Toobin’

One of the classic video games I most closely associate with summertime is Toobin’.

Released in 1988 by Atari, the goal of Toobin’ is to navigate your way through a series of white water rapids on innertubes while avoiding everything from snakes to whirlpools, sharp sticks, mines, alligators, errant fishermen, dragonflies, stationary rocks, falling rocks and natives with blowguns. Whoever did their research on picking this as a vacation spot did not do their research.

Score is achieved by picking up floating treasure as well as navigating bonus slalom checkpoints whose value decreases each time you bump into them. Players can also pick up soda cans and throw them at one another, temporarily stunning their opponents.

Toobin’ was ported to several classic video game systems and computers. I recently found this Nintendo boxed copy of the game in the wild for $5. The box is not in great condition but the game works great and since it will be 100 degrees here in Oklahoma this weekend I will hopefully spend my time indoors in the air conditioning while playing this game.

Toobin’ is a 16-bit arcade game and, as such, shares many of the same sound effects as other Atari games from that same era. You’ll notice the game’s “bong” that plays whenever coins are inserted is identical to the noise that appears on other Atari games from that same era including Gauntlet, Paperboy and 720. The sound chip used by Atari during this time is one of my favorites and I love the music contained within these games.

One thing that made Toobin’ unique was its control panel. Instead of a joystick, to control your player in Toobin’ players had four different buttons: a left and right for paddling forward, and two more for paddling backward. A fifth button allowed players to throw cans at one another and other river obstacle. Home ports of the game typically modified the control scheme so that it was easier to play using a standard joystick.