Personal Computer News27th October 1983
Published in Personal Computer News #034
Some companies make the mistake of trying to put an exact replica of a sport or a game onto a micro, which often can't be done. The more successful ones I've seen are programs which accept the micro's limits and produce scaled-down versions. These frequently turn out to be great fun to play, and Pool is in this class.
The name of the game is aiming, of course, and sinking the pool balls into the pockets. The game offers one-player and two-player options.
The scaling down means that you have just six coloured balls on the table at the start of each frame, three red at 10 points and three blue at 20 points.
After a few bars from The Sting you're ready to play. You aim by moving a small white triangular market round the edges of the table, this being your sight and the direction in which the cue ball will travel. The marker is moved clockwise with the 'S' key and anticlockwise with the 'A' key.
Once you're happy with the sighting you can then set the strength of the shot from one to five using the 'L' key. With everything ready you make the shot using ENTER, and of course you miss the pot and the balls click and bounce.
The format of the game is simple in that you have three cue balls and three shots per ball - unless you sink a colour, when you have three more shots. Pot all six colours and you move on to the next frame. Each ball potted scores the value of the ball multiplied by the frame number multiplied by the shots remaining.
Most important, though, is the accuracy and entertainment value of the game, and these seem to be first class. Apart from the odd loss of colour while the balls are moving or passing close to one another, the result of each shot is just what you might expect from the real thing, i.e. in my case disastrous. They bounce off each other or off the cushions at realistic angles, each time accompanied by the appropriate click or bump, and the whole game has a satisfying authentic feel about it. Each ball potted is stored in a box at the foot of the screen, and there's a high-score record at the top along with the current score.
It may not turn you into a Paul Newman or Steve Davis, but although it's simple Pool is well done and good fun, the kind of game I wanted to continue playing.