Underrated Retro – Anticipation (NES)

The 80's summed up in one photo
The 80’s summed up in one photo



Anticipation was released in 1988 and developed by the same studio that would go on to produce Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, and Killer Instinct:  Rare.

However, Anticipation is not your typical Rare game.  It doesn’t have adventurers, or animals, or evil bosses.  In fact, there’s no characters at all in the game.  You are a pair of high heeled shoes, a horn, an ice cream cone, or a Teddy bear.

That’s because instead of trying to save a princess or the world, you’re essentially moving pieces around a board and playing a game of pictionary.  Anticipation was the first board-game that was released for the NES.

The object of the game is simple:  Solve the puzzle, as it’s being drawn, before your opponents, and move across the game board the fastest.   The number of spaces the player moves depends upon the number on a dice, which counts down from 6 as the picture is drawn. Once a player correctly identifies a drawing for each of the four categories on a level, that player rises to the next-higher game board level. The first player to complete every level wins the game.

Four different categories are used on each game board level, tied to the colors of the spaces (blue, green, pink, yellow).

The game is very easy on “easy” difficulty, but really ramps up on “hard”.  In fact, many of the “hard” puzzles are impossible to solve before the computer, which adds a somewhat cheese-factor to the game.

The good thing about Anticipation is you do not HAVE to play with the computer.  It makes full-use of the NES Satellite peripheral, that allowed the player to hook 4 controllers up.

The game can become fun with 4 players, as speed is key to buzz in before your opponents.  Once you buzz in, you must spell the puzzle correctly before the timer runs out.  You are allowed 1 do-over if you spell it wrong.

This game has a very basic visual style.  The music repeats throughout the whole game and there aren’t too many varying sound effects.

Overall, the game is fun with other players.  It’s a lot like Pictionary and could provide some entertainment on a game night or something.  However, the computer is extremely unforgiving so solo play can be a challenge.

Leave a Reply