I See Your Shiver with Antici…pation


Beth introduced me to the Nintendo game Anticipation, which was first released in 1988. Billed as “Nintendo’s first video board game,” it isn’t the first board game to be converted in computerized form, but it has the distinction of never having been a regular non-video board game. It’s similar to Pictionary, but instead of the players drawing pictures, the computer does.

There are several different boards (three or four depending on the difficulty level), and a player has to solve one puzzle of each color to advance to the next board.

As the system is drawing, a die counts down from six to one. When you get the answer right, the number on the die is how many spaces you move forward. As such, it’s beneficial to solve it on a number that will let you advance to another color you still need. The colors correspond to different categories, but I can’t remember what most of them are. The most memorable category is Whatchamacallit, which are basically rebuses. Obviously there are only a limited number of pictures, so the advantage is going to lie with someone who’s played the game before and has memorized some of them. That’s usually how it went down when I played it with Beth. There are still some she doesn’t know, and while it looks like GameFAQs has a list of them, I feel that looking at it would be cheating. You can have computer players that will guess randomly, sometimes getting the right answer and sometimes not. If it gets the wrong answer, it will show which letters were correct, which can be beneficial to the human players. The player tokens are a pair of shoes, a trumpet, an ice cream cone, and a teddy bear. I was reminded of this game recently by a video from James Rolfe, better known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, although this was not an AVGN video. It doesn’t really show that much of the gameplay, but does make the valid point that a lot of the pictures are of weapons.

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