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Overview


Open, Sesame! or Sesam, Öffne Dich is a European exclusive Atari 2600 game developed and published by Bit Corporation in 1983.  It is a very simple platformer that is only truly notable for being the second and final Atari 2600 game to feature voice synthesis; the first being Quadrun.  The game features Ali Baba climbing to the top of the screen to get the "treasure" which is pictured as a giant crown, which upon reaching he says "Open, Sesame!" and the game begins anew.  While the game is rather obscure, it saw a few re-releases and had various versions so it is not very rare or expensive.

Gameplay


Open, Sesame! is single screen platformer featuring 5 horizontal levels the player, Ali Baba, walks across as well as a top platform featuring the goal, a crown.  Ali Baba travels on each platform to 2 blinking dots and activates them to extend a ladder to the next platform.  Every ladder in the level must be activated for Ali Baba to be able to reach the crown at the top.  A bonus dot occasionally spawns and starts to travel down the platforms, which gives the player extra points if it is touched.  The metal bar appearance of the platforms, game layout, and use of ladders is uncoincidentally reminiscent of Donkey Kong.  The four middle platforms in the game are patrolled by one enemy each, which simply walk slowly towards Ali Baba when he reaches that level.  If the player is in the middle of a ladder, they are unable to be touched by the enemies and the enemies ignore the player.  If an enemy touches Ali Baba, he falls off the platform to the bottom, loses a life, and starts over but the activated ladders do not reset.  A bonus meter slowly ticks down at the top of the screen indicating how many points the player will get for completing that level, and when it reaches zero the player is killed as if an enemy touched him.  Each stage gets progressively harder as the enemies move faster.

Voice Synthesis


What makes the rather average Open, Sesame! stand out is that it featured a voice synthesized "Open, Sesame!" at the beginning of each stage and when the game boots up.  This synthesis came after the popular Quadrun's synthesis but is technically more impressive, packing nearly a second of sound into 848 bytes.  Even with better compression and a longer soundclip, perhaps most impressive was the fact that a colorful crown is displayed on the screen while the voice clip plays.  Quadrun's voice synthesis took up all the 2600's available memory, so the screen had to be blanked out.  Unfortunately, the voice clip is barely recognizable as "Open, Sesame!" and sounds very muffled.  Without knowing the name or premise of the game, it would be very difficult to distinguish what is being said.  Quadrun's voice was somewhat distinct.

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