When I start looking up new games to talk about for A World of Games, typically I start by looking through the seemingly endless amount of photos I’ve accumulated on my phone over the years. Perhaps due to the sheer size of picture inventory, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this kind of amazing game we found at California Extreme a couple years back.
Not a “video” game since there isn’t any virtual components to it, Fire Escape is more a game of skill and (to a degree) luck. The overall game is simple: Navigate a silver ball down a series of ladders successfully to score points. You’ve got five tries per credit, and the faster and more accurate your are, the more points you are awarded.
Since there are not video components to this game, everything is done physically. You as the player control the ladders and chutes via a knob on the front of the machine. As you move the knob, all of the metal ladders in the game move accordingly. Gravity and physics take care of the rest.
Honestly, Laura and I spent probably a good hour just trying to get the ball to go into the highest possible score position. It seemingly required a sort of luck shot flick to get the ball to the exact right height and location. It was amazing when she finally achieved it. And it really showed me how the early days of games (this came out in 1984) were still innovating.
Also impressive was the fact this game still looked so good. The game played near flawlessly (the score/time counter kept messing up), and the art and colors were vibrant. There was a near-constant presence at the cabinet itself, with another patron wanting to play at any given time. Novelty is likely what caused the crowds, but a good hook and solid, if not simple, gameplay made it a highlight of that year’s show!
Played at California Extreme 2018, Santa Clara, CA