Krazy Kreatures was a 1990 puzzle game for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Bitmasters. This was one of the earliest “match-three” games I have played. I didn’t even know it was a game genre until casual games like Bejeweled became popular.
Each level in Krazy Kreatures had a unique shape to it. The empty space was filled with various animals. The player could pick up an animal and place them next to other animals of the same kind in a line to clear them from the board. A minimum of three animals in a line was required to do this, but the player could also match four-of-a-kind, five-of-a-kind, and intersections of these lines. The player didn’t have to clear all the animals in the early levels, but later levels required a perfect clear of the board. A time limit added to the difficulty.
Krazy Kreatures was fairly short but really addictive. It wasn’t so hard that it took tons and tons of tries. The game required the perfect combination of reflexes (making quick matches) and ingenuity (identifying matches). The first night after renting it, my arms and hands were all strained from playing so long. I probably played for four hours straight. It wasn’t healthy, but kids don’t care about health. I was so excited when I finally beat the game. I liked the credits. They had a several funny lines. I could tell the developers had a lot of fun making this game. I also liked this game because it was one of the few puzzle games that I could do better than my mom.
Even my mom liked Krazy Kreatures. She liked puzzle games, so this one of the few games she could get into. The later levels were just too fast for her though. The game even kept my mom up late playing once. One night I woke up and heard her playing the game late at night. The next morning I confronted her about it. I said it wasn’t fair that I had to go to bed while she could stay up playing.
An interesting fact about this game was that it was unauthorized. It came in a different-looking black cartridge. Games with this black cartridge were published by American Video Entertainment, an unlicensed publisher for the Nintendo Entertainment System. On modern game consoles, all the games released must be tested by the console manufacturer to ensure it is bug free and plays as advertised. The new consoles are specifically made to prevent unauthorized games from working on them.
Well, the old regular Nintendo had no protection against this. Any developer could reverse engineer the hardware and make their own games for it. Nintendo was against this, but there was nothing they could do at the time. I am happy about it in this case because Krazy Kreatures ended up being a pretty good game. I may not have been able to play it otherwise.