Gremlins Arcade Game - Atarigames.Com

Check Out 1985’s Unreleased Gremlins Arcade Game!

For those of you that listened to the Crystal Castles episode of the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast in March. You will recall I was going to share with you, actual proof that Atari was working on a Gremlins arcade game! I said of course that I was going to include a link to the video but in all honesty, I forgot. So naturally I felt it was time to make a post about it. Because it certainly looks like the Gremlins arcade game would have been a blast to play!

There isn’t actually a whole lot of information to go on. However, here is what we do know. The game was being developed by Atari in 1985. With Franz Lanzinger of Crystal Castles, Millipede, and Toobin’ (NES port) fame in charge of development.

[Via] NES Guide

Only a prototype exists for the Gremlins arcade game. Other classic arcade sites have mentioned it isn’t even known if the video represents an actual physical prototype. Quite possibly of course, the gameplay we see is merely from the ROM file. Thanks to – which seems to be down at the moment, we do have some neat artwork. Artwork I might add from what could have been the marquee for the game itself. Back in 1985 that would totally have drawn me to the cabinet like a siren’s song!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Arcade Cabinet - Atarigames.Com

Naturally we do not know why Atari decided to pull the plug. As you will see in the video below, it looks like the game was pretty much complete. Obviously in 1985, the legendary company was suffering from the Video Game Crash of ’83. So even though a year previously, Gremlins was tearing up the box office… perhaps the company felt it better to just pull the plug?

In the Gremlins arcade game, there are three separate levels. With the first level representing Lynn Peltzer’s valiant attempt at defending her kitchen. By way of what appears to be an endless supply of kitchen knives to hurl at her attackers!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 1

In the next screen, you are playing Billy Peltzer, attempting to traverse the streets of Kingston Falls. Obviously being assaulted by the toothy little Gremlins, using a flashlight to ‘melt’ them. I would assume the arcade game was designed with twin joysticks or perhaps you would become stationary when holding down the flashlight button?
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 2

Last but not least, the third level would have let you play Gizmo. Driving in your Barbie Car through the aisles of Montgomery Ward, avoiding obstacles and a tank in hot pursuit. I am willing to bet that in the game it is supposed to be Stripe chasing you in that toy tank.
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 3

One more thing to pay attention to while watching the video. How incredible the music is that Franz Lanzinger used in the game. It is quite frankly portions of the actual Gremlins soundtrack from the 1984 film by Jerry Goldsmith.

Now then, you know a little about the Gremlins arcade game. So why not watch it in action?

[via] Frank Cifaldi

You probably have Gremlins on your mind now, right? I think this would certainly be the time to revisit the Retroist Podcast on the 1984 film!
Retroist Gremlins Podcast


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.