Unseen for almost 30 years, M.U.L.E. for the IBM PCjr

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MULE Box

An alert Retroist reader pointed out that one of the games I unboxed in an earlier video is actually pretty rare. You can see that glorious unboxing here.

I had no idea M.U.L.E. for the PCjr was a collector’s item, but I did know that it is a fantastic game. Some compare the game to Monopoly, but that doesn’t do it justice since M.U.L.E. encompasses so many different gaming elements. The IBM PCjr version of the game may not be the best version of M.U.L.E. ever created, but it is interesting that IBM thought highly enough of the game that they sponsored it for the PCjr platform. The following video is, I believe, the only known video of M.U.L.E. gameplay on this particular platform.


8 Responses to Unseen for almost 30 years, M.U.L.E. for the IBM PCjr

  1. xot says:

    Alright! Alert reader here who’s been waiting with great anticipation for this. Saw this at the top of my Twitter feed this morning. What a great way to start the day!

    It’s very interesting to me to see the planet generator not follow the traditional mountain placement rules for what appears on the surface to be first-generation port. I wonder what other design deviations from the canonical Atari/C64 versions can be found.

    The relative slowness of the animation and movement is a little surprising. I know the PCjr isn’t exactly a graphics powerhouse, but things are so sluggish I might have expected the port to have been abandoned. I wonder what affect this has on the game’s many time-critical mechanics.

    Thanks for sharing in this video both the game play and the remarkably complete packaging. You’ve got a rare gem on your hands.

  2. I played this game incessantly on the C64. Fantastic find. And yeah, I really did come to hate that thing.

  3. puzzud says:

    Wow, what a sight! This video is really fantastic. At first glance, I am delighted to see it using the original graphics in some fashion, as oppose to using the graphics from the MSX/PC-8801 version. But yea, the sluggishness of the graphics rendering is almost painful to watch. Interesting observation about the mountain placement. The Pub being called the Inn.

    I think I speak for all the die-hard MULE fans: we’d all really like to try this version out. What are the prospects of seeing this version released on the web?

  4. Thanks Vince for the effort of creating this video, great to see it!
    I agree with xot, there seem to be some deviations from the C64/Atari versions.
    I’m looking forward to playing this myself and write a thorough review/comparison, as soon as (hopefully) a disk image is available.

  5. piete says:

    Hurrah! I was so excited to see a direct port of the Atari original, that I overlook the mountain pattern deviation, which xot promptly observed. On the other hand, part of the “sluggishness” is due to the beginner level, so I’m expecting this version to come right behind the Atari and C64 versions (behind due to the non-observation of the canon;), being the third most definitive version of the game!

    I have been curious for years of how this version would turn out to be, after seeing all the bad attempts to “improve” the original, and now this doubt has been cleared.

    Thank you vinvectrex, in my books this is the cultural deed of the decade, if not the century (or millennium, for that matter)!

  6. VicSage says:

    Great post, Vinvectrex! Thanks for letting me get a glimpse at this version of such a classic game. Keep ‘em coming!

  7. vinvectrex says:

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words. I do hope to have a disk image available so others can give this a try for themselves.

  8. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Great retro vid, vin!

    Love watching the old machinery at work.

    Back then, we had to pace ourselves according to the times – with machine load-ups and brief tv commercial breaks (leading to overall regular breathing patterns).

    Seeing M.U.L.E., and the start-up screen for Space Quest in your other video, reminded me how relaxing it was to play games.
    Also how much imagination was a larger part of the gamer’s agreement.

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