4/1 – Towering Inferno

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Today’s game is Towering Inferno. Developed and published by US Games, Towering Inferno was released for the Atari 2600 in North America in 1982.

Towering Inferno puts players in the shoes of a firefighter in a burning building. Each level is one floor of the building. The player must travel from the entrance of the floor on the bottom of the screen to the top, where a panel will unlock the next floor, so that the player can then go back to the bottom of the screen and beat the stage. In the middle of the floor, fires have broken out and quickly move around the floor. Touching any of the flames will result in death. Players do have access to unlimited water they can shoot but the water has a short range and can take time to put out fires.

Meanwhile, a counter in the top of the screen shows how many people are still alive on the floor. As the player takes longer to complete the stage, the number drops. This results in a risk-reward style of gameplay where dodging the flames can result in a higher score but increase the risk of dying to the fire. Putting out all the flames on a floor could be a viable strategy but likely won’t result in a high score.

Upon release, Towering Inferno was reviewed positively for being a change of pace from the shooting games which were standards at the time. It was also noted as being a non-violent alternative for kids. That said, the gameplay was reviewed as being rather shallow and the graphics were subpar. Sales figures were not well recorded from that era but AtariAge lists the game as being Scarce which they define as not particularly common but not incredibly rare either.

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