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the kitchen is a good example. You have to maneuver around
with a dog patrolling the entire bottom platform and a cat on
the smaller, mid-height platform. You have no time to waste,
you have to move as soon as the level starts. And that's at
the starting difficulty. The margins of error only get smaller.
The controls also seem touchy as well. Playing through re-
quires a level of precision that would turn Adrian Monk into a
bed-wetter. There's also my annoyance with the game's colli-
sion detection. Your character jumps and can pass through
the background graphics going up. But touching anything
laterally will mess up your jump. And that doesn't include
jumps carrying you just high enough to collide with things
walking on the platform above.
I hate couching reviews with, ―If you like this type of game,
you'll like this.‖ But that's really the only praise I can give
this. I know there are some people for whom these clockwork
-precise contests are a thrill (I've seen some fan-made levels
for Super Mario Bros. that are real doozies). But I didn't
have much fun. Getting through the levels didn't give me a Gingerbread Man by Fred Quimby (Atari 2600)
Available from for $25
I still vividly remember playing Cannon Fodder on my Atari
Jaguar, where I would get so frustrated, I would literally see
red at times. Flash forward to the Nintendo 64 and Rare's
classic puzzler Blast Corps. That one had levels where I was
pounding the controller on the floor while swearing up a
storm. Needless to say, these are not the demonstrations of
my maturity and composure.
Gingerbread Man had me flashing back to those days. The
subtitle on the label, ―One tough cookie,‖ should be ―One
tough game.‖ It's a platformer designed and programmed by
Fred Quimby, who does a lot of collaborating with other 2600
coders. This game is also my first experience with a title
coded in batari Basic, a high-level language that aims to take
some of the frustration and confusion out of working on the
The Kitchen Level… watch out for the dog and cat!
rush of accomplishment, but a sense of exhausted relief. No
sooner did I complete a level and scream, ―Praise Elvis that's
over!‖ than the new level started and my hopes dropped to
the Earth's mantle. This game is cruel and unforgiving, and
you'll find yourself yearning for friendlier times really quick.

- Peter G

Escape the oven, or you are toast!
You play the role of a gingerbread man cookie. Rather than
being dessert, you have to escape. The game is divided into
five rounds: oven, kitchen, roof of the house, forest, and
cave. Each has slightly different goals, but they usually in-
volve navigating the board to gather objects. In the first level,
you are grabbing objects to toss at the fireballs roaming the
screen. The third has you grabbing pieces of a roof bridge.
There are 19 levels in all, each progressing in difficulty.
The game is designed in such a way that you can jump up
through the platforms but not down through them. That is,
when you can reach them. So part of the game is learning
what distances can be jumped across and where you can drop
down a level. A lot of indirect routes are taken as you navi-
gate the screen. Then, Quimby has added in enemies, some
on fixed paths, others tracking you without being hindered by
the platforms.
Basically, this is an exercise in frustration. The second level in
Gingerbread Man Forest Level
10 | Video Game Trader Magazine | June 2008 |
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