The cover of Dishaster
Dishaster is an action game released for the Atari 2600 in 1983 by Zimag, who also developed the game. In the game, players take control of a girl who attempts to keep a group of several spinning plates balanced on poles from falling, with the amount of plates varying between difficulty levels. The game received negative reviews; criticism focused on the game's repetition and monotony. Another version of the game, entitled Dancing Plates, was released by Bit Corporation. It modified the graphics and featured more difficulty variations.
In Dishaster, the player controls a girl who attempts to keep plates, which are balanced on top of poles, from falling and breaking. The girl can stabilize wobbling dishes by pressing the button on the controller. If a plate falls, the player is able to capture it if the girl touches it before it hits the ground, and a new one appears at the top of the pole. The number of poles to spin varies between the selected skill level; there are six on the easiest setting, and ten on the hardest. The player loses if they let four dishes hit the ground.
Dishaster was developed by Zimag. The action game was inspired by the circus tradition of keeping spinning plates suspended on poles. The 1982 game Plattermania, which features a clown trying to balance a group of platters on spinning poles, has also been noted as a possible inspiration.
Release and reception
Zimag released the game in 1983. Another version of the game, entitled Dancing Plates, was released by Bit Corporation. Dancing Plates featured oriental-themed graphics and added eight different game variations.
The game has received negative reviews. Author Brett Weiss stated that Dishaster was "as bad as its unfunny title implies" and that it was "a hopelessly repetitive game". While Weiss opined the graphics were "convincing", he remarked that "the plate-spinning action gets old in a hurry". Al Backiel, a reviewer for the magazine Digital Press, wrote:
Dishaster gets to be so monotonous so quickly because if you play in a systematic manner it's too easy: I move sequentially from left to right and repeat. Yep, really tough pattern. I was able to max out the easy version without dropping a plate after several hours. I was hoping something interesting would happen, but the score just resets to zero after passing 999,999.
Another Digital Press writer, Kevin Oleniacz, also disliked Dishaster, including the game in his "The Worst of the Atari 2600" list, writing: "The lack of sound effects, details or any background whatsoever while maneuvering around one unchanging screen would surely claim this as a DISASTER". Oleniacz reserved special criticism for the game's music. The reviewer for TV Gamer magazine wrote "Dishaster may be enjoyed by very young gamers, but it is not sophisticated enough for any battle-hardened arcade gamers."
- Weiss, Brett Alan. "Dishaster". Allgame. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Dishaster instruction booklet. Zimag. 1983. p. 2.
- Weiss, Brett Alan. "Plattermania". Allgame. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- "Dishaster". Digital Press (31): 29–30. Summer 1996. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Weiss, Brett (March 7, 2012). Classic Home Video Games, 1972–1984: A Complete Reference Guide. McFarland. p. 53.
- "The Worst of the Atari 2600". Digital Press (1): 5. September–October 1991. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- "Dishaster". TV Gamer: 22. June 1983. Retrieved June 6, 2014.