Things used to be much more simple back in 1984 – I used to think that clowns are funny, the circus was still a place of magic and mystery, and video games relied on extreme difficulty as a way to make the gameplay last longer. The game that somehow combined all these elements together was “Circus Charlie” by Konami, released for the arcade machines that very year (though, full disclosure, I didn’t get to play this game until it got its Commodore 64 port in 1987).
Even if you are not as ancient as I am, chances are you have played this game if you’ve ever had a Famiclone or one of those “NES on a chip” handhelds that are all the rage these days. It was also included in Nintendo DS Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits compilation.
You know the deal – you control Charlie, a clown who has to go through six regular levels and one bonus level, testing your jumping skills along the way. The levels include riding a lion and jumping through flaming hoops and across pots of fire, walking on a tightrope and jumping across monkeys, jumping from one trampoline to the other while avoiding fire and knives, jumping from one giant ball to another without bumping, riding a horse and jumping on bouncy platforms, and swinging from a trapeze, while using trampolines lying on the ground to get some extra bounce. Some versions of the game include a bonus stage that sets the trampoline level under water and adds killer dolphins to the mix.
If you want to relive a bit of this experience without buying any new devices, head on to the Play Store and download “Amazing circus”. The game is just the first level of “Circus Charlie”, lion-riding, and though the music is not the same, the sprites and the unforgiving gameplay seem to be the same as they used to be back in the day. “Amazing circus” requires Android 3.2 or newer.