Don't be fooled by the name. "Blueberries" is a fast-paced strategic game for one or two players. Originally written for Atari computers with at least 16K memory, versions are included for Commodore 64, IBM PC, and PCjr. Two joysticks required.
Picking blueberries might seem to be a pleasant task for children on a hot dusty summer day. But not in this game. You won't have time for a nap in the shade.
First you must plant the seeds for the blueberries. And once they grow into blueberries, you must pick them before they grow into redberries or rot altogether.
When you run the Atari version of "Blueberries," you will first see a title screen which says: GTIA/CTIA (G/C)? Push either G or C depending on which chip you have. (Computers purchased after January 1982 probably have the GTIA chip.) If you don't know which you have, just choose one—you can stop the program later and rerun it if the colors are wrong.
Dividing Up The Farm
Then, in the middle of the screen you'll see the actual playing field, which is split up into two planting fields. Player 1 plays on the upper field; player 2 plays on the lower field.
The very bottom of the screen displays the current options. Pressing the OPTION and SELECT keys will change these. Select the options you want for the game. HANDS means the number of farmhands you'll have to help with the picking. The various LIMITs mean that the game will end once one player reaches that LIMIT. A NO LIMIT game continues until one player loses all of his farmhands.
Once the options are chosen and each player has a joystick (player 1 uses port 1, player 2 uses port 2), the game can be started by pressing START. (One-player games can be played from either joystick port, depending on which field you want to play.)
Meet The Farmhands
Player 1 controls the small farmhand standing in the lower left corner of the top field (that's Farmer Jack). Player 2 controls the farmhand standing in the upper right corner of the bottom field (that's Farmer Bob). Moving the joysticks in the four compass directions moves the farmers similarly.
Try moving the farmers around their fields. You will notice that you can't go through the bushes separating the fields. If you try to do so you hear a noise.
In the upper right or lower left corner of each field. You'll see a small shed where the blueberry seeds are stored. In order to get the seeds, you must maneuver your farmer into the shed. Once you go into the shed, you will be placed outside of it automatically, and you will hear a short, razzy sound.
It's Planting Time
Now you can plant the seeds by moving your farmer while holding down the fire button of your joystick. The seeds are small, long, and light green.
You will have to return to the shed periodically to get more seeds, as your farmer can get only a limited number of seeds each time.
Once the seeds are planted, they should soon start growing into blueberries. The growth of the blueberries is random, however; the seeds that have been planted the longest will not necessarily grow into blueberries first.
Picking the blueberries is even easier than planting the seeds—simply move your farmer over the blueberries.
You may notice, while picking blueberries, that when you run over the seeds they disappear. You are not picking the seeds back up when you do this. What you are doing is destroying them, and they can no longer grow into blueberries.
You may also notice that some of the blueberries turn red after a while. This is actually the second stage of the berry metamorphosis: redberries. The redberry stage represents the degradation (due primarily to age) of the blueberries. Redberries, while they can be picked, aren't worth as many points as the blueberries.
Redberries are less desirable not only because of their lower point value, however. Because blueberries have already aged by the time they turn into redberries, redberries are susceptible to rotting.
Once a redberry has rotted it turns white (although it may appear a very light green on your TV). Whiteberries are not to be picked; in fact, any farmhand attempting to do so will be forced to retreat to the farmhouse to recover from the ill effects.
Each player gains 10 points for each seed planted, 50 points for each blueberry picked, and 25 points for each redberry picked. In turn, each player loses 5 points for each seed run over and 200 points for running into a whiteberry.
The game will end once one player loses all of his farmhands or when one player reaches the set LIMIT. At this point PLAYER 1 or PLAYER 2 at the top of the screen will flash to show who won the game.
Blueberries can be restarted at any time while the program is running by pressing START (on the Atari). This, however, puts you in the option-selecting mode. Press START again to begin game play.
Blueberries can also be played with just one player, and since the speed increases as the game progresses, it can be just as challenging as the two-player game. The player can play on either field by plugging the joystick into port 1 or port 2. The object of a one-player game is simply to beat a high score.
One berry has turned overripe (Atari version).
Notes On The Commodore 64 And IBM PC/PCjr Versions Of Blueberries
The 64 and PC/PCjr versions are the same as the Atari version except for the scoring routine and the berry development routine. The blueberries in these versions have four stages of development: the seed, the undeveloped berry, the mature berry, and the overripe berry.
If you pick the berry before it has had a chance to sprout, you have five points deducted from your score. If you pick an undeveloped berry, you only get 25 points. If you pick the berry when it is ripe, you receive the full 50 points. If you pick an overripe berry, your farmhand becomes sick and you lose 200 points.
In the Atari version, berries ripen at random times, but in the 64 and PC/PCjr versions all the berries on the screen ripen at the same time. However, the amount of time required for the berries to ripen is determined randomly. Both versions require two joysticks to play, and the Color/Graphics Monitor Adapter board is required to use Program 3 on an IBM PC.