Beast (video game)

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Genre(s)Action, Strategy
Title screen

Beast is an ASCII game written and developed by Dan Baker, Alan Brown, Mark Hamilton, and Derrick Shadel in 1984. According to the author of The Video Game Explosion, Beast combined elements from block-pushing games and turn-based ASCII games into an action game that "has inspired a cult following even today".[1]



The object of this arcade-like game is to survive through a number of levels while crushing "beasts" (represented by the character ├┤) with movable blocks. The H's are attracted to the player's position, represented by a "diamond-like" character ◄►, every move. The player can control the diamond-shaped character by using the arrow keys or the numeric keypad to move around and/or push blocks. While the normal green block is movable, the yellow static block cannot be pushed or pulled. In the advanced levels, static blocks also become "explosive", which means that the player will lose a life by moving into one. The beginning levels have only common beasts ("├┤"), but more challenging "super-beasts", represented by "╟╢", appear as the player advances through levels. "Super-beasts" are harder to kill as they must be crushed against a static block. At even more advanced levels eggs appear that eventually hatch into "hatched beasts" (╬╬) with the ability to move blocks to crush the player. A two-player mode is also available in which the second player controls a character using WASD keys.


A review of Beast in the 1988 book Public-domain Software and Shareware noted that the game had "original concepts" but the author admitted that "I don't completely understand this game".[2] In a retrospective review of "classic" ASCII games, PC Magazine described Beast as "so simple yet so replayable" and "stressful at times, but always fun".[3] In his book The Video Game Explosion, scholar Mark Wolf noted that Beast resembled earlier block-pushing games like Sokoban and ASCII text games like Rogue, but advanced beyond both of those games by introducing "freeform, real-time spatial control" into a block-moving action game with "a level of fluidity that is unexpectedly effective".[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wolf, Mark J. P. (2008). The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to Playstation and Beyond. ABC-CLIO. p. 152. ISBN 9780313338687.
  2. ^ DeMaria, Rusel; Fontaine, George R., eds. (1988). Public-Domain Software and Shareware: Untapped Resources for the PC User. M & T Books. p. 188. ISBN 9781558510111.
  3. ^ Edwards, Benj (March 10, 2016). "7 Classic PC Games With ASCII Graphics". PC Magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2018.

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