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Air Hockey (MSX)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Air Hockey or Air Shoot as it is called in game was made by ASCII in 1992 for the MSX. It could be described as a first person light gun version of Pong. The player has the view of an air hockey goal. The puck is moved by shooting at it. Shots are just registered when the puck is on the player's half of the playfield.

The game can either be played against another human player or against the computer. The skill of the computer opponent can be set to 10 different levels. For the main game 3 different modes can be selected. The first mode is a normal match of air hockey. Several games take place until one opponent wins 6 times. This player than earns a set score and the counter of both players is set back to zero. The player who first wins 5 sets wins the match.

The second mode is similar, but the goals are more narrow and are surrounded by bumper walls. Personally I found this mode to be the most challenging. The last mode adds a bit of Breakout to the game by covering the goals with bricks which are removed by shooting the puck against them.

Personally I really like the game. I think the concept is very creative. It feels like a fresh breath of air into the genre. The graphics are certainly not stunning for a game of 1992 but we shouldn't forget that the game was made for the MSX one computer. This computer has limited sound and graphics capabilities as its first iterations go back to 1983. However I somewhat miss the background music. Sure, the original Pong didn't have music either but I would have liked to hear the lovely MSX sound chip doing more than just sounds. The inclusion of three game modes helps to keep the game interesting for a long time and the gradual difficulty levels offer fun to everyone ranging from beginner to light gun veteran.