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|Rating:||1 out of 5|
The title of this game alone speaks volumes about this Atari 2600 game. I was so starved for a new game that I pulled Tax Avoiders off the shelf and reluctantly took it to the cashier. What kid wants a game about finance... especially when the graphics and game-play are beyond lame?
On the bright side, this game is quite collectable and I have a mint copy fresh off the store shelf and whisked into the safety of my game dungeon. The game was designed by Darrell Wagner, a former IRS agent, who decided to create a game in which the IRS agent is the bad guy. Irony and video games often go hand-in-hand.
The concept meeting for Tax Avoiders probably took place in a dingy bar with the game's premise scrawled on a damp napkin. Was anyone at this meting sober? From the outcome, I'd say, No. None the less, this oddity of a game made it to production and distribution.
While it's easy to make fun of such a game, there's still a part of me that knows this guy brought a game from concept to finished Atari 2600 game which is more than I'm likely to achieve in this lifetime. So... on with the parody.
You play as John Q, an overtaxed citizen trying to become a millionaire in one year - after taxes. As you try to amass your wealth you are besieged by bad investments, audits, bureaucracy, red tape and taxes. All of these obstructions appear on screen as unintelligibly awful graphics that keep you guessing what each pixelated form might be.
8-bit games always encouraged player's imagination to fill in the gapsand Tax Avoiders is no different. The first screen you encounter is for earning income and is divided into left and right sides - representing the political left and right. Um... yeah ok. The analogy furthers when John Q takes the center elevator to higher levels. To get from the side to side he must jump across a gap which represents the political center where there is no money. All this analogy is completely transparent in the game itself unless you read about it in the game manual. My imagination now imagines me playing a different game.
The game is divided into 365 days, 12 months and 4 seasons. Each season offers 2 screens - Income and Investment/Shelter. On the Investment screen images race about at a frantic pace as you try to collect dollar signs and avoid, by jumping, the red tape. Red tape looks ominously like snakes - appropriate, but likely unintended. An elevator at the screen's center will take John Q to the upper levels where he will still be perplexed by the manic motion of bureaucratic imagery.
Halfway through each season, John Q is taken to the second screen where he can obtain Tax Shelters for his earnings. the tax shelters are: Oil Development, Solar Energy, Railroads, Research & Development, Real Estate, Cattle Feed Lots and Computer Software.
He will be pursued by 3 characters that all look the same, but change color depending on their role.
As this character changes color you need to determine if he should be avoided or caught. If you tag him at the right time (color) it will be to your advantage.
At the end of each season (or wave as normal gamers are accustomed) taxes are automatically calculated and collected. You are then sent back to screen 1 to earn more income. this is also known as dodging random shit while trying to figure out which sprites look most like dollar signs.
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