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Klax (Game Boy Color)

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Title Screen

Klax

Developer: Digital Eclipse
Publisher: Midway Games
Platform: Game Boy Color
Released in US: April 1999
Released in EU: April 1999


DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
MinigameIcon.png This game has unused modes / minigames.
BonusIcon.png This game has hidden bonus content.


Today, it is the Millennium, and thanks to the power of Nintendo's Game Boy Color, you can now take Klax with you anywhere you go!

Hidden Printer Feature

Klax minigame 1.png Klax hidden printer.png

The feature is accessed by selecting green alien, green alien, red circle, blue square. After skipping the found minigame page, a picture of a head attached to a body will display with an option to print. The heads can be selected with the D-Pad.

Hidden Messages

A series of hidden messages can be accessed by selecting green diamond, blue pillar, blue pillar, green alien ten times.

Marriage Proposal

Klax minigame 1.png Klax Marriage.png

Select red circle, blue pillar, blue pillar, blue square ten times. At first, it will jump to the title screen, but after ten times, a screen will pop up saying that you found a minigame. After proceeding, a photo made on the Game Boy Camera of the programmer (Mike Mika) and his fiancee (Micki) will pop up, with the words

Micki, will you 
  Marry me?
(Source: Kill Screen)

Fictional History

Select blue square, blue pillar, green diamond, green alien in order to access this. Once again, the screen will say that you've found a minigame. After proceeding, a very long fictional backstory about Klax will appear that says

The Story of Klax

    Klax, or
"Klacksing," as it
was originally 
known, began on the 
boardwalks of sea-
side resort towns 
in New Jersey, and
quickly spread up
and down the Eastern
Seaboard. Although
some trace its roots
back to the Colonial
days, it is far more
likely that it
started during the
heady days of the
"Gilded Age,"
roughly 1870 - 1899.

     Gameplay was
remarkably similar
to the way the game
is played today.
A conveyor belt (the
first models were
cranked by young
urchins, but these
were quickly
replaced by steam or
electric engines)
carried large wooden
tiles towards a
depression in the
ground, called a
well. The tiles were
place on the 
conveyor behind a 
curtain. Because the
tiles were arranged
in a well, the
person placing the
tiles couldn't see
what patterns were 
being chosen, and so
what colors came
down the conveyor
was theoretically
random.

     The gentleman
(ladies were not
allowed to play) who
was "klacksing" then
arranged the tiles,
as we do today, in
vertical or
horizontal rows of
like colors
(diagonals were not
introduced until the
mid-1930s), under 
the watchful eye of
the game minder, who
mad sure that the
players did not
surreptitiously
rearrange tiles. In
the early days,
players were limited
to the tiles they
could hold in their
hands, and if three
tiles dropped off
the conveyor, the
game was over. If
the player achieved
an objective,
(getting 4
"klackses" or 3 in a 
row, say) that was
previously agreed 
upon between him and
the game minder, he
won a small prize,
like a Kewpie Doll.
Better prizes were
awarded for more
difficult
arrangements.

     Although
Klacksing was a 
popular resort
pastime, it really
took off during the
Roaring 20s, when
the "shoe" was
introduced. The shoe
was a device that
held up to five
tiles--no longer
were players limited
to the tiles they
held in their hand.
The shoe was also a
convenient place to
stash contraband 
bottles of beer if
the Police happened
by. The word for the
practice, "shoeing",
quickly became slang
for hiding alcohol,
and Klax (as it was
re-christened in
Pepe Morano's famous
song of the era),
which was once 
considering a
sporting game for
proper Victorian
gentlemen, quickly
became associated
with pool halls,
bootlegging, and
fast living.
     
     Even the Great
Depression couldn't
dull enthusiasm for
Klax, in fact, with
the diagonal, Klax
became more popular,
and the subject of
more decency
crusades aiming to
eliminate it. The
introduction of the
diagonal Klax was
made possible when
fully electro-
mechanical versions
of the game, which
used magnetized
tiles and mercury
switches to sense
klaxes, were shipped
from the arcade
makers in Chicago 
across the country.
It certainly didn't
help the game's
reputation to have
most versions
stamped with the
name of the Windy
City, which was then
associated with Al
Capone and all 
things criminal.
     
     Despite the
decency crusader's
efforts, it event-
ually took a war to 
quell the popularity
of Klax. Because the
electromechanical
game used so much
precious metal, and
because the game
took so much time
away from boys who
were soon to be
occupied by more
treacherous tasks,
F.D.R. banned the
game in an executive
order dated February
2nd, 1942.

"It is the war, and
there is no time for
Klax," declared FDR
in a public
statement, April
3rd, 1942. With most 
players--and
operators--destined
for the Army, there
was no public outcry
about the ban, and
after the war, the
game was quickly
forgotten in the
wave of post-war
technological
achievements like
television and
Skee-Ball. A few
newspaper columnists
noted Klax's
passing, but the
public at large,
which was so taken
with the game just a
few years ago,
seemed to completely
forget the game,
just as many pre-war
traditions were
lost. The game dis-
appeared so rapidly 
from the national
consciousness that
the ban on Klax
wasn't even offic-
ally lifted until
September 8th, 1978,
by Jimmy Carter--the
last of the World
War II executive 
orders to be
repealed.
     
