Steven Spielberg is known for his many hit movies, one of which was the 1984 film “Gremlins” about cute, furry critters that could be turned into scaly, nasty monsters if they eat food after midnight.
This film was so popular it just had to have a video game. Right?
Atari ended up getting the rights to make a “Gremlins” game, and the company did a good job, in 1986 releasing the game on the classic Atari 2600 system and on the newer Atari 5200.
Unfortunately, by this time the video game craze had bottomed out and this “Gremlins” game never had the opportunity to become a hit. Still, “Gremlins” was a lot of fun to play and it had quality graphics on the Atari 5200.
Gameplay seems simple at first, but it can become quite frantic. The player’s character is in a room with several of the cute, fuzzy Gremlins. About the room are pieces of food and puddles of water. If the cute Gremlins eat the food, they turn into the monster Gremlins. If any Gremlin touches the water, it splits into two Gremlins. The player’s job is to gather up the good Gremlins and place them into a container, or to use a sword to kill the bad Gremlins. There is a timer of sorts. The player has to accomplish his or her tasks before six in the morning, or at least try to survive until then because the bad Gremlin monsters can kill you.
It’s easier said than done, especially at higher levels when furniture and other items have randomly spawned about the room and get in the player’s way.
Still, loads of fun can be found here, and with practice comes skill at the game.
The Atari 2600 did not have quality graphics, but that’s not unusual for 2600 games. The Atari 5200 version of “Gremlins,” on the other hand, had fantastic graphics equal to many arcade games of the day.
In years to come there would be other video games based upon the “Gremlins” movie and it’s 1990 sequel, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” but these early ones by Atari are still great to play.