Company: Enter-Tech Ltd
Model #:
Paul Walters & George Hefner (Programmers) and Barb Ultis (Graphics)
Year: 1983
Developed for Sparrow Records


Developed by Enter-Tech Ltd for the Christian music company Sparrow Records (of Music Machine fame), Arkyology is a Christian themed game in which you control Noah who must run around the ark and feed all the animals while avoiding obstacles.  Although the overall concept is simple, the game is deceptively hard which is somewhat unusual given its target audience.

Arkyology consists of two separate stages which then repeat at a higher difficulty.  On the first stage you control Noah who must move from floor to floor opening all the stalls for his animals.  To do this Noah must jump up and grab the hammer icon that randomly appears on each level. Sound easy?  Wrong!  Some rogue animals have decided they've had enough of this Ark and are out to get you.  Birds fly through the air and must be ducked, alligators run across the floor and must be jumped over, and at the very top of the screen a porcupine will constantly drop quills on you.  Touching any of these will result in Noah losing a life.  Thankfully there are little safe areas (looking like black tubes) at the top of each ladder where Noah can safely hide and wait for the coast to be clear.

The second stage is similar to the first, but instead of opening stalls, Noah must now feed his hungry hungry hippos err... animals.  To do this, you must guide Noah under the waiting animal and jump in the air.  Although it looks like Noah is punching out the little goats, giraffes, and camels, he's really just tossing food into their stalls (at least I think he is).  After successfully feeding all the animals you are treated to a cute little cut-scene showing a sleeping Noah and the moon rising overhead.  After this the game will start over at the first screen but on the next day with faster and more frequent enemies.


Arkyology's graphics are fairly done (although it appears that Noah has shaved his head for the trip) and each of the animals is recognizable and varied.  The real problem is that the game is tough!  The porcupine's quills are relentless and the bird and alligator are FAST even on the first stage.  The alligator also jumps a little which does not help things (jumping alligators?).   One nice thing is that the bird and alligator are programmed to appear on the opposite side of the screen from the player, so there are no cheap deaths from an unavoidable enemy suddenly appearing on you.  If only other 2600 games took this lesson to heart...

Another issue is controls with respect to the ladders.  Getting Noah off the ladder and onto the level is way more difficult than it should be as you must push diagonally left or right to get off the ladder, not just left or right.  This makes sense when you think about it (the player is already pushing up or down to move on the ladder) but unless you know this (and to be fair it probably would have been in the manual) it makes for a frustrating experience.   Noah must also be the correct distance away from the hammer or animal when he jumps to touch it (make sure your fist is lined up) or he'll miss.  On the earlier levels this tends not to be a problem as you can take your time and line things up but at the higher difficulties where you are always on the run, standing still for even a moment can lead to death.

Although the market for Christian themed games was small, there were more than few made.  In addition to Arkyology, Enter-Tech Ltd. was working on another game called David and Goliath which was never completed due lack of funds.  Sparrow also released Music Machine (based on their hit record) and another small company called Inspirational Video Concepts released Red Sea Crossing based on Moses crossing the Red Sea.   The Atari 2600 really does offer something for everyone.


Return to 2600 Software