Release Date: 1978
Players: 1 – 2
Alternate Title: Spelling
Model #: CX2662
Programmer: Alan Miller
This simplistic education title recreates the spelling game that has taught generations of children to spell while simultaneously traumatizing them.
I mean think about it, when a kid gets a letter wrong a man gets one step closer to being hung to death, which I would imagine would put a lot of pressure on the kid not to mess up. Thankfully in this version they have replaced the nameless man with a monkey. Wait, that doesn’t sound much better….
For the one person out there unfamiliar with the game of Hangman, the concept is rather simple. The player is told how many letters are in the random word, they guess a letter, and if they are right it shows up in the word and if they are wrong the man/monkey gets one step closer to death. In this particular case, you have eleven tries to figure out the word before something dies.
There are four skill levels that up the potential word difficulty by three grade levels (starting at first through third grade words, and moving up to first through sixth, ninth, and twelfth). If you have a friend (and are somehow out of pen and paper) you can compete head to head with them by trying to figure out the same word, or you can take turns creating a word for the other to solve. Whether you are competing with a live human or the computer, the first to five wins.
The only other thing of note is that when you are scrolling through the letters the game sings the Alphabet Song, which is a nice touch. Outside of that there really isn’t much to be seen here, which isn’t a surprise given that this is one of the earliest 2600 games.