The Jetsons' Ways With Words

[Title Screen] [Word Preview] [Game in Progress]
"This is not exactly what the public needed; another word game -- as if Word Fun weren't enough. On the other hand, at least Mattel tried to balance the networks a bit with a high percentage of educational titles on the ECS, though by this time I think the network concept had been dropped. Still, it was Mattel's goal to establish the idea of a 'family computer' with the Keyboard Component, and later with the ECS. I just think releasing another word game, albeit with popular cartoon characters and utilizing a keyboard, was overkill. Now a typing tutorial might have been useful instead. I think Mattel was working on that concept with The Flintstones' Keyboard Fun which was never released. Of course Number Jumble would also have been overkill, as the public already had Math Fun. INTV's Learning Fun I and II also seemed unnecessary. That is another story though.
"There is generally only one game on this title although there are enough variations to keep it interesting. The player navigates the Jetsons' spaceship through a network, trying to spell a word by collecting letters in order. In addition to the letters that form the word, there are also random letters floating around in the network. Touching a random letter costs points, and touching a letter out of order makes it worth fewer points when it is later caught in the correct order. Letters change color from white to yellow when caught out of order. On difficulty levels 2 and up, there are also obstacles such as other spaceships, robots, and satellites moving around in the network. Collision with any of these obstacles costs even more points.
"If the player completes a word with perfection (no collisions and no letters caught out of order), a hefty bonus is awarded. The game session is made up of eight words total. The first word in each pair is played featuring night scenery, the second featuring daytime scenery. Every pair of words is played with an additional tier in the network, starting with three and ending with six. The network is comprised of three to six tiers that are connected to all adjacent tiers via teleport ramps. Letters drift slowly along a tier, reverse direction upon collision with an obstacle or another letter, and enter teleport ramps to evade the player when the spaceship is nearby. Robots and satellites also drift slowly, and other spaceships move quickly and on higher levels use teleport ramps in an attempt to collide with the Jetsons' spaceship. Objects do not collide in teleport ramps.
"The Jetsons' spaceship drifts slowly when the disc is not being pressed and moves quickly in the direction indicated when the disc is being pressed. Pressing up or down will make the spaceship enter the next teleport ramp in that direction, and the speed of the ship is also controlled while it is in the teleport ramp and the ship can even reverse direction in the ramp. The player can save/load eight words to/from a tape or can play with pre-defined words from one of three vocabulary levels. There are four skill levels to play on (the first featuring no obstacles) and three game modes to choose from: one displaying the antonym or synonym of each word before it is displayed (Antonyms and synonyms are obviously only displayed for pre-defined words.); another displaying the antonym or synonym of each word but only displaying some of the word; and another not display antonyms or synonyms at all.
"What puzzles me is the fact that George Jetson is the only character that appears in the game, but all the Jetsons appear in the artwork featured on the box, manual, and overlay, despite the fact that Scooby Doo is the only popular character featured in Scooby Doo's Maze Chase. The discrepency between the licensing of the Jetsons and Scooby Doo, both trademarks of Hanna-Barbera, in two very similar titles that were probably released within a short time of each other, is a mystery to me. Does anyone know why?
"The graphics are pretty good for this game. I even recognize elements of the Jetsons' cartoon (such as George Jetson's face, the spaceship, and futuristic scenery) without studying the graphics very carefully. The futuristic city backdrops are pleasant, and the alternating night/day sky is a nice touch. The sound effects, while not resembling anything from the cartoon, are extremely good for an Intellivision game. I like nearly all of them: the drifting sound; the crashing sound; the 'drain' accompanying a loss of points; and especially the ditty that accompanies the accumulation of points. Where the title screen and bonus screen BGM came from I do not know; neither of them resemble the cartoon music at all, but are cheery which is appropriate for a kids' game nonetheless. Despite it being an above-average title, I personally never play this game except for those times when I am in the mood for a word game, which is quite infrequent. Buy it either for collecting or for educational purposes, as this title serves both rather well, but not purely for entertainment purposes." Rating: 3/5 -- Mike Hayes
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