James V. Trunzo
Requirements: Apple II+, IIe, or IIc computer with a minimum of 128K; Atari XL or XE computer with a minimum of 48K and 810 or 1050 disk drive; or IBM PC/XT/AT computer and compatibles with 128K, graphics card, and preferably a composite monitor.
Fooblitzky is a city. The "coin of the realm" is the fooble. The inhabitants of Fooblitzky (meaning you and any other players) are dogs. Except for the Chanceman: He's the guy in the black cape who might give you foobles or a free turn—or drop a piano on your head, sending you to the hospital. Sound bizzare? It is. Sound like fun? You bet.
Fooblitzky is a new release from Infocom, and it's unlike anything previously offered by the company. Combining many elements found in popular board games, Fooblitzky is a computerized scavenger hunt, enhanced by animated graphics. Each player—personified by a dog—must acquire 4 correct items out of a possible 18 and return them to a checkpoint to be declared the winner. Certainly, it's not as easy as it sounds.
Standing between you and success are numerous obstacles, not of the monster type, but more appropriately, of the nuisance type. The Chanceman, for instance, might appear on any turn and swipe one of your cherished objects; or another player may choose to bump you by landing on your space, knocking all the objects you are carrying to the ground, and then taking one of them. You could also get hit by a car while crossing a street and end up in the hospital. Or you simply might have the wrong objects.
If this sounds too juvenile, not to worry. The game's mechanics are amusing and simple, but the underlying principles around which the game is built are the same ones which make Monopoly a classic. The need for logic and strategy are essential and challenging. As a player, you must always observe, eliminate, and plan. You must constantly make decisions. How to move, where to move, how many foobles to spend, what objects to buy, to cross against traffic or to lose time waiting for a light to change are questions that must be resolved. Like a game of chess, it helps to think several turns ahead because you're racing against the other players, whose purpose is the same as yours.
Probably no game on the computer software market today gives one the feel of playing a board game as much as does Fooblitzky. From the spinning roulette-type wheel (which dictates how many moves you have per turn) to the movement around the game board on the screen, Fooblitzky marries the book-keeping skills of the computer to the tactile satisfaction of board gaming. Also adding to this board game quality are the package contents: four colorful wipe-off workboards, four matching markers, the Fooblitzky Official Ordinances, and, of course, the computer disk.
Fooblitzky is a tough game to review. It's so different from other computer games that it almost requires that one look at the entire package before buying it—because it probably isn't for everyone's tastes. However, if you're looking for a game which the entire family can play and enjoy, this 2–4 player game might be the ideal choice.
125 CambridgePark Dr.
Cambridge, MA 02140
$39.95 (all versions)