At first, Circus Charlie looks like it could be a lot of fun. The attract mode shows a jolly-looking clown riding a lion through burning rings of fire while cheerful calliope music plays, and the game cabinet is covered with decals of the same thing. But is it as fun as advertised? Put on your rainbow suspenders, grab your clown hat, and jump in to find out.
Gameplay: Are you ready to jump? You'd better be, because that's about all you'll be doing in Circus Charlie. There are six different levels, and the objectives range from easy (jumping through hoops of fire while riding a lion, jumping over monkeys while walking on a tightrope) to more difficult (jumping from one bouncy ball or trampoline to another) to nearly impossible (jumping from a moving horse to a springboard and back).
To succeed in Circus Charlie, you'll need to carefully use the joystick to set your speed as you time your jumps. However, that's the only skill you'll need to master, and once you've got that down, it'll be easy to reach for the high score—and to collect all the bags of money on each level so you can give yourself a sensual massage in all their bonus-point-delivering glory.
Could be mistaken for: Track & Field, Jump Jump Revolution
Kids today might not like it because: There's really no diplomatic way to say this: It just plain sucks ass.
Kids today might like it because: Did we mention the jumping? If you like to jump, you probably own a Circus Charlie machine already. If you don't, jump on over to eBay and get one.
Enduring contribution to gaming history: Circus Charlie was ported to the NES in 1986 and Commodore 64 in 1987. However, the bottom fell out of the lucrative Jumping Around Things market, and Parker Brothers scrapped plans for Colecovision and Atari 2600 versions.
If you don't quit arguing, Wil Wheaton will turn this clown car around and go straight home, he swears to God.