Atari 7800 – Jinks

I must still be at the honeymoon stage as I’m finding a game that many regard as the worst on the Atari 7800, is actually quite fun.



For a while now I’ve been on the hunt for a Atari 7800 console and one came up on eBay, that looked in great condition, was at a reasonable price and was complete with a few game cartridges. Both Joust and Robotron cartridges are among these which is main reason why I’ve been after a 7800 (and silver is a great colour for a console :-)) but there’s also a few titles I haven’t played before on this platform. So, Jinks is crap, they say?

Well is doesn’t start off very well as the burb on the box doesn’t really give any real clue to the game so forget about the exploration party, probe going haywire and deadly cat and mouse game, this is simply Breakout..and Pinball…sorta!

The object of Jinks is to use you bat…sorry, exploration craft, to bounce your hmm, I mean Probe into various objects to destroy them and gain points. Clear the sprawling level of all objects to gain maximum points before stage exit right and on to another level (four in total).

You control your craft using left/right similar to that in any other Breakout game but you can also move it up and down to help bounce your ball over various objects.

Your bat is triangular shaped, flat on one side and angled on the other. It can be flipped around by hitting the fire button which allowing you ‘some’ control over the direction and angle your ball will bounce.

The controls can take a little while to get used to and it’s this reason why the game is often slated I think…either that or the sheer eyeball frying graphics. Best turn the TV colour/contrast down on this one! The 7800 is an old system, but even so it was able to recreate some pretty impressive arcade conversions. Jinks is a mess.


Clearing the stage at the beginning of a level is fairly easy as your ball will more than likely hit a target. However, as objects are destroyed, mopping up the last few can become quiet tedious as you try to get your ball going in the right direction and angle…actually, angles are limited so more often than not it’s sheer luck! Oh and hitting the other fire button will shake the screen. Handy if your ball is stuck in a endless loop? To add to the challenge, there’s also a few moving objects scattered around each level which should be avoided if touched with your craft will shrink making thinks that little bit more difficult. Touch is again and it’s game over.

So…Jinks doesn’t seem to be offering much does it. It sounds crap, looks crap and has crappy controls, yet it’s actually a rather fun game to play that tugs on your impulses to clear each level.

I certainly wouldn’t pay a premium to have it in your Atari 7800 collection (Jinks is a very common cart and doesn’t demand a high price) but its one you might wish to check out if you happen to come across one.

It reminds me of an old Amiga game I used to play many years ago which I thought was called something else. As it turns out after a little research, it was actually a port of Jinks!…I thought something was familiar!


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