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Alpha Beam with Ernie - Atari - Atari 2600    Manual Scan icon HTML Manual   

Alpha Beam with Ernie
ATARI 2600





Educational games featuring the lovable Sesame Street Muppets and other
wonderful, whimsical characters.  The creators of Sesame Street, Electric
Company, and 3-2-1 Contact have teamed up with the creators of the world's
most popular video games.

ATARI/CCW games are designed by writers, artists, programmers, 
psychologists, and lots of kids!

One Part Creative Magic
One Part Technical Wizardry
One Part Educational Know-How
Dynamic, Child-Appropriate Video Games!

ATARI/CCW Video Games Provide:
* Family Play
* Continuous Challenge
* Long-Term Play
* Nonviolent Play
* Opportunity for Cooperative Play, Individual Play, and Competitive Play
* Appeal to Both Girls and Boys

This Video Game Product was developed by ATARI, INC. and the CHILDREN'S
(c) 1983 ATARI, INC. All Rights Reserved
(c) 1983 CHILDREN'S COMPUTER WORKSHOP, INC. All Rights Reserved
Muppet Characters (c) 1983 MUPPETS, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Featuring the JIM HENSON(tm) SESAME STREET(tm) MUPPET(tm) characters.

                       TABLE OF CONTENTS
                       * NOTE TO PARENTS
                       * SETTING UP
                       * A READ-ALOUD STORY
                       * GAME PLAY
                       * MORE ALPHABET FUN
                       * GAME MATRIX


The ALPHA BEAM game provides children with an exciting outer space setting
in which they can practice important prereading skills such as:

 [ A A ]    1) Matching identical letters.

 [ D d ]    2) Matching upper case letters with their corresponding lower
               case letters.

 [ m n ]    3) Discriminating between confusing letters.

ALPHA BEAM is unique in that it includes opportunities for cooperation.
When you play ALPHA BEAM with your child you can foster coooperative play
by talking to him or her.  As you play, say things like, "Which letter
should we pick up first?"  and, "Where should we put the letter A?"
Encourage your child to talk about the game also.




For a one-player game, plug an ATARI KID'S CONTROLLER into the LEFT cont-
roller jack at the back of your ATARI 2600 console. (See Figure 1.) For a
two-player game, the player who operates the top shuttle uses a controller
plugged into the LEFT jack and the player who manuevers the bottom shuttle
uses a controller plugged into the RIGHT jack.

           [Figure 1 - Plugging in the Controller]

You will find two keypad overlays included with this cartridge.  These
colorful overlays will help your children select and use appropriate buttons. 
Slip the overlay tabs into the slots at the top and bottom of your ATARI 
KID'S CONTROLLER, as shown in Figure 2.

                     [Figure 2 - Keypad Overlay]

               Note: The "Atari Kid's Controller" was a
               large  6" x 7 1/2" Video Touch Pad that
               was bought separately from the game cart.
               The ALPHA BEAM WITH ERNIE overlays for the 
               controller blocked off all but four keys:
                               [Beam up]
                                  / \    
              [move left] <(4) (6)> [move right]
                                  \ /
                              [Beam down]

                       Kid's Controller Key Layout:
                           | 1     2     3 |
                           |               |
                           | 4     5     6 |
                           |               |
                           | 7     8     9 |
                           |               |
                           | *     0     # |

NOTE: Always turn the console POWER switch OFF before inserting or
removing an ATARI Game Program Program cartridge.  This will protect the 
electronic components and prolong the life of your ATARI 2600 Video Computer
System console.


After you have inserted the Game Program cartridge, press the POWER ON/OFF
switch to ON.

ALPHA BEAM contains 12 exciting game levels. Each level is more challenging
than the previous level.  Find the game number you want to play in the GAME 
MATRIX on the back cover.  Press the GAME SELECT switch until the game number 
appears at the lower left of the television screen. (See Figure 3.) The number 
on the right indicates the number of players for that game.  For a detailed 
description of each game, see GAME PLAY.

