Kangaroo - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Kangaroo (1982)

Kangaroo is the pick this week for Christopher Tupa’s Retro Arcade Art project. Much like with Dig Dug this is another classic arcade game that many of you will remember. Developed as well as published by Sun Electronics in 1982. It was in fact distributed by none other than the legendary Atari. And when you get down to it, Kangaroo shares some slightly similar aspects to 1981’s Donkey Kong.

I have to say that as a protagonist. A mother Kangaroo wearing boxing gloves might seem like an odd choice. That is of course until you read the description of the game. Your little joey has been abducted by some rather nasty acting monkeys. So it’s up to you to get your baby back…by throwing a few good jabs.

As a ten-year-old I can certainly say I felt up to the task. Although my first experiences with it were at the fabled Showbiz Pizza of my youth. It was well past the point it was in the “showcase” row. It had been placed down in the lower level of the arcade alongside Donkey Kong Jr. and Popeye. However I really took a shine to the gameplay.

Kangaroo is a platformer. You have to jump, climb, and hop up a variety of stages in your attempt to rescue your joey. All the while you must contend with those monkeys. Who enjoy nothing more than rearing back and hurling apple cores at you. Thankfully the Player can duck the edible projectile or hop over it if tossed across the ground. Of course you can also punch the apple cores too for some bonus points but your timing better be pretty good.
Kangaroo - Stage 1

Besides the thrown apples, a monkey will move back and forth across the tops of the four stages. His job is to try and drop apple cores down upon your head. I’ve always found this occurs generally when you are making a jump or scurrying up a ladder. Also there is a pink Gorilla that will occasionally appear. His goal is to steal the boxing gloves from our hero. No boxing Gloves means no ability to punch monkeys or thrown fruit.
Kangaroo - Stage 2

Kangaroo - Stage 3

Stage 3 is one of my favorites. You have to knock out a row of monkeys holding joey in a cage!

Fun fact. I have never actually made it to the fourth stage.

Now how about you take just a couple of minutes and watch Kangaroo in action?

[Via] Mame Player

Kangaroo may not have been as popular as the likes Donkey Kong or Pac-Man but it did well enough to receive home versions. Ports were made available to the Atari 8-Bit computers as well as the Atari 2600 and 5200. Most fans prefer the 5200 which I will admit I’ve not had the pleasure of playing before. However if you happen to feel like reading what I thought of the 2600 port back in 2010 – just click here.

Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

At the very least, Kangaroo was popular enough to warrant a spot on CBS’ Saturday Supercade!

[Via] Kiddo Cabbusses

Remember to check out CTupa’s past entries for the Retro Arcade Art Project!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)
(Dig Dug)
(Inferno)

Dig Dug -Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Dig Dug (1982)

Friends, feast your eyes on Christopher Tupa‘s Dig Dug illustration! Not only is it CTupa’s pick for this weeks Retro Arcade Art. Obviously. But it also happens to be one of my favorite video games as well. Much like Pac-Man, there are elements of Dig Dug that match maze games. However in this case you are pretty much making your own maze as you dig through a treacherous underground setting.
Dig Dug - Marquee

Dig Dug was released by Atari in the arcades of North America in May of 1982. However it was actually developed and published by an equally legendary game company – Namco.

Dig Dug -Arcade Flyer Archive

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive

Certainly most of you that frequent the Retroist or enjoy classic gaming will know how this game works. Players are tasked with guiding Dig Dug, as he was known in the first game, as you tunnel through the stratum that makes up each level. The character’s goal is clearing out a collection of motley monsters below the surface of the Earth. With only the aid of an air pump to help him dispatch the beasties as well as boulders scattered about the stage.

Using the air pump, a Player will hit the pump button three or four times, which inflates a foe until it expands so much it pops. If you do not pump the enemy until they explode they will slowly deflate and come after you again. The problem is the Pookas and Fygars rarely come at the Player one at a time beyond the first few rounds. The enemy can even travel through the dirt for a sneak attack, trying to catch you from the left and right as well as up and down. This of course requires a great deal of juggling in the later stages!

