In the great console wars of the '80s, Mattel's Intellivision was severely handicapped by its weird controllers and faux wood-grain finish. The Atari 2600, though technologically inferior, had a lower price, plus companies like Activision and Imagic cranking out tons of future classics for the system. But in 1982, Intellivision released Shark! Shark!, a game that was so successful, it even caught Mattel's marketing department off guard.
Gameplay: If you play alone, you're the yellow fish. If the recent addition of an Intellivision to your parents' den made you several new "friends," one of them can play as the red fish. Either way, everything you need to know to find success in Shark! Shark! is contained within the Chinese proverb which inspired the game: "Big fish eat little fish."
Use that weird little disc-thingy to make your fish swim around, carefully heeding the proverb's advice. To make your fish dart quickly, tap one of the keypad buttons, and off you go. You get points for each fish you eat, and for every thousand points, you'll grow one size, so you can eat bigger and bigger fish for bigger and bigger points.
Could be mistaken for: Fishing Derby, Dolphin, an early animatic from Finding Nemo
Kids today might not like it because: They think they're playing a video game, but they're actually exploring an ancient, complex Chinese proverb.
Kids today might like it because: When their parents complain that they're wasting time playing video games, kids can argue back that they're exploring an ancient, complex Chinese proverb.
Enduring contribution to gaming history: Had Shark! Shark! been released just one year earlier, its terrific gameplay might have helped avert the great video-game crash of 1983. Alas, we'll never know.
Wil Wheaton doesn't waste his time arguin' with men who are linin' up to be a hot lunch.
Image courtesy of Retrogoodness.