later changed to Atari Video Cube to avoid lawsuits), AVC is a variation on the popular ‘80s toy. Instead of rotating the cube horizontally or vertically in order to line up the colors, you instead control Hubie the Cube Master, who has the ability to pick up colors and carry them around the cube to place them wherever he sees fit.
When you start, Hubie is one of six colors (red, blue, green, white, purple, or orange), which represents the color that he is carrying. You can move him to any square and hit the fire button to drop that color and pick up whatever color you were standing on. The goal is to have the entire side of the cube all one color, which is easier said than done. For starters it can take a little getting used to the whole rotation of the cube, and it is somewhat challenging when you add in the fact that you can’t cross a cube of the color you are carrying (meaning if you are carrying a blue piece you can’t walk onto a blue square). This means that if you are going to achieve your goal you are going to have to plan out your moves in advance, especially once the cube begins to get sorted. Once you get a side completed you are rewarded with some brief victory music.
While the core concept is simple, the added variations turn AVC into one of the deepest games in the entire 2600 lineup. The Blacked Out cube is somewhat difficult since you can’t see what colors are on the cube unless you move to a new side. Of course it is easy, albeit annoying, to get around this by just constantly moving from side to side to get a good glimpse of the layout. The much more difficult variation however is the restricted movement. In this game you can only move up and to the right, which doesn’t sound that bad until you remember that you can’t cross cubes of the color you are carrying. This means if you want to win the game you will have to plan out your strategies many moves in advance. Now I know what you are thinking, and no two variations doesn’t sound that deep in terms of replay value. That said, there are 50 different cube layouts, which makes this an incredibly robust title by 1982 standards.
The score is kept one of two ways, either by a traditional timer or by the number of moves you have to make in order to win. Those moves add up quickly since you gain a point for every square you walk across and every time you pick up a new color. Once you complete a cube and are feeling good about your achievement, be sure to select the computer play game so that you can be put to shame by 1982 AI. Seriously, it is impressive how quickly it solves this thing.
Given the rarity of the title, one can only assume that a lot of people missed out on this game. If you are a puzzle fan you should check it out.