Otto Matic

Otto Matic
My current project is taking up all my time and mental energy.

The wife warns me to make sure I take “brain breaks”.

My favorite brain break is this Macintosh game, Otto Matic. You play Otto himself, a strangely cute robot with an old-fashioned sci-fi rocketship. The game is over-the-shoulder perspective.

Despite the fact that I’ve worked for somewhere between 2 and 6 computer game companies, depending on how you count them, I’m not a gamer. When I do get obsessed with games, they tend to be simple games, like Tetris or Ladder (about which I’ll write some other time), and the obsessions, while intense, are short-lived.

Otto Matic and its sibling game, Bugdom, are the first 3D rendered action games that have grabbed me. It’s not Doom; it’s not James Bond; but they are sort of cute kids version of those same game concepts.

As Otto, you run around different planets shooting aliens and mutants. You are trying to save humans from alien abduction by teleporting them back to your rocket before the flying saucers can beam them away. Aliens and mutants try to stop you. On the first level — a 1950s farm on Earth — the mutants include a possessed farm tractor, explosive corn, aggressive onions, and yes, killer tomatoes.

These are excellent games for kids — unless you object to shooting vegetables — and I hope that when the wife has popped some out for us, and they’re old enough to play computer games, they don’t just roll their eyes at the old man’s favorites and say, “Daaaad, that is so turn-of-the-century!”

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