Video Game #13: Monster Madness
It appeared one night on the bar of the Midtown Tavern, and quickly devoured the few remaining pinball machines in the back. Compact and full of dozens if not hundreds of titles, touchscreen arcade games had finally arrived by the mid-1990s. Most of what they had to offer (trivia, photohunt, card and casino games) were simply time killers for inebriated patrons. However, among the many selections were a number of fast, breezy—and highly addictive—puzzle games. The kind that soon migrated to computers and iphones and ipads and are now called, collectively, casual games.
Back then, however, the only place to play them was on the machine sitting on the bar, and the company that came to dominate the market was Megatouch — with the help of games like Monster Madness, a pattern recognition game that was something of a reverse Tetris. (Or, as it’s called in this profile of the company, “Bejeweled for drunks.”) Line up the color blocks and they disappear, dropping the cute cartoon monster on the top of the stack into the open grave below.
Like Tetris, I soon discovered it was an amazing training tool for layout and design … or so I told myself as I dropped quarter after quarter in it … and a great way to keep one’s color and pattern recognition skills sharp. Not bad for a stupid bar game.