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Beat Em & Eat Em - The Atari Times

Beat Em & Eat Em


The ultimate conversation starter is no technical wonder
by Brian C. Rittmeyer

June 23, 2001
My parents must have done a pretty good job, for while I was growing up in the early-to-mid 1980s, I never knew there were "adult" Atari 2600 video games.

But early in assembling my collection in the mid-to-late 1990s, I became aware of the 2600 library's dark underbelly. It probably happened when I was checking out the offerings on eBay - there they were, games with titles like Custer's Revenge, Bachelor Party and Beat 'em & Eat 'em. It was surprising and downright humorous, but what was certain was that I had to have at least one of these games. So I watched, and I bid, and I lost; I bid, and I lost; until, finally, in March of 1998, I bid and won - I had landed a copy of Beat 'em & Eat 'em by Mystique.

Let's see, how to describe the game play without triggering filtering software... Basically, it comes down to there being this blonde-haired guy with a big grin at a top of a building who is, uhm, beating it, and there being, well, women on the street below who are, uhm, eating it. Paddle controllers are used for this game, and the difficulty switch determines if there are one or two women. Of course, reflecting this title's high class, you earn bonus turns when you reach 69 points and for each multiple of 69 points - how clever.

Now, while this isn't the kind of game you'd want young kids playing, because it would raise questions you'd rather not answer, it's more suggestive than pornographic - the Atari 2600's graphics capability ensures that. At this point, the game is more of an interesting conversation piece in a collection, as many are probably still completely unaware that such games were made for the system famous for completely innocent arcade games. 

But what makes the game downright laughable are the boasts made by its creators. Besides attempting to tout high ideals for making "adult" games when video games are considered "child's play," they also try to speak highly of their "technical" achievements: "Our own team of design engineers has developed a line of games that don't just stop at "Adult," but push the Atari console to the limit. You'll see graphics of a quality that you probably have never seen before. You'll hear music and sound effects where you've come to expect only an occasional "bleep" before. Nearly every bit of capability of the Atari 2600 is used."

Oh, please. To begin with, the very concept of the game is a ripoff of Kaboom (which is actually more fun to play) - you've got a naked guy at the top of a building instead of a mad bomber, and instead of vertically stacked water buckets you've got horizontally, uhm, stacked women, and instead of catching bombs you catch, well, you know. The graphics are hardly ground breaking, there's nothing new here. And what of the music and sound effects? Stolen from other games, 2600 Pac-Man most notably. Even the cartridge itself is simply an Activision-style cart, although, I must admit, the plastic faux leather case is a nice touch.

One of these games, Custer's Revenge, had actually generated some controversy because the game is based on scoring points by rape. Again, credit mom and dad, because I can't remember hearing anything of it back in the day. Interesting, as I understand this is one of the more sought after games of this type - again, it's no technical achievement, but based on playing it on an emulator, it's actually a lot of fun, more so than Beat 'em & Eat 'em. I had tried winning it on eBay, but the price always went higher than I was willing to pay, and all I really wanted was at least one in the collection. 

These games do show up on eBay from time to time, but they often get rather pricey. They're available on emulators, such as Stella, for those who just want to see what the hype is about. But when it comes to conversation starters, there are few as interesting as Beat 'em & Eat 'em and its kin.




Beat Em & Eat Em

(c) Mystique



Uh... huhuh... This is cool, Butthead.
Shut up Beavis! I'm trying to play the game. Uh... Hey baby. Wanna see my schlong?
Hey! It's my turn, fartknocker!
Get your own game, I was just about to score!

Arrrrrrgggggghhhh! We're never gonna score!
Beat Em & Eat Em
System: 2600
Publisher: Mystique
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 55%
Sound & Music Score: 60%
Gameplay Score: 70%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 75%



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