This was one of a series of children's games The Learning Company
made in the 80's
for the Apple //
that were all based on the same basic game engine
. All of them are available on the internet as emulator
-ready disk image
s if you know where to look. The engine in question consisted of a bunch of screen-sized rooms
. Each room was basically just a grid of icons
, most of which were empty and black and represented floor
, most of the rest of which were full of a single color and represented wall
, and which all together made this kind of orthographic
world you could move around freely in any direction in. You had a little man icon
(it was always the same man..) walking around that you controlled with the keyboard
, and you could make him pick up the other icons
them wherever you wanted.
Rocky's Boots was crazy-- it basically taught you to build circuit logic diagrams. You didn't know that was what you were doing, of course-- you just thought you were playing some weird game. But it was circuit logic diagrams. You'd have your little guy walk around and pick up and drop and attach together bits of wire, and other things. And the other things, as it turns out, were all circuitry parts-- AND, OR, XOR and NOT gates, splitters, flip-flops.. and they really did act the way they act in real-life circuits. I think the Learning Company was trying to subvert our little seven-year-old minds and turn us all into electrical engineers, or something.. it's hard to tell.
The heart of the game, after you spent a LONG time just figuring out how to work the gates and stuff, was this room where you had three sensors and a boot. A line of shapes would go by. Each individual stage had a different line of shapes, a different configuration of sensors, and a different category of things you were supposed to kick.
The simpler stages would be something like this: You have a number of shapes going by. Your rule is "circular, but not blue". You have a sensor that gives off current when something blue goes by, one that gives off electricity when something circular goes by, and one that gives off electricity when something square goes by. So you would hook up the boot to an AND gate attached at one end to the circle sensor, and attached at the other end to a NOT gate attached to the blue sensor. You'd tell the shapes to run, and as each one that was circular AND NOT blue went by, current would get to the boot, causing it to kick. Once all the shapes had gone by, since you had kicked everything you were supposed to and successfully completed the stage, Rocky the Raccoon would come out and do a trippy little dance for you. Not very difficult, but that was just a simple stage. The later stages required you to think out timers and latency issues and all kinds of other trippy stuff.
The Learning Company later released a game which used the same ideas but in a much more intricate, interesting way; see Robot Odyssey.