November 21, 2005

Winter Tales

Writing about web page

Update: seems the web site owners don't want people to link directly to the game, so you now have to go via their home page; the link is at the bottom right of the page.

I have a soft spot for these games where you lay down pieces of pipe or track to make a workable route for water to flow or a train to run or whatever. In this case, appropriately enough given the weather, you're making tracks through the snow for a snowman on skis to travel along. Cute.

My soft spot stems from the fact that way back in nineteen eighty something, I invented (as far as I know) the original one of all these, called Pipe Mania. Since then, the game has appeared on just about every platform known to man in one guise or another, including an arcade game, which is something I'm quite proud of; not many games start out life on home computers and make the transition to the arcades. (It also gave me a surreal moment in Weston-Super-Mare when I walked past an amusement arcade and heard my own music echoing out of the doorway as if to summon me to come and take a look.)

It's a very simple game, requiring little in the way of fancy hardware and even less in the way of programming skills, and for that reason it's a popular choice for people who are just starting out writing games, or for platforms which have limited functionality – PDAs, mobiles, web browsers, etc. There must have been a hundred versions since the original came out, some with cool new features of their own, some just straight copies. It's nice to see something done so long ago having such a great afterlife, and since it made a ridiculous amount of money for me, it seems churlish to begrudge other people their crack at it too.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Oh YES loads of fun – I got my mother into Pipe Mania for a little while some years ago – she was far better at plotting long complex routes for the water.

    This wintery one is good … losing points for the discarded tracks though … oooh fiendish.

    Have you seen Rocket Mania? The rockets increase in value the more gems and coins you pick up, the chance to fire multiple rockets…


    21 Nov 2005, 13:49

  2. I think we had that on our acorn at home! Hours of fun!

    21 Nov 2005, 18:59

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