     Although a few
electro - mechanical
Klax games exist in
collectors' hands,
the game was largely
forgotten until 1989
when programmers and
designers at Atari
Games resurrected
the concept for a
radical new puzzle 
game. The intro 
screen,

"It is the 90's and 
there is time for
Klax", recalled
FDR's famous
pronouncement.

     Today, it is
the Millennium, and
thanks to the power
of Nintendo's Game
Boy, you can now
take Klax with you
anywhere you go!

Real History

Select yellow alien, blue pillar, blue pillar, green alien. You'll see the found minigame screen, and after proceeding, the history of the arcade version is accessed, and it says

 THE STORY OF KLAX
   by David Akers

Mark Pierce came up
with the idea for
the game. He knew he
wanted to do a
puzzle game, so he
started drawing
pictures that
"looked like" puzzle 
games - pictures
filled with simple,
colorful shapes and
objects. The best
pictures he printed 
and hung up in his
office.

After living with 
these pictures for
awhile, he came up
with an idea for a
puzzle game where
tiles tumble down a
ramp, and the player
catches the tiles
and places them in 
bins to make "three
in a row"
combinations. Mark
wanted the tiles to
make a "Click-clack"
sound as they moved
down the ramp, so we
decided to call this
game "Klax".

The "Klax concept
approval" meeting
was held on a
Friday, and the
project was
approved, so that
weekend I started
playing around in
Amiga Basic to try 
and come up with a
scoring routine for
the game.

I created a set of 
bins, and randomly
filled them with 
tiles, and then
wrote the code to
score any "Klaxes"
(three in a row
combinations)
that came up. But it
was hard to test
different
combinations with
just random tiles,
so I added a paddle,
and had tiles appear
on it so I could
drop them where
ever I wanted. Then,
I added a ramp, and
had tiles randomly
appear in the
different lanes of
the ramp, and move
down the ramp - so
by the end of the
weekend I had a
crude version of
Klax running in
Amiga Basic.

I showed the Amiga
Basic Klax to Mark
Pierce, and he made 
a few suggestions.
Then he generated a
set of graphics and
went on vacation for
three weeks.

While he was gone, I
got a version of 
Klax running on an
old "Escape From the
Planet of the Robot
Monsters" arcade
hardware. By the
time Mark got back,
people were lining
up in the lab to 
play Klax.

At first, the game
would just drop 
tiles, and get
faster and faster
until the player
made a mistake. But
we liked the wave
structure of the
arcade version of
Tetris, so we wanted
to have waves in 
Klax. We weren't
sure what the "goal"
of a Klax wave
should be - to make
klaxes, or to get
some number of
tiles, etc.

Since people were
coming to the lab
all day to play the
game, we put in a
variety of different
goals, and changed
the goal with every
wave, and we asked 
players which goal
they liked best.
They said "we like
having variety!" so
we kept it that way.

Originally the tiles
were so large that 
the five bins across
filled the screen.
But marketing said
they wanted two
players to be able 
to play at the same
time, so we had to
shrink the tiles.
Mark still prefers
the original "large
tile" version.

The circuit board
used in the arcade 
version of Klax was
a simplified version
of the "Escape" 
board. To reduce 
cost we had to
choose between
having a music (FM
synthesis) chip and
a digitized sample
chip. We decided to
go with the
digitized samples.
The audio department
experimented with a
variety of sounds to 
get a distinctive
sound for each tile.
Mark wanted a "golf
crowd" effect for
winning and losing
the rounds, so we
gathered all the 
Atari employees we
could find and
crammed them into
Atari's sound room,
and the resulting
"Klax Choir" made
the different crowd
effects.

Credits

The credits can be accessed by selecting blue pillar, yellow alien, green diamond, green diamond and are

for Digital Eclipse

Programmer
  Mike Mika

Support Programmers
  Bob Baffy

Support Programmers
  Joe Miguel

Support Programmers
  Jeremy Mika

Project Leader
  Chris Charla

Artists
  Boyd Burggrabe

Artists
  Kevin James

Sound
  Bob Baffy

Producer
  Bill Schmitt

Executive Producer
  Andrew Ayres

Special Thanks
  David Akers

Special Thanks
  Dan Filner

Special Thanks
  Jeff Frohwein

Special Thanks 
  Mark Pierce

Special Thanks
  Jeff Vavasour

for Atari

Producers
  Robert Daly

Producers
  Mike Kruse

Executive Producer
  Bill Hindorff

Test Manager
  David Ortiz

Product Analysts
  Larry Cadelina

Product Analysts
  Mario Guevara

Product Analysts
  Jose Amparan

Product Analysts
  Pablo Buitrago

Lead Testers
  Alex Beran

Lead Testers
  Jeffery Suarez

Special Thanks
  Debra Heinz

Special Thanks
  Maribel Santa Cruz

THE END

Minigames

Fürd Herder

Klax minigame 1.pngKlax minigame 2.png

Select green alien, green alien, blue square, green alien and the game will be accessed after skipping the found minigame screen. The game is a minesweeper clone.

Snake

Klax Snake title.png Snake minigame.png

The game can be accessed by selecting red circle, green diamond, blue square, green alien.