                    [Figure 3 - Selecting a Game]
   (Game Number shown on left bottom of screen. Number of Players on right)

After you have chosen the game level you want to play, press GAME RESET
to begin the game.  You can also press GAME RESET during game play to start 
the game over.

RIGHT and LEFT DIFFICULTY switches are not used in this game.

Set the TV TYPE switch to COLOR to play the game on a color TV.  Set this
switch to B/W to play on a black and white TV.


                           ERNIE THE ASTRONAUT

"Space is terrific," said Ernie the astronaut as he flew his rocket ship
past the beautiful ringed-planet Saturn.  "But I'm really getting homesick
and I miss my old buddy Bert.  I think I'll turn around and start for home.
I'd better take a look at my trusty space map first so I won't get lost."

But as Ernie unfolded the map, his glance fell upon the fuel gauge of his
rocket ship.

"Uh oh!  I'm almost out of fuel!"  Ernie began to worry.  "I hope I can make
it to the next refueling station in time."

Just as his ship coasted to a stop, Ernie spotted the Alpha Beam Fuel 
Station. He put on his space suit and got into his space shuttle to go
collect the fuel for his rocket.

"Boy am I lucky," he said.  "I just made it!"

First, Ernie flew his shuttle over his rocket fuel bays to see what kind of
fuel he needed.  Then, he flew to the fuel station and carefully selected
the right tank for each fuel bay on his ship.

"The `A' fuel tank goes in the `A' docking bay, the `B' fuel tank goes in
the `B' docking bay, and so on," said Ernie.  "If you're planning to fly
a rocket ship through outer space, you've got to know your ABC's!"

Ernie knew he had to fill up the fuel bays as quickly as possible because,
according to his automatic countdown clock, his ship was set to blast off
in a few seconds.

"Nine...eight..." ticked the clock.  (Ernie loaded the first fuel tank.)
"Seven...six...five...four..."  (The `B' and `C' tanks were loaded.)

"Am I loading the fuel correctly?"  Ernie wondered.  "Will my ship make it
all the way back to earth?"

"Three...two..." (Ernie loaded the last tank and jumped aboard his rocket
just as the fuel bays closed.)  "One!  Blast off!"  The great rocket ship
headed towards Earth.

"I sure hope I make it," said Ernie.  "I really miss my old buddy Bert!"

"Ernie began to feel better as he passed Saturn again and saw Jupiter 
straight ahead.

"If I can just get to Mars," he thought.  "Earth is only one stop away."

But Ernie's ship started to slow down.  He looked at the control panel and
saw that his fuel indicator was nearing the empty mark again.

"Oh no!" he groaned.  "I'm running out of fuel.  Now I'll never make it all
the way home.  I'll never see my buddy Bert again!"

"What do you mean, Ernie?" asked Bert.  "Of course you'll see me again.
I'm just going to the kitchen to make oatmeal for breakfast."

Ernie opened his eyes and realized that he was safe in his own room.  His
toy rocket had fallen off his bed and was lying on the floor.

"Boy did I ever have a crazy dream, Bert!" laughed Ernie with relief.
"You'll never believe it, not in a million light-years!"



Oh no!  Ernie's rocket ship is out of gas!  Help Ernie get home by filling
up his rocket and making it blast off!


Beam the lettered fuel tanks that are floating in space into the docking bays
of Ernie's rocket ship.


Follow the directions in SETTING UP to plus in the KID'S CONTROLLER, to use
the keypad overlay, and to select a game level.


