Getting Back Into Gearheads

Let’s rewind a bit. Apart from Galaga: Destination Earth, which is shelved due to technical problems, the last game I started but didn’t complete on this blog was Gearheads. Can I polish it off before year’s end? Maybe. I was pretty far along, having gotten through the first 24 of its presumed 36 levels.

Trying it again just now, it took me a full game to get used to the controls again, but in my second go, I started from level 25 and and reached level 30, a special level where you have Disasteroids (the unstoppable killer robots) and the computer opponent has cockroaches. This doesn’t mean as much as it sounds like, though. As I’ve noted before, this is a game that, despite never having been a coin-op arcade game, is built on the coin-op arcade game model. It doesn’t save your progress, and it gives you a limited number of lives before you have to start over. You can start over from level 13 or 25 if you want, but if you can only get through six levels before game over, you’re not going to reach the end.

I recently noted how steady incremental progress kept me coming back to Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal. Lack of progress has, I think, had the opposite effect with Gearheads, making me slightly dread the prospect of devoting effort to it, even though it’s a perfectly good little game, and not even all that hard, due to the luck factor. But my impatience to win hurts the experience. I’m considering spicing up the experience by trying my hand at streaming, thereby transforming my motivation from trying to get a game off the Stack to trying out a new way of playing games in general. It would, at least, add some new challenge to the experience: the challenge of figuring out how to stream a Windows 3.1 game running under DOSBox on a Macbook.

2 Comments so far

  1. matt w on 18 Dec 2018

    I watched some of the stream! Which requires explanation, since I’m in the Eastern time zone–I made some bad choices about grading finals (and in particular forgot just how long the adding it up/data entry phase takes at the end).

    Gearheads kind of seems like tower defense without towers, or is this kind of lane-based combat a different genre?

  2. Carl Muckenhoupt on 18 Dec 2018

    If there’s a genre it fits in, I don’t know it. I think the closest I’ve seen to it is Magic: The Gathering — Battlegrounds.

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