Welcome to another Quick Bits article. While working on a more general article on Datamost I thought I’d touch upon some of the games published by the company in the early ’80s. I found a Datamost Christmas ad in the December 1983 issue of Commander Magazine and thought that a few short articles on the advertised games were a great idea for this December (I probably won’t have time to cover all of them before Christmas).
The 1983 Christmas ad from Datamost
In the earliest part of the ’80s, the fledging home computer market was saturated with variants of popular concepts. The successful arcade games of the time often became the inspiration for programmers trying their luck with game development. Copying proven concepts allowed a focus on the programming aspect and not so much on inventing new and engaging gameplay mechanics. Programmer Ron Rosen had found his way into the market with his first commercially released game, Pacific Coast Highway, an excellent Frogger clone, released by Datasoft in 1982. Rosen was part of an ever-growing Atari 8-bit community embracing the system’s advanced graphics and multi-channel sound capabilities. While having been introduced back in 1979, now three years later the system was still the platform of choice if you wanted the best in gaming.
During 1982, Bill Hogue‘s original platformer, Miner 2049er became one of the most popular games for the Atari computer, and the title Rosen found his inspiration in for his next game. Hogue’s futuristic take on the 1849 California Gold Rush was switched for a robot factory setting in what would become Mr. Robot and his Robot Factory.
Controlling a humanoid robot, the player had to traverse all of the platforms in a factory. Jump over alien fire, run over treadmills and bombs, climb ladders and escalators, slide down poles, bounce off trampolines, and transport yourself through thin air.
The game came with 22 challenging levels, plus a built-in level editor, The Robot Factory, allowing for saving up to 26 self-made screens. The game was picked up by Dave Gordon‘s Datamost where musician Gary Gilbertson, using Philip Price‘s Advanced Music Processor, composed the original music. Both Gilbertson and Price had just joined the Datamost family when the company had agreed to publish their excellent side-scroller The Tail of Beta Lyrae.
Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory was published for the Atari 8-bit by Datamost in 1983. The same year conversions for the Commodore 64 and the Apple II were released.
Ron Rosen’s Mr. Robot and his Robot Factory was initially released for the Atari 8-bit in 1983 by Datamost. It was ported to the Commodore 64 and the Apple II the same year
Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory featured some of the best level designs of its time while quite challenging at first, as soon you familiarized with the game mechanics and the different levels, you’d find a wonderfully crafted and enjoyable platformer
Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory was positively reviewed and compared to Miner 2049er but was sufficiently different to be its own, representing an enthralling new test of skills.
Sources: Halcyon Days, Wikipedia, Breakout by Jamie Lendino…