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Bobby is hungry / Bobby needs food (Atari 2600)

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.

The homebrew Bobby is hungry (also known as Bobby needs food) was made in 2005 by AtariAge user belial for the Atari 2600. belial describes the game as a Moorhuhn clone. Searching the forum one can clearly see how close belial staid to the community over the whole development process. Suggestions for the game were all read and many of them were implemented in later versions.

The game shows the horizon of a landscape at dusk. The rhomboid sun slowly goes down and acts as an indicator for the time limit. The player uses a semiautomatic gun with 4 shot capacity. When the magazine is empty the weapon can be reloaded by shooting the ammunition icon near the center of the screen. The on screen reticle is permanently visible and therefore reminds me of Demolition Man for the 3DO which I reviewed in episode 68. In contrast to the reticle in Demolition man, in Bobby is hungry, it serves a purpose and has a reason to be visible: It indicates the hunting season. If it is red, just red birds should be shot and if it is green, just green ones. Shooting birds of the wrong color will subtract points. Shooting big birds will yield one point, whereas shooting small birds yields two.

Personally I like the game. It is simple but lots of fun. The graphics and sounds are noting special even for an Atari 2600 game, but this wasn't the aim of this program. Bobby is hungry is very competent in what it does and I highly appreciate that.

I was able to do an interview with the creator of the game, belial. In this interview segment I am trying something new, by paraphrasing the interview in audio, while showing the original questions and answers in video.

I asked belial whether he is still into video games. It turns out he is, but as for so many of us, it is getting difficult for him to find time for it. The cool thing though is that he is still developing software and also tinkers a bit with hardware.

In the internet two names for his game are used: “Bobby needs food” and “Bobby is hungry”. belial told me that "Bobby is hungry" was the real name all along, but that he wrote the other name as a forum title at AtariAge presumably out of sheer sleepiness and that the name stuck somewhat to the game.

When asked whether belial likes Moorhuhn and whether he tried one of the light gun versions of it, he told me that he never did, but that he had a certain fondness for light guns in general. When he was studying computer science he stumbled across some Atari 2600 documentation and decided to do a light gun game. As he liked the PC version of Moorhuhn he decided to take it as an inspiration.

"Bobby is hungry" was not the last game belial did. He went on to do games for the Game Boy, the Atari 2600, the PC and his smart phone. Furthermore he patched the NES ROM of Zelda to make it more enjoyable to him.

The title "Bobby is hungry" is a tribute to “Bobby is going home” a game belial really liked as a child. He had his Atari 2600 before he got a NES, and “Bobby is going home” was for him sort of a substitute for Super Mario, which he would have loved to play.

belial did "Bobby is hungry" in 2005 when the Atari 2600 had already faded away from the marked for well over 10 years. Today belial still enjoys old gaming platforms and spends time with NES, Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Atari 2600 but also plays DOS games.

I played a lot of Atari 8 bit light gun games. Some of these require a level of precision and accuracy the system is not capable of. belial's game is different and plays great. Interestingly he never played the flawed games and designed his game better than those just by common sense. Furthermore he listened to the feedback he received from players and adapted later versions of the game.

Although being an Amiga enthusiast, belial never played the great Amiga light gun games. He was able though to test the Nintendo Zapper in a shop when he was a child.

My acknowledgement goes to belial for doing this lovely interview with me.