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Dog Daze, by Gray Chang, was an arcade style game distributed through the Atari Program eXchange.  It is often cited as one of the superior arcade titles for the Atari 8-Bit computer systems, and has spawned several sequels.  What it lacks in graphical panache, it makes up for in solid, competitive game play.

Game Play

In the original 8-Bit version, players each control a dog of differing colors in a race to convert the randomly spawned blue fire hydrants into their own color.  Each of these conversions gives you a point.  Once converted, the player who didn't make it to the hydrant in time must avoid touching the hydrant after that, otherwise the dog is stunned for a few seconds (too busy sniffing the hydrant) and the opponent gains a point.  Points are tallied at the top of the screen in a sort of tug-of-war style display, showing the different players' scores as a row of hydrants instead of a numerical indicator, with each point converting half of a hydrant to its corresponding player's color.  Should either player convert the score chain above to entirely their color, they win, otherwise the player with the most score when the adjustable time limit expires is the winner.

In addition to touching hydrants, each player has a bone they can throw at a blue hydrant to convert it.  Should they miss, though, they have to run up to their bone to fetch it so it can be used again.  In addition to opponents' hydrants, players have to keep an ear out for the honking horn of a car.  Soon after the warning, a car will roll through the screen, and should a dog be clipped by it, it's out of the game (pretty messed up, I know).  Regardless, the car will knock out hydrants in its path, clearing out the playfield a bit.


In an interview, Gray Chang said that the reason he had used dogs so frequently in his early games was due to space.  Human-sized figures or space ships required too many pixels to animate and be convincing in a reasonable amount of memory space, while his dog designs were much smaller and easier to animate convincingly.  The car was actually inspired by people at the APX, who suggested it as a way to get rid of hydrants that began to clutter the screen after a while in play.


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