Ebola Monkey Bingo game review

Randomly throwing words into the “Search Games” field, I came across Ebola Monkey Bingo and was rather intrigued…

There were several versions, 1.0.0, 1.0.1 and 2.0.0, so I figured that I’d check them out and see what a game of Ebola Monkey Bingo might look like. But first, I did some research, and boy!, there’s some amusing history behind this peculilarly named freeware game.

Released in 1997 by Argus IG, the game’s programmer, one Jason Salisbury, took to the internet discussion medium du jour that was (and still is, more on that in a later article) Usenet. Clearly being an eager young soul, he spammed the holy hell out of a bunch of Usenet newsgroups with his wares with the following or similar:

From: Argus IG <arg...@earthlink.net>;
Subject: ! FREE GAME: Ebola Monkey Bingo v1.00
Date: 1997/02/24
Message-ID: <3310F8E7.66F7@earthlink.net>;#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 221035587
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Organization: http://home.earthlink.net/~argusig
Mime-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: arg...@earthlink.net
Newsgroups: alt.consumers.free-stuff
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01Gold (Macintosh; I; PPC)

You've tried scrubbing, you've tried soaking, but you still can't get
enough of Ebola Monkey Bingo. What's more fun than a pen full of enraged
laboratory-bound primates? Hiding a couple of sick ones in there. The
catch? You don't want to find one. Only the finest Ebola-infected
specimens have been used in the construction of this Software Novelty,
so you'll have endless eons of enjoyment.

Use the link below to retrieve a .sit-compressed copy of Ebola Monkey


Or visit the Ebola Monkey Bingo Web page at:



System Requirements:
Macintosh or Macintosh-compatible computer running System 7 or greater.
Requires monitor capable of supporting 16 colors, or better. This
software is compatible, and has been tested, with both 68K-based
Macintoshes and PowerPC Macintoshes
=================================== MR. PHLOGISTON'S
Argus IG, Indianapolis, Indiana USA    LATE NIGHT
===================================      TV PICK
http://home.earthlink.net/~argusig/   updated daily
*****  Got JAVA? Play Mad Cow Roulette ONLINE  *****
***** http://home.earthlink.net/~argusig/java/ *****
 Download Argus IG's FREE Drive In QuickTime Player

Such was life in the early days of the internet. There was a not inconsiderable backlash, though, and controversy quickly arose from one of the targeted newsgroups. Users of alt.consumers.sweepstakes began to post messages claiming that the erstwhile Mr Salisbury was actually circulating a virus, accusations that were quickly and aggressively rebuffed by the said accused. One thing led to another, and Mr Salisbury had his internet account terminated. This made Wired.com, and their article on the sordid affair can be read here: https://www.wired.com/1997/03/earthlink-spanks-ebola-monkey-bingo-author/

I love the quote from the last paragraph from Mr Salisbury: “Admittedly, I’m extremely belligerent…” Oh, Internet! You and your drama!

Interestingly, and via the miracle of Google Group’s Usenet archive, there is a coda to the Wired story posted as a quasi press release by Argus IG:

From: arg...@earthlink.net
Subject: Early Parole: Ebola Monkey Bingo
Date: 1997/03/08
Message-ID: <857799971.1143@dejanews.com>;#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 224018822
References: <01bc29d9$bfc17520$33acd7cc@davec80.tiac.net>;
X-Http-User-Agent: Mozilla/3.01Gold (Macintosh; I; PPC)
X-Originating-IP-Addr: (pm5-03.in.net)
Organization: Deja News Usenet Posting Service
X-Article-Creation-Date: Sat Mar 08 05:46:11 1997 GMT
X-Authenticated-Sender: arg...@earthlink.net
Newsgroups: alt.consumers.sweepstakes

Early Parole: Ebola Monkey Bingo

As of approximately 4pm, EST, on Thursday, March 6th, 1996, Earthlink
lifted early the suspension of Argus IG's e-mail and Internet access.
Earthlink offered no explanation for its early lifting of the suspension.
Contrary to popular belief, the monkeys from Ebola Monkey Bingo were not
given a new suit of clothes, ten dollars, and a bus ticket, upon their
parole and early release.

Argus IG has been the victim of a false virus warning for our Software
Novelty, Ebola Monkey Bingo. We wish to repeat, Ebola Monkey Bingo IS A
GAME, not a virus. ASSofaras those persons who persist in claiming that
our product is, or harbors, a virus, they are most likely the result of
what happens when cousins get married, and wear the adult-sized diapers
with the big, blue bunnies on them.

Argus IG attributes the Oprah sighting to high lead levels in the water
table of the alt.consumers.sweepstakes newsgroup.

That Dave would take any pleasure in acquiring national attention, by
victimizing an organization for a product he never used, with his false
virus warning is disturbing. That others would take it upon themselves to
join the melee, then complain when gamma radiation spotted their silk
blouses and made their puzzlers hurt, have only themselves, or their dry
cleaner, to blame.
The Ambassador of Goodwill in the Yellow Hat
Argus IG

Anyway, does the game live up the hype? Frankly, no! It seems to be entirely without any element of skill or wit, just a randomised “click a monkey, if it’s got ebola, game over” mechanic. Garbage! Give it a try if you wish, here’s a link to all three versions of the game: http://vintageapplemac.com/software/games/?g=Ebola

Ebola Monkey Bingo


Ebola Monkey Bingo game

Ebola Monkey Bingo GAME OVER

Ok, other than the amusing drama, this was a poor choice for the first ever game review on VintageAppleMac.com. I shall try in future to be a little more discerning and a little less swayed by comedy gold.

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