Oh, the amount of Pookas and Fygars that met their grim fates over dozens of Saturday afternoons at the Showbiz Pizza of my youth. In truth if we counted them all I would probably be brought up on charges by a video game court.
Dig Dug - Characters

Dig Dug was certainly a hit for both companies. Game cabinets being produced for upright, cocktail and even cabaret units. For those of you that might not have seen a cabaret version. It basically was a smaller upright, designed of course for arcades and other locations where space might be a premium.
Dig Dug - Cabaret

Dig Dug didn’t find success in just the arcades. It had brisk sales for the popular consoles and home computers of the day as well. Ports could be found on the Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 systems. Besides the Atari computers the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 received ports as did IBM PC and TI-99/4A.
Dig Dug - Atari 2600

Besides the awesome artwork that CTupa provides for his Retro Art Blog entries. I am glad to constantly find out facts I hadn’t known. Case in point that the Intellivision DID receive a home port of the game. It was in 1987 though, programmed by Mark Kennedy…when he was working for Atarisoft I should add.
Dig Dug - Intellivision

Apparently Mark added two Easter eggs to his port. One of them allows you to experience a different title screen. The second though lets you play an entirely second game entitled Deadly Dogs. Which is TRON Deadly Discs but instead of TRON and the warriors of the MCP. You are the hot dogs from Burger Time!

That is pretty crazy, right? Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Now that you know a bit about Dig Dug. Why not enjoy this commercial that was originally shown in move theaters?

[Via] Scottith Games

Make sure to also enjoy the earlier entries for the Retro Arcade Art By CTupa!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)

Retro Video Games

Check Out The Funko Retro Video Games Mystery Minis!

Is there a better location to open up Funko’s new Retro Video Games mystery minis than the Arkadia Retrocade? From the arcade cabinet design of the packaging as well as the choice of iconic video games represented. I say it is in fact another example of why Funko is going to take over the world! So let us take a few moments and check out the Retro Video Games mystery minis!
Retro Video Games

First of all, the arcade itself didn’t pick up these blind boxes. These particular Retro Video Games collectibles all belong to Rhi, one of my co-workers at the arcade. Having said that…I will be totally shocked if the arcade doesn’t end up getting the full set.

Funko has yet to to fail to deliver the goods. With the likes though of Centipede, Q*bert, Dig-Dug, Frogger, and Mega Man. As well as our childhood icons from Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man, I think you’ll agree they knocked it out of the park.
Retro Video Games - Pac-Man

I would add that the Retro Video Games Mystery Minis are a bit larger than the typical Funko mini offering. They don’t quite reach three apples high, but these Concord grape soda bottles should prove my point.

Also of interest is that while they are certainly blind mini boxes. You will in fact not pull a Q*bert out of a Dig-Dug box, etc. I have to say I really love this. It will help in filling out your collections quite a bit.


Of the 12 boxes that Rhi opened last evening. I think it is safe to say that Centipede is one of my favorites. The sculpt truly captures the menace of the side art from that classic game.

In addition to the joy of seeing the Retro Video Games mystery minis opened. It was Earl Green that had the bright idea of comparing them to the classic Coleco Doney Kong PVC collectibles.

If you are ready to add Funko’s Retro Video Games Mystery Minis to your own collection. You can totally hop on over to Amazon right this second and place your order!

Did You Call The Atari 900 Phone Number?

I will be upfront and honest as always. I have neither any recollection of an Atari 900 phone number. Moreover I’ve not seen this 1984 television commercial featuring that number until just a few minutes ago. As a matter of fact I would be willing to wager this ad ran on MTV back in the day. A channel that wasn’t carried in my neck of the woods until a bit later.

