A wild celebration held throughout much of the Roman Catholic world immediately preceding Lent. Brazil takes it very seriously, with huge parades and elaborate costumes (or very little costume at all, in some cases). This draws a lot of moronic tourists, but they're not the point. The general idea is that you'll need some sins to repent.

From the foreign word carne meaning meat, a hastily erected collection of scary rides, tents, trailers with lurid phantasms painted on the side, cotton candy, ferris wheels, dizzying crowds, sawdust in the mud, neon stripes, styrofoam-hatted barkers, kewpie dolls, balloons, hyenas and bratwursts and puke and death and the best place in the world to feel cheesy and low and full of life.

Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Coleco
Model Number: 2468
Atari Rarity Guide: 2 Common
Year of Release: 1982

Carnival was a shooting game for the Atari 2600, (it is a clone of the arcade game of the same name). It is supposed to be a simulation of a shooting gallery. In Carnival you control a little movable stick, well they call it a gun, but you can't really represent a gun with 4 pixels, (thats why I call it a stick). You can move your gun left and right at the bottom of the screen, shooting only directly above you, (Space Invaders style). Shoot at different moving targets above you until you run out of ammunition. Some targets will give you extra bullets, (beware of the duck, because an unkilled duck will eat your bullets). You have a maximum of 40 bullets at a time, (and they extra bullet target gives 8), so always make sure you have less than 33 bullets when you shoot for the bonus.

Excuse my poor ascii rendering of this game.
Players Score Indicator -|-------------> 0 0 0 0 0                |
                 Pipes  -|------------->  #--I--#                 |
     Plus-Minus Target  -|-> + 3 0 0       #####                  |
                         |   -------              ----------------|
                         | O     D                 O  R  R        |
   Extra-Bullet Target  -|---> 8                  D        O      |
                         | R  R       D                 R         |
           Flying Duck  -|-------------->  X                      |
                         |                                        |
                   Gun  -|--------------> L                       |
Bullet Supply Indicator >|##############################          |

From the instruction manual:

Step right up and prove your skill at hitting targets in this challenging carnival shooting gallery. Take aim to build up your score with careful choice of targets, but watch out for the bullet-eating ducks!

Steve Kitchen was the programmer on this title.

This game is valued at around $2 USD. Games with boxes and manuals are worth more.

The Arcade Version

The original arcade version of Carnival was produced by Sega/Gremlin and was first released in 1980. The gameplay is very similar to the Atari 2600 version already described above, so I won't be going over that again.

The Machine

There were at least four different dedicated cabinets available for this game, two uprights and two cocktails. The first upright was the standard Sega/Gremlin woodgrain cabinet. The second was a white cabinet. The two cocktails seem to represent two different generations of the Sega/Gremlin cocktail, the only differences between them are the control panel and coin mechs. (Both cocktail cabinets were also used for other Sega games such as Frogger.

The upright machines were decorated in mostly orange, with a circus theme. The woodgrain ones often did not have sideart, but the white ones usually did. Both versions used buttons on the control panel for movement.

The cocktail versions used small 13" monitors and were relatively unadorned. As I said before there were at least two different versions of these. The older ones had a larger control panel and different coin mechs. The only decoration was a set of instruction cards underneath the top glass (the cards were the same for both versions). These machines used small 2-Way joysticks for movement (instead of push buttons.

One final note. The upright and cocktail versions of this game used two different sets of PCBs. This can be a big deal if you are fixing up a machine and discover you have the wrong set. They both use the same wiring harness, but the cocktail version flips the display for the second player. This is a bit of an anomoly, usually games simply have a switch on the mainboard to switch between upright and cocktail mode.

My Carnival Machine

I have a cocktail version. Mine is the newer version with the smaller control panel. It is in excellent condition overall, but all the original hardware is long gone. I traded my (problematic) Vs. Super Mario Bros. machine for this cabinet. Since I have gotten it I have rigged it up to play Carnival, Galaga, Galaxian, Phoenix, and Space Invaders using the MAME emulator. I had originally planned to fill this machine up with a Tetris Plus import kit that I had, but I was unable to, due to the fact that this machine wants a 13" monitor (I didn't have any 13" arcade monitors, but I decased a 14" PC monitor and it fit like a glove).

I am not quite finished with this project. I still plan on replacing the hackish joystick encoder I used with a real I-Pac, replacing the sticky fire buttons, and reproducing new overlays for the coin mechs and control panels.

Car"ni*val (?), n. [It. carnevale, prob. for older carnelevale, prop., the putting away of meat; fr. L. caro, carnis, flesh _ levare to take away, lift up, fr. levis light.]


A festival celebrated with merriment and revelry in Roman Catholic countries during the week before Lent, esp. at Rome and Naples, during a few days (three to ten) before Lent, ending with Shrove Tuesday.

The carnival at Venice is everywhere talked of.


Any merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading, especially when overstepping the bounds of decorum; a time of riotous excess.


He saw the lean dogs beneath the wall
Hold o'er the dead their carnival


© Webster 1913.

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