M*A*S*H Baffles As Video Game

M*A*S*H is definitely a television classic but I never understood why people thought it was merchandisable. Just because a TV series is long-running and tops the ratings doesn’t mean it lends itself to lunch boxes, action figures and board games. However, M*A*S*H had all of those items produced along with the most baffling one, a video game.

How does the TV series lend itself to a video game? It’s a stretch. Or shall I say stretcher. It is a 1 or 2 player game where the player dukes it out against a friend or the computer in a race to save the most wounded soldiers.

As you attempt to do this via helicopter you are blocked by trees and anti-aircraft fire. This level is kind of like “Chopper Command” meets “H.E.R.O.” Once this level is complete you make your way from that odd mash-up to a ripoff of Operation.

At this level the player attempts to remove shrapnel from the patient’s body. If you are successful you earn points and move on to the next patient. If you bump the shrapnel against the patient’s body you get a buzzing sound signifying that you killed the patient.

Players may also compete in a level different from the first where they have to catch soldiers parachuting from the sky by jet.

I’ve never played this game but the consensus online is that it is pretty bad. It looks and sounds bad. You do get bits of “Suicide is Painless” in the game but that isn’t enough to make it good.

Released in 1983 by 20th Century Fox after the show was canceled, M*A*S*H was available for the Atari 2600, Sears Video Game system, and the TI-99/4A system by Texas Instruments.

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6 thoughts on “M*A*S*H Baffles As Video Game

  1. I had the M*A*S*H* game for my Atari 2600. Even at the time I thought it was weird that they turned a show like that into a video game.

    It was actually a pretty decent game, although I liked the helicopter rescue part a lot better than the operation part.

  2. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Tried out M*A*S*H for Atari from this VG rental store in the 80s.
    Yeah, very weird concept to push forward for console play.

    But, while I imagine 20thCF was trying to profit from its titles without spending too much on licensing, this is the studio that gave us the Planet Of The Apes series, The Poseidon Adventure and Young Frankenstein, among a myriad of titles that made my world a happier place.

    Woulda loved to see anything else, really.
    The subject of wartime medical emergency is just too depressing for mass consumption.
    (Yet, look at where we are in today’s swarm of FPS and their crazily-realistic head wound appeal)

    Just look at this list of Fox movie titles (albeit mostly from the end of the 60s, thereon) and imagine what VCS or Intellivision console might’ve looked like.
    How would *you* adapt your favorite old movie into 8-bit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_20th_Century_Fox_films

    This is the kind of mental gameplay I used to *love* giving myself.
    Glad to have a chance to revisit.

  3. I remember the TI-99/4A version being a lot of fun. It included speech synthesis which claimed to be “the voice of Alan Alda!”, but which was actually just the default voice of the speech synth.

  4. Bob Gosh says:

    Surprisingly, I was unaware of this game but would have then and would today totally play this game! I did have all of the figures and the whole 4077th setup on a table in my room!

  5. Cameron T. says:

    We played this on a TI/99/4A during breaks in Elementary school. (That would have been about 1991 or so, so it was old even then). When Trauma Center came out for the DS, I recalled this game. I don’t remember anything but the surgery, though.

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