Game Reviews
Cowboy Cowboy

Showdown in 2100 A.D.!

The story behind this game is based on the plausible premise that by the year 2100 A.D., we will have developed sophisticated, fully-functioning humanoid androids. The action of the game is based on the equally plausible premise that these androids' primary activities will be to reenact Wild West gunfights, thereby freeing future cowboys to pursue more important activities, such as rodeo riding and posing for Marlboro ads. Thanks to this utopian vision of the future, you can play a startingly true-to-life gunfight simulation, provided you live in a place filled with mutant trees made of rubber and bullets the size of a Honda Civic.

The object of the game is quite simple: kill your opponent before he kills you. However, there are two complications, both in the form of trees. Trees ricochet your bullets like crazy, so often that bullet you meant for your brother android might bounce right back to you. The other complication is that you only get six bullets, (for even though we can build gunfighting androids in 2100, we haven't yet mastered the art of using ammo clips). To get more bullets, you need only to touch a tree that is the same color as your android (again, exactly like real life).

But wait, there's more! Thanks to the Odyssey² Microprocessor, you don't have to have friends to play games anymore! Just don't touch a controller for a short time, and the Microprocessor will take control of an android to challenge you. Unfortunately, since the computer-controlled androids are about as smart as a loaf of stale French bread, you might get bored fighting them awfully quickly. That's why, as a public service, I offer:


Variations in 2100 A.D.!

Different ways of playing Showdown! specially designed to enhance the pleasure of ruthlessly pumping bullets into your opponent:

  • Gladiators - This one's simple enough fun, if you're particularly bored. Just don't touch either controller at the beginning of the game and watch the computer settle its own score. Make bets as to which color will win! Show your kids the "dramatic android death scene" to teach them why they should never misuse firearms! Prevent screen burn-in!

  • The Hunters Hunted - This one is bit more challenging, because you actually have to play. Let the computer control your opponent, but don't shoot your opponent yourself. Make him do the dirty work by getting him to fire into the Trees of Death and blow himself away. There is a special technique below to make this even easier than it is normally (which is still pretty darn easy).

    The Hunter's Stupid - A slight variation on the above, this one shouldn't prove too challenging because you once again don't really have to play or anything. However, the computer might actually win this time, but don't count on it. When the game starts, move one android a little to keep the computer from assuming control. Then don't do anything. Just watch and see if the computer can manage to vanquish an immobile opponent without shooting itself a full ten times. Makes you wonder -- does he not see the trees or does he just enjoy the feel of hot lead?

  • Trick Shooting - Here the object is to kill your computer-controlled opponent by bouncing a shot off a tree first, not shooting him directly. The more elaborate the bullet's path, the better. The best time to set up a good shot is after your opponent runs out of ammo, but beware! When the computer runs out of ammo, it will often employ the deadly effective military technique of Walking Back and Forth Aimlessly. This can be a major problem, because just as you are about to find the perfect angle for a beautiful bank shot, the computer will wander in front of your bullet's path, killing itself prematurely! (This variation can also be played with a human opponent, who will tend to avoid the Walking Aimlessly technique, unless he has the IQ of blade of grass.)

  • Set a Handicap - Let yourself get killed a certain number of times (up to 9), then see if you can still win the necessary 10 battles against the computer to achieve a complete victory.


Violence in 2100 A.D.!


I know; you're thinking, "That's all well and good, but I came here wanting to make my game more gratuitously violent!" Well, I have good news: you can. It seems that even in 1979, Magnavox realized the value of placing pointless body mutilation into videogames. Here's how to do it in Showdown:

  • Kill your opponent so that his body falls next to the screen's right or left border (but not so that his body crosses that border).
  • Now, shoot at his body so that it is forced toward the screen's border. After the body touches the border, keep shooting. The body will be squashed into a compact and twisted mass.
  • Remember that you only have a limited time to do this (until the next round starts). You may want to try it after winning the 10th round, because you'll have a few extra seconds as the victory music plays.

If this desecration is not enough for you, try this:

  • After killing your opponent, shoot at his body to force it into a tree.
  • In most cases, when the body is pushed into the tree, it will suddenly slide all the way through it of its own accord. If it touches another tree while sliding, it will slide through that tree too. If the body touches a screen border while sliding, it will often reverse course and slide backward through the trees. If the body touches your android while sliding, it will drag you along with it. If the trees are lined up right, you can have bodies bouncing all over the screen.
  • This will also only be possible for a limited time, so try it after the 10th round.


Quirks in 2100 A.D.!

Android preparing
to shoot somebody
Android posing for
cigarette advertisement
Android questioning the morality of lawless gunplay
  • Me and my Shadow - This is the special technique I alluded to earlier. If you stand directly above or below a computer-generated opponent, it will usually walk to stand in the same space as you, all the time vibrating uncontrollably for some reason. Shoot at a tree to rebound a bullet into your party. If your opponent is white, he will always die! If he's black, you will always die. In this case, step forward a little, shoot, then step backward quickly. When the bullet comes back, he'll be in front of you and it's "lights OUT, Android!"

  • The Incredible Bouncing Bullet - Sometimes a bullet will get caught infinitely bouncing between two trees. If you get a chance, fire a bunch of bullets into this pattern. It doesn't do anything, but it looks really stupid.

  • Phantom Bullet - When a round ends, a short series of musical tones plays, then the screen resets to a new round, with the players in their starting positions. A bullet fired right before the next round screen sets up will sometimes carry over into the next screen, often with fatal results. With practice, you can shoot your opponents before they get a chance to move!

  • What Price Victory? - This game really rewards carnage. Take this for example: when an android dies, his opponent is awarded one point. However, if during the interim period between rounds, the victor shoots himself and dies, the dead android is also awarded a point. If one player kills the other to achieve 10 points, he is honored by a series of victory tones and color-cyclings. But what do you think happens if the dead android has 9 points and the winner shoots himself while celebrating his great victory? That's right, the dead android also gets a victory celebration! The screen explodes in a jubilant display of colors and tones, serenading a desolate landscape covered by dead bodies. Absolutely horrible!

For these reasons, I have to give this game an SF-18 rating, meaning this is what Street Fighter would have
looked like had it been released 18 years earlier. Make sure you play it with your kids often.