To move your space shuttle left, press the arrow that points left on your
keypad overlay. ( 4 key )
To move your space shuttle right, press the arrow that points right on your
keypad overlay.  ( 6 key )


If you control the top shuttle, move your shuttle directly under a letter
and press the beam button on your overlay that points up.  ( 2 key )

If you control the bottom shuttle, move your shuttle directly over a letter
and press the beam button on your overlay that points down.  ( 8 key )


To beam a letter from the top shuttle into the rocket, move your shuttle over
a fuel bay and press the beam button that points down.
                                             =*= <-----Shuttle (player 1) Top Fuel Bays__________ | | | | <------Beam down __________ | __ | __ __ | _____ | |___| |___| |___| |_|_| \ | \ | R O C K E T S H I P | | ___ ___ ___ ___ / |__________| |__| |__| |__| | |_____ / | | | Bottom Fuel Bays___|______| | <------Beam up |="*=" <-----Shuttle (player 2) To beam a letter from the bottom shuttle into the rocket, move your shuttle under a fuel bay and press the beam button that points up. As your child learns to maneuver the shuttlecraft, you may want to give him or her some step-by-step guidance. Try saying: * "First move your shuttle to the letter." * "Next, beam the letter onto the shuttle." * "Next, move to the docking bay." * "Now, beam the letter onto the rocket ship." GAME VARIATIONS ALPHA BEAM contains 12 levels of game play. Games 1 and 2 are for one player only, while Games 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 have one-player and two-player versions. Games 6, 7, 8, and 12 are two-player games only. Remember, when pressing GAME SELECT, the numeral on the lower left of the screen indicates game number while the numeral on the lower right indicates player number. Below are detailed descriptions of each game level. For quick reference, use the GAME MATRIX on the back cover. GAMES 1 AND 2: PRACTICE GAMES Practice beaming letters onto your shuttlecraft and then into the rocket fuel bays. When you want to pick up fuel, press the right or left arrow on your keypad overlay. Your shuttle will automatically center under the nearest fuel tank. When you are ready to load the fuel on the rocket, press the right or left arrow to automatically center your shuttle over the closest fuel bay. The letters on the fuel tanks and the rocket side are all the same letter. Game 1 uses all upper case letters while Game 2 uses all lower case letters. Take as much time as you want. Each time you fill up Ernie's rocket, it blasts off toward Earth. Welcome home! Had enough practice? Now try a more challenging game. In practice games, young children might need some help getting started. Say to your child, "Point to the letter you want to pick up and show me which way (left or right) you want to move to get it." This is also a good opportunity to talk about the names of the letters on the screen. GAMES 3, 4, and 5 Match the letters in the sky with those on the side of the rocket. The four letters on the side of the rocket are in alphabetical order while the four lettered tanks in the sky are scrambled. When you beam the correct letters from the sky into the rocket bays, you will be putting them in proper alphabetical order. You must carefully center your shuttle under and over the letters and rocket bays. If you try to beam a letter into a bay where it doesn't match, it won't go in and you'll hear a loud buzz. All the letters in Game 3 are in upper case, and all letters in Game 4 are lower case. In Game 5 all the letters on the side of the ship are lower case while the letters in the sky are upper case. Each time you fuel up Ernie's ship, it blasts off for home. What a blast! GAMES 6, 7, and 8 Now you and your partner must work together to put the same letter pairs in the top and bottom fuel bays of the rocket. (See Figure 4.) There are no letters printed on the rocket side so you decide which letters go where. Once a letter is beamed into a bay, the matching letter will only go into the adjoining bay. As soon as you fuel up the ship, it blasts off and you fly all the way home! Game 6 uses all upper case letters and Game 7 uses all lower case letters. In Game 8, the player operating the top shuttle selects from upper case letters, while the player operating the bottom shuttle selects from lower case letters. [Figure 4 Cooperative Game 8] GAME 9 Match upper case letters in the sky with lower case letters on the ship before the countdown reaches one. Game 9 is a timed game. See the number in the window of the rocket nose? (See Figure 5.) This is your countdown