Carnival (video game)

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Carnival (video game) (screenshot).gif
Gremlin Industries
Platform(s)Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Intellivision
1982 (ports)
Genre(s)Fixed shooter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
CabinetStandard and cocktail
Arcade systemSega VIC Dual
CPUZ80 1.933560 MHz
DisplayRaster resolution 224 x 256 (Vertical) Palette Colors 64

Carnival is a fixed shooter released by Sega in arcades in 1980.[1] It has the distinction of being the first video game with a bonus round.[citation needed]

Carnival was ported to the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, and Intellivision. An Atari 8-bit family version was published in 1982 by ANALOG Software, the commercial software label of ANALOG Computing magazine.[2]


The goal of the game is to shoot at targets while conserving a limited ammunition supply for as long as possible. The controls for the standard upright version of Carnival consist of buttons for firing and left/right movement. The cocktail version replaces the directional buttons with a two-way joystick.

Three rows of targets scroll across the screen in alternating directions; these include rabbits, ducks, owls, and extra-bullet targets, with higher rows awarding more points. If a duck reaches the bottom row without being shot, it will come to life and begin flying down toward the player. Any ducks that reach the bottom of the screen in this manner will eat some of the player's bullets. A large pop-up target above the top row can either award or subtract bullets or points when hit. A spinning wheel with eight pipes also sits above the top row; the point value of the pipes decreases for every shot that does not hit one of them. In addition, a bonus counter increases by the value of every target shot in the three rows, and can be collected by shooting the letters of the word "BONUS" in order as they cycle through the rows. The bonus stops increasing as soon as any letter is shot.

A round ends when all targets and pipes have been shot. The player receives bonus points for all unused bullets, then plays a bonus round in which a large bear with a target walks across the screen. Each time the bear is shot, it rears up for a second, then begins walking more quickly in the other direction. The object is to shoot the bear as many times as possible until it escapes off the screen, using unlimited ammunition. Following the bonus round, the next wave begins. Later bonus rounds add more bears to the screen.

In higher levels, there are more ducks and fewer extra-bullet targets, putting a premium on accurate shooting. The game ends when the player runs out of bullets.

Technical details[edit]

Carnival is one of the few games that has two different PCBs, one for each version; normally a game only has one PCB with a dip switch that sets it to either upright or cocktail mode. The upright and cocktail cabinets each come in two varieties, one woodgrain and the other painted orange and white.


The tune that plays throughout the game is Sobre las Olas (Over the Waves) by Juventino Rosas, a tune commonly associated with carnivals and funfairs. The game's General Instruments AY-3-8910 chip allowed for a relatively complex rendition of Rosas's waltz with overlaid sound effects. Videogame scholar Andrew Schartmann notes, "as the track makes use of all three tone-channels—using two for the waltz's characteristic oom-pah-pah and one for its memorable melody—the resulting texture is rich enough to do the music justice. And the inclusion of numerous sound effects, including three different duck quacks and a bear's roar, makes for a veritable sonic feast."[3]


  1. ^ "Carnival". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 9 Nov 2013.
  2. ^ Pappas, Lee (May 12, 2014). "ANALOG Software". GearRant.
  3. ^ Schartmann, Andrew. Maestro Mario: How Nintendo Transformed Videogame Music into an Art. New York: Thought Catalog, 2013.