Greetings readers! Welcome to this weeks reading of “The Fair Shake.” Carl asks you to turn off your pagers and cell phones while inside. Back to the Atari 2600 this week for a fun if often overlooked action game involving airplanes, airports, and in some cases, terrorists.
Lost Luggage, by Apollo (not this Apollo) is an action game that has a player controlling an airline passenger who is at an airport luggage carousel, trying to retrieve his luggage. Chaos ensues as the carousel goes crazy, spewing not only your luggage but everyone else’s! Risking life and limb you swiftly try to capture all the luggage as it spews forth. If luggage makes it to the bottom of the screen, all the suitcases on the screen open, revealing everyone’s clothing! Oh the embarrassment… This game is hard and will test your patience. Patience as in, ‘how many times can I restart before I decide to play something else’. Take a friend along and alternate turns as this is a two player game that requires quick reflexes and a quirky sense of humor. I suppose every game need not have incredibly elaborate back-stories. This is one of those games. I ask you to go with it.
Lost Luggage has six game variations along with the difficulty switch position having an effect. Like most Atari 2600 games, a player lacking the owner’s manual would be missing out on this information. Difficulty switch position of “B” would give you control of two people with which to capture all this luggage, while “A” gives you only one person. Game variation 1 is a single player game, while 2 is a two player game, with players alternating turns, however while one player controls the airport occupant, the other can control the direction that the luggage is tossed out the carousel! Game 3 is a two player game, with no ‘suitcase control’. Games4 5 and 6 are similar to 1 2 and 3, respectively, except with the addition of what are called “Terrorist Suitcases”. You thought Kaboom was the only game with a Mad Bomber, didn’t you? These black suitcases occasionally appear, and if they are not caught, the entire game ends, explosively! I’m sure I’ll be corrected on this, but I cannot think of any games that disregard the number of lives a player has left and just ends the game.
Lost Luggage has average 2600 graphics. The player character is identifiable as a person without any details. Maybe they are lost members of Blue Man Group. The clothing is pretty funny when the suitcases dump all over the place, with pants, underwear, sunglasses and more. The background is plain, with a simple airport carousel displayed on top of the screen that has blinking light to indicate an error as the suitcases spit out all over the place. A simple airplane indicates the beginning of the level as it flies across the screen. You figure someone at the airport would come and check on this, but maybe this airport has other things going on at the same time.
A somewhat catchy theme song starts this game off. I admit I’ve caught myself humming it once, or twice. Then again, I find myself humming things like this sometimes, so.. Amusingly, the jet that lands sounds like a propeller plane, so just pretend it’s a turboprop. Catching each suitcase has a scratch-like sound, missing a suitcase results in a repeating noise, as the clothing falls there’s an awful noise that sounds nothing like glass being broken. Game over has the player standing all alone in the airport, with a plane landing over and over again.
Lost Luggage is very similar to kaboom, except it’s played with a joystick. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, as each game has their own merits. This game is hard. Like Rock Band Run to the Hills on expert drums hard. The computer randomly spits out the suitcases, and as the levels progress they are spit out further and faster. You’ll be running back and forth like a tennis player, and yelling at the screen like John McenRoe did to an umpire. It’s a great two player game, as game play usually alternates fairly quickly. Keep the console close by, as you’ll be flipping RESET often. This is the rare game that my mother, a non gamer, would enjoy watching, as my father and I would inevitably blow it and dump luggage all over the place, much to her amusement. Kaboom allows players to get ‘in the zone’, and play for quite awhile. Lost Luggage seems to have a random element to it. Unless of course, you play with the option of having player two control the luggage. I never did.
One overlooked thing about this game is the terrorist suitcases… Hello! Only a year later after this game was released, a real life incident with suitcases happened in an airport. Something tells me if the game and incident were today, there’d be news articles on Fox News blaming video games in general. How times change. Now disembarking at gate three. Go give your Lost Luggage The Fair Shake.