timer. You must fuel up Ernie's rocket as the countdown goes from nine to one. When the countdown reaches one, the rocket doors close, and the rocket blasts off. You get as far as Saturn if each player docks one tank in the right bay. if each player docks two tanks correctly, you get to Jupiter. You'll reach Mars if each player puts three tanks in the right bays. And you'll fly all the way to home sweet planet Earth if all four tanks are correctly placed! Welcome home Ernie! (See Figure 6.) [Figure 5 Timed Game] (Shows Countdown Timer in the nose of rocket) [figure 6 Ernie gets Home] GAMES 10 and 11 Now each player must choose among five letterd tanks in the sky to match four lettered bays in the rocket. Don't be surprised if the letters in the sky do not match the letters on the rocket. Each time you beam a letter from the sky it is replaced by the next letter in the alphabet. For example, beam a "K" onto your shuttle and it is replaced by an "L" in the sky; beam that"L" onto your shuttle and it's replaced by an "M." When you take the letter "Z" it is replaced by an "A." If you don't want to keep a letter that you beam onto your shuttle, simply beam another letter aboard your shuttle and the one you don't want will disappear into the air! You can beam through as many letters as you like this way until you have the letter you need to fill in the rocket bay. All letters in Game 10 are upper case; all letters in Game 11 are lower case. You have more time to dock your letters in Game 10 than in Game 11. In both games, the countdown starts at nine, and when it reaches one, your ship blasts off! How far will you get? As in Game 9, that depends upon how many fuel bays you filled correctly. You may want to talk about the concept of alphabetical order with your child. Encourage him or her to think about each letter on the screen and ask, "What letter comes next in the alphabet?" GAME 12 You and a partner beam matching letters into pairs of adjoining rocket bays. All upper case letters float above the rocket, while all lower case letters float below it. When you take a letter from the sky, it is replaced by the next letter of the alphabet. So, although you and your partner may not start out with matching letters, you can work together to create letter pairs by replacing letters in the sky until you make a match. The clock on the rocket ship will give you a quick countdown, so work fast and see how far you can make that rocket go when it blasts off! GAME 12: SUPERCHALLENGE When you've mastered matching letters randomly, try a more challenging game. See how fast you and your partner can spell these words together: HOME BERT STAR SHIP FAST DOCK MOON MARS ZOOM BEAM FUEL GAME You can also make your own list of words with four letters or ask your parent or friend to make one for you. * MORE ALPHABET FUN (Book activities for kids) 1. SPACE STATION XYZ Jumping Jupiter! There are lots of letters at the Alpha Beam fuel station. Can you find all the letters? 2. THE SHUTTLE FLEET Look! There are five shuttles in the fleet. Four shuttles are the same. Which one is different? 3. WHICH LETTER DOESN'T BELONG? In each picture there are four fuel tanks. Three of the fuel tanks have the same letter. One doesn't. Point to the letter in each picture that doesn't belong. 4. OUTER SPACE BUDDIES Ernie made a friend in outer space. Draw a picture of his new friend. Color the picture. 5. FUEL IT UP! Ernie's rocket ship needs fuel fast! You can help. Draw a line from each letter on the spaceship to the letter it matches in space. * GAME MATRIX _1_________ _2_________ _3_________ |="*=" | |="*=" | |="*=" | | A | | a | | A | | | | | | | | A A A A | | a a a a | | A B C D | |___________| |___________| |___________| _4_________ _5_________ _6_________ |="*=" | |="*=" | |="*=" | | c | | A | | A | | | | | | A | | a b c d | | a b c d | |="*=" | |___________| |___________| |___________| _7_________ _8_________ _9_________ |="*=" | |="*=" | |="*=" T| | a | | A | | A | | a | | a | | | |="*=" | |="*=" | | a b c d | |___________| |___________| |___________| _10________ _11________ _12________ |="*=" T| |="*=" T| |="*=" T| | L | | n | | A | | | | | | a | | B R K L | | r m n c | |="*=" | |___________| |___________| |___________|="*=" <--- Shuttle T <--- Timed Game: Countdown 9 to 1 Games 1 & 2: One-Player Games Games 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, & 11: One-Player & Two-Player Games Games 6, 7, 8, & 12: Two-Player Cooperative Games CO1974-103 REV. B 26103 (c) 1983 ATARI, INC. All Rights Reserved 

This document obtained from the History of Home Video Games Homepage, �1997-1998 by Greg Chance