ACME Animation Factory

ACME Animation Factory

Suckering succotash!

I’ll preface this by saying the score is barely a reflection of this game. For that matter, even calling it a game is a bit misleading. This isn’t a game meant to be beat, but is more meant for creativity and relaxation. However, I would have trouble scoring it based on that since it would dull the flaws. Poor handling is less of a detractor when you’re not avoiding obstacles or skidding off a cliff. This game has a few options, though only one actually (barely) counts as a “game” in my definition. We’ll save that for last.

ACME_1The entire game is mostly a creation studio. You can create a drawing, make an animation, and match those with your own constructed sounds. Since this obviously revolves around the Looney Toons universe, you’ll be creating using their characters. I focused on Marvin Martian and K-9 and tried to recreate them as close to their originals as possible on a psychedelic planet. It wasn’t super creative, but it’s amazing how quickly you run out of colors. There are fifteen preset colors, but you can modify them with a neat in game feature. This will change all colors on the map that used the original to the new color. Because of my character choice, I ended up using five out of my fifteen colors on green just to get some shading right. At this point there was no doubt I was a generation past the intended audience.

After making my background I decided to create an animation and add it to the picture. With the limited options, the only real choice for the martian planet was another Marvin Martian. ACME_2I think in hindsight I should have created one as evil with a color swap and some back story, but the artistic juices just weren’t flowing then. In the animation studio you have multiple frames contributing to the animation. You can color each slide individually and then play it to see how they all blend together. It’s the equivalent of a flip book, and would probably be a pretty exciting concept to me twenty some years ago. This is the only time during the artistic process that the games handling had me flustered. The particular animation I had was of Marvin pulling out his laser pistol and shooting. This includes him twisting his foot into a position that made coloring the red outline of his shoe a significant chore. Trying to get a standard controller to a single pixel takes the patience of a Buddhist monk making a sand mandala. It is compatible with the SNES mouse though, so at least some kids were saved this frustration.

ACME_3The last thing that was needed to complete my masterpiece was the background music. The game provides some simple drum, guitar, piano and wind instruments. From here you place the sounds on the staff to change their scale or octave. I spent very little time on this part since I didn’t want to get carried away with an orchestral recreation of a Tchaikovsky symphony in bleeps and bloops. In about an hour or two I had created something that I felt explored the creative gameplay options and felt I could move on to the “game” component.

Simply put, the “game” amounts to randomly clicking on boxes and hoping you win. It’s like a glorified scratch off ticket. The idea is to find matching Looney Toons characters before you click on three bad boxes, but there never seemed to be any pattern. You simply clicked around until you you either won or lost, with nothing to inform your next click. ACME_5However, since this was the only thing that was beatable, I figured it would be a nice end to the experience. The puzzles have a time limit which actually does come into play if you aren’t paying attention. I went with the 3×6 setup for easy clicking which meant there were 18 possible boxes. I believe there were 4 possible “bad” boxes leaving 7 pairs to find. Since it didn’t matter where I clicked, the entirety of the game devolved to being lucky enough to click 16 different boxes without clicking three bad boxes, while remembering where the pairs were. Assuming that I could remember the pairs before the time ran out, it just became a game of numbers. To win it requires two of the four bad boxes to be the two boxes I don’t click on.(Let’s call these boxes A and B) At the start, the chances A is a bad box is obviously four out of eighteen. Now B is one of the remaining seventeen boxes and there are three bad boxes left, leaving its chance of being a bad box at three out of seventeen. The odds of both being a bad box is then (4/18)*(3/17) or roughly 4% chance.  After more time than I care to admit, I eventually prevailed, simply to be returned to another set of boxes.

Overall the game itself was fine for its genre. I could see it being mildly enjoyable as a kid since it was about Looney Toons, fairly basic, and easy to use. However, that would really only be the case if it was readily available. I can’t imagine a kid wanting to go out and actually have their parent buy this. The main component of the game is basically a limited coloring book. The animation part is also just a coloring book, and the music section would not maintain any kids focus for more than a few minutes.  The matching game, if we’re still willing to call it that, is probably credited with more broken controllers and beaten siblings than hours of fun.

 

 

The Verdict

4.2Poor

The Good: Short, Multiple Modes, Color Changing, No Objective, Relaxing

The Bad: Limited Replay, Rough Handling, Bad Puzzle

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