Release Date: 1983
Players: 1 – 2
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: AX-031
Programmer: Steve Cartwright
This game just missed out on being an all-time classic on the 2600.
You are Frostbite Bailey, an unfortunate soul who decided it was a fantastic idea to move to the Arctic without having an established dwelling with which to reside in. Due to his shortsightedness, it’s up to you to help him build an igloo before the sun sets and he freezes to death. As with most things in life, this is way more difficult than it should be.
The game begins with Mr. Bailey standing on a frozen tundra, facing a group of ice sheets floating in the river. In order to construct his new home he must leap from sheet to sheet, turning them blue in the process while adding a block to the pile. Making this task a bit more dangerous are things like snow geese and king crabs, and in later levels a giant polar bear patrolling the wasteland. When enough blocks have been stomped on, Frostbite must make a mad dash to safety before the temperature drops to zero.
While this sounds like a great setup to a winter themed Q’Bert, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, even though there are multiple ice patches in each row, if one is touched then they all turn blue. To complicate things further there is no way to move between the patches within a single row, leaving your only movement options as up or down. It is possible to leap at an angle, but more often than not it won’t be enough to make a difference. When you factor in the rows moving in opposite directions, pretty much all of your movement will be quick straight down then back up, followed by waiting unit they all line up again.
The problems don’t end there unfortunately. The enemies in the water are difficult to avoid and are a one hit death, which limits where you can move even more. When the bear makes his appearance he has a tendency to stay right in front of your igloo, making your landing zone rather tiny since you can’t jump him.