At first glance, one might think this obviously ancient game is just a Space Invaders clone, with that basic shooting mechanic. However, there is a lot more happening in Carnival (released by Gremlin-Sega in 1980), and certainly enough to set it apart! Taking after the classic shooting galleries from the carnival midways of the past, the player has a gun at the bottom that shoots up towards a series of moving targets, and can move left and right. Yeah, a lot like Space Invaders! But to make things more interesting, the player has a finite amount of bullets, and depleting them ends the game. This places a real emphasis on accurate shooting. There are some dastardly ducks as well that can swoop down and eat some of your precious ammo, so taking them out first is a priority. There are a few other things to shoot at, including letters to spell B-O-N-U-S, and ammo packages. The player can also shoot out the music notes, to toggle on the love-it-or-hate-it soundtrack.
True to history, Carnival lifts its music from that venerable amusement park landmark the carousel. Coming into popularity around the turn of the century, carousels were outfitted with air-powered Wurlitzer “fairground organs” playing popular tunes of the day on pipes, drums, and glockenspiel. The song featured in Carnival is called Sobre Las Olas, or “Over the Waves,” published by Mexican composer Juventino Rosas in 1888.
Carnival is a relic of arcade history, and an amusing one at that! Give it a shot, but remember to keep an eye on those bullets!