Retro Commercials Forever

I must admit a bit of confusion however. So was the gaming fan at home supposed to call the Atari 900 phone number and buy one of the games? If this commercial truly was aired in 1984 – that would be after the gaming crash. I vaguely remember picking up Atari 2600 carts at my local Kay-Bee toy store for a song at that time.
Atari 900 Phone Number

Or was the whole purpose in fact to purchase one of the MTV jackets? Furthermore was the likes of Pole Position, Moon Patrol, Dig-Dug, Mario Bros., and Joust the mystery bonus?
atari-900-phone-number-mystery-bonus

Looking online hasn’t brought me any answers to these questions. That of course doesn’t detract from the awesomeness of that TV ad. That MTV jacket looks pretty neat but without a doubt it cannot beat the majesty of the Atari jacket. Granted that is of course only my personal opinion on the matter. On the other hand I did in fact own one of these beautiful Atari jackets back in the day.
atari-jacket

All right. Forget about that Atari 900 phone number. Join me as we keep looking at the Atari jacket!


atari_jacket

Retro vs Remake: Dig Dug vs. Mr. Driller

Dig Dug, the much loved 1982 arcade game by Namco has been ported, sequel-ed and remade a dozen times over. And why not? It’s a charming, addictive game, despite its age.

Who knew tire pumps made such effective weapons?

Gameplay is pretty simple: drill your way around in the dirt, destroying enemies by inflating them with your bike pump. Yes, a bike pump. Like Pac-man or Galaga, this game has little basis in reality. You play as a little Japanese man (Officially known as Dig Dug, but also known as Taizo Hori) that must rid the earth of monsters. To do this, you must drill underground where the monsters dwell. Moving in any of the four directions on the 2D stage automatically drills the dirt ahead of you, creating a maze of tunnels in your wake. But be careful, drilling underneath rocks causes them to fall, so make sure you’re not in the way; monsters on the other hand… The monsters spend most of their time prancing back and forth in their own little tunnels, at least until you break the walls confining them. (If you take too long, they will transform into phantoms and float through the dirt toward you) Once freed, the monster will start moving along the tunnels you’ve created and attempt to strike you before you can toss the “air hose of death” at them.

Speaking of the bike pump, its actually an interesting weapon. When you press the “fire” button, you throw the hose out in front of you and if it catches a monster, it automatically inflates them. Slightly. To destroy them, you have to keep inflating them by continuously pressing the “fire” button. Interestingly, an effective strategy is inflating the creatures partway so that they remain motionless (at least until they deflate) then you could “arrange” them in a group under a rock and crush them for bonus points.

Now how about that remake…

Mr. Driller.

Namco went from cute to absolutely quirky with this 1999 arcade Dig Dug remake. (indecently starring the son of Dig Dug) Now I use the term remake loosely; Mr. Drilller is kind of a kind of a sequel/spin-off/remake of Dig Dug all rolled into one. The basic concept of drilling underground remains, but the rest of the game is completely different. For one, there are no enemies to harm or harm you. Instead, the environment is your adversary. Your goal is to drill down through a field of colored blocks until you run out of air (you can collect air refills as you drill) or reach the bottom. The blocks come in all various shapes with like adjacent like colors sticking to each other. As you drill, you will invariably cause the blocks above you to come loose since you can and have to drill in any direction. If you’re not fast enough, these blocks can crush you, but if a falling block happens to pass a similarly colored block, it will stick to it and, if it creates a set of 4 or more of the same color, disappear. Needless to say, the falling and disappearing blocks can cause massive chain reactions either to your benefit or detriment. There are also special blocks that don’t merge with other blocks as well as poison blocks, that if opened, can drain a chunk of your precious air supply.

The sound and graphics in Mr. Driller are certainly something to behold. It’s extremely bright and colorful with obvious Anime styling and the sound is every definition of happy and quirky.

So how do these two games compare? Well they both have pretty simple and easy to pick up gameplay. Mr. Driller is certainly more fast-paced and frantic than Dig Dug’s admittedly slow trudge. On the other hand, Dig Dug does allow for more strategic planning to rack up point bonuses. So I’m not sure how to call this one. They’re both great games, but I do have a nostalgic partiality for Dig Dug.

What’s your vote? Dig Dug or Mr. Driller?