Insert Disk collects Chinese Juggler for the Commodore 64 (C64).
Today’s retro game review is Chinese Juggler for the Commodore 64 (C64). This retro gaming classic by Ocean for the C64 is a rather short and self-contained action game. Your task as the Chinese Juggler is to keep a set of plates spinning to complete the round. The difficulty quickly escalates though as you are then required to match the correct plate colour by flipping them. Overall Chinese Juggler for the Commodore 64 is a well presented slice of pure retro gaming.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. Get ready for some oriental themed action as we travel back to 1983 to re-discover the joys of Chinese Juggler for the Commodore 64. The game may be called Chinese Juggler but really it’s more like pyramid-head plate spinning. How do we know he’s Chinese, well he’s got a funny hat on so all is good. Apart from the casual stereotyping Chinese Juggler is actually quite a fun game. The objective is simple. Pick up a plate, put it on a stick and make sure that it doesn’t stop spinning. Once you’ve started to spin the plate it will slowly loose speed so you will have to return to it to speed it back up again.
It’s a simple concept and this works quite well. Before long though the game goes through a difficulty step change. Plates must not be placed on the correct colour stick. To do this you must flip the plate until it becomes the required colour. This all eats away valuable time and adds considerable stress to the player. Whilst not the best looking Commodore 64 game it is a nicely self-contained activity. The difficulty curve is a little punishing and if you’re anything like me you will find the further you progress in the game the more frustrating the activity becomes.
In terms of packaging expect a standard cassette case to hold the user instructions and game tape. Ocean have provided a well printed cover and the overall game feels more professional than some of the other publishers of the era. The artwork is rather questionable but at least it’s colourful.
I’ve spent some time with Chinese Juggler in order to come to a decision on whether it’s worth collecting. If you collect early Ocean conversions for the Commodore 64 it’s likely that you already have this one. My overall experience was that the game was a little bare boned to really keep me entertained. Once you’re in the flow of things it there is some satisfaction. It’s just that this satisfaction tends to dwindle the more you play as the game gets infinitely more frustrating. For what the game intends to achieve it does it well and it does fill a gap in the market for fast paced skill games. The problem might be myself, I’m not great at playing this type of game, don’t have the inclination to want to improve and I’m not even Chinese. So, I’m not really the correct target audience on all fronts.
Whilst Chinese Juggler might not be a game that I’d recommend to many retro gamers it does have a certain old school charm and innocence about it.