Game Review- Bang Bang!

—cannon blasting bliss—

First of all-oh my God. Second of all-oh my God. Do you know that feeling when you have been searching for a game for years, and couldn’t remember the title but the images where firmly imprinted in your brain? For me, this is one of those games. Bang Bang (not to be confused with the song by Nancy Sinatra or its more recent makeover) was a game released for Windows in 1990 by David Litton II. It’s the sort of game that looks like it was constructed on Paint, and in all honesty, that is what I love so much about it.

The aim of the game is quite basic-obliterate the other cannon and come out victorious, so Bang Bang! would probably be most enjoyable if you played it with a friend. There are two cannons, one red and one green, positioned on a randomly generated green hill, and each cannon has a turn at firing, much like an RPG but minus HP, MP and so on. Instead of that, we have variables like wind speed, indicated at the bottom of the screen, and sometimes, ridiculously steep slopes to contend with, which made me think of gradients a lot and consequently the equation y=mx + c. On that note, can you imagine the potential of a game like this being used to teach maths? Thankfully, some educators who see the value of games in the classroom have already done that in the form of DimensionM, which you can read about here. Now back to the game review- you aim at the other cannon by using the Aim! menu, and adjusting a few of the parameters (see below):

bang bang 4

Coarsely adjust or fine-tune the angle and velocity of your cannon fire control to boost your chances of blowing up your opponent

Changing your firing angle affects the direction your cannon is fired in, and the velocity changes the speed. So the game is actually a delicate and often hilarious ping pong match with numbers, but when you finally get the angle and velocity just right, it feels wonderful:

bang bang 2

‘Win state’ in Bang Bang! is represented by a burning cannon and a white pop up text-box signalling your triumph

Of course, if prefer flying solo there is also a single player option under the Game>Configure menu option, and you can also remove wind-speed, divots, and change the hit accuracy depending on how much you want to challenge yourself. On the other hand, controlling both cannons is also a lot of fun, as is determining which cannon you want to blow up. There isn’t an accompanying soundtrack or andy crazy sound affects in Bang Bang! but that doesn’t detract from the overall experience-this game excels even in silence.

bang bang 3

What happens when you’re really bad at aiming

WHY YOU SHOULD PLAY IT:

If you’re nuts about point-and-click games, like cannons, and really miss old style game art, you should definitely give Bang Bang! a go. Warning: it may just give you cravings to play other classic Windows games like Solitaire and Minesweeper.

THE PROS:

  • Simple, nostalgia inducing graphics
  • Technical and precise gameplay
  • Enjoyable even when you ‘lose’

THE CONS:

  • Can become slightly repetitive over time

GAMEPLAY: ★★★☆☆

GRAPHICS: ★★★☆☆

REPLAYABILITY: ★★★☆☆

OVERALL: ★★★☆☆

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*Note: Windows 7 might have some trouble running this type of game, but it seems Windows 8 automatically finds the program you need to play it, so that’s the Windows I recommend.

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