YesterGames #6: Quadnet

March 18, 2008

FROM JASON’S DESIRE TO BE HAN SOLO — This game has nothing at all to do with Star Wars except for the pareidolia effect. But if I’m to be childishly honest, the reason I played this game longer than 3 minutes the first time was because the grid triggered something deep in my memory: It looked and acted like the one on the Millennium Falcon’s laser cannon targeting computer.

Then I was hooked.

Quadnet is a lot like the old Atari 2600 classic Vanguard in that you can fire in four directions while moving independently. You’re gridlocked and have to take out hi-tech bouncing balls. Think Asteroids on a giant, tilting tic-tac-toe board.

It’s easy at first but with 14 or so targets in later stages things can get pretty hairy. Quadnet starts off with strategy — stay in the middle or hit the edges — and quickly devolves into six-finger twitching as you jam the controls with both hands. By the time you pass that 50,000 mark, you’re thinking in multiple dimensions and calculating trajectories 5 or 6 seconds in advance.

I strongly recommend re-assigning the controls to arrow keys for movement and WASD for firing. It’s very natural that way.

Made by Brain Child Design in 1999, Quadnet (download) packs a lot of fun into 281k. If you’re running XP or later, you’ll need DosBox to make it run, but it’s worth the effort. Honestly, I would kill for a well-done Flash version to avoid all the hassle.