Sunday 24 May 2015

The Electric Company: Word Fun! (Intellivision review)

Developer: APh Technological Consulting
Publisher: Mattel
Released: 1980

The Electric Company: Word Fun is a collection of three educational games that was released a year after Math Fun (Intellivision).

First up is Crosswords where each player has a random sequence of letters and you have to make words from them; the longer they are the more points you get. The words stay on the grid and the other player can add to them (i.e. use syllables) to form completely new words. It's surprisingly fun and doesn't outstay its welcome as the winner is declared after 20 moves. The letters on the side of the board for player 2 tend to blur into the dark background though and sometimes it's difficult to see whether you have a H, an A or an R as they all look alike! Next up is Word Hunt and each player controls a monkey who needs to run around collecting letters and dropping them off in the scoring area at the bottom to form words. There are only 15 letters on screen at once and the timer counts down from three minutes so it can be quite intense as you race each other to grab what you need! The sound effects take on a jungle theme but they're incredibly off-putting as you're trying to concentrate on making words. Lastly, there's Word Rockets. The objective is to complete the words scrolling across the top of the screen by moving your grounded vehicle, picking up the missing letter from a choice of four and firing it upwards to complete the word. This is probably the weakest game on the cartridge, mainly because it's difficult to read the letters due to the dark background and the crappy RF signal on the Intellivision! The game also lasts too long as it keeps going until someone eventually completes 50 words.

The Electric Company: Word Fun won't blow you away but it's a decent 2-player distraction for a few minutes. Although each mode is limited the developers should get credit for trying to implement some action to the gameplay; try it if you're looking for something a bit different.

Random trivia: This is one of a few games that do not work on the Intellivision II console due to an inadvertent bug in the system that was only supposed to stop early Coleco produced titles from working.

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