“We need you to come up with an eye-catching cover for our new book. Something to make programming look sexy!” “No problem. I’ll put a naked lady on the foreground and a C64 positioned in just the right place” “Perfect!” “.. and an Ant-man, in a robe, drinking wine in the background!” “Wait.. what?”
Considering I’ve not posted anything in eleven months, you might think I’ve been polishing and crafting the perfect article, waiting till the right moment to unleash its profundity on the world. However, you’d be wrong – it’s about a silly 25-year-old joystick, the QuickShot Intruder 1.
I’m a sucker for buying unusual videogame-related stuff, particular in job lots; they don’t have to be rare, just a little different. So when a listing of 16 old shop stock joysticks appeared on Ebay, I was straight in there. Most of them were old ‘Quick Gun Turbo’ NES joysticks, but this one stood out –
There were two of these in the lot – the sealed one in the photo and one with a tattier box. I’m not someone who obsesses over keeping sealed things sealed, but having two of these meant I could at least nose around the unsealed one.
The QS-149 Intruder 1 (to give it its full, snappy title) supports Atari, Commodore, Sears (never actually seen one of these), MSX, Amstrad CPC 464 and Master System computers/consoles. It only has two fire buttons, so it’s no use for the Mega Drive.
Some of the more interesting features –
Turbo Fire Selectors
Although they look quite natty, they just have three settings – 0, I and II.
Fire Button Cover
Designed to look like some kind of missile launching thing or maybe an eject button, the flip-top cover actually ‘protects the major from fire button dust and wear’. Certainly, there’ll be no chance of wearing the button out if you keep it covered up.
6 US Military Insignia Stickers
For that finishing touch to your wonderful new joystick, why not add one of these insignia stickers to complete the look of a gritty fighter pilot, as you play F19 on your Amiga.
UPDATED: Unsurprisingly, King have now (June 22nd) ‘nerfed’ the level, making it much easier.
At time of writing, there are currently 1,790 levels in King’s Candy Crush Saga; plus another 665 in the hateful ‘Dreamworld’ section. At this moment, I’m up to level 1,779 which is not a boast, more an admission, like an alcoholic braving an AA meeting.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of recent level additions, King seem to have lost the plot when it comes to to difficulty and so seem happy to use addicts regular Candy Crush players such as myself to help test their levels for them. When they realise that virtually no-one can pass a level, they then ‘nerf’ it, or make it play how it should have done in the first place. The Wikia page for that level currently says “This is probably caused by a design error, glitch, or an objective which requires extreme insane luck to fulfil.” which is a polite way of saying that King have ballsed things up once again.
Now I appreciate that it can’t be easy to churn out steadily more difficult challenges for a game once you reach 1,790 levels without making it impossible, although I’d question why a game needs that many levels in the first place. I guess having a ‘casual’ game with microtransactions that can actually be completed is a financial no-no these days. Personally, I’d rather they call it a day after maybe 2,000 and give people more of a reason to go back and improve their scores on previous levels. After all, if they through in a new level now that was exactly the same as an earlier one, I wouldn’t notice (although you just know that someone out there would.. there’s always someone).
I get that it’s a business rather than some fun public service and King want people to buy more lives and boosters to line King’s coffers help players progress, but when you’ve got no option to spend money to beat a level, then something’s gone badly wrong somewhere. In time, the level will no doubt be made easier and then I’ll be able to progress further, but I don’t play games to test them for their developers.. they are meant to be fun. Oh look, I’ve just gained another life.. back in a sec.