Ted Koppel Interviews Chris Crawford About SCRAM (1981)

Pic via The New GAMER

One of my best friends was able to attend the Oklahoma Video Game Expo that Flack posted about last Thursday. Upon his return to town after the Expo he dropped by where I work and showed me his haul. He was able to pick up Flack’s book, Commodork, an Odyssey 4000 system, Zaxxon for the Atari 400/800, some programming books for said Atari computer systems and the manuals for Missile Command and a game that I’ve never heard of until today entitled SCRAM.

A little research fixed that problem, SCRAM (Which is the term used for an emergency shutdown of a Reactor) is a Nuclear Reactor simulator/game that was designed by Chris Crawford for the Atari 800. Your job was to make sure the Reactor didn’t melt down by using your joystick to control everything from the control rods, release valves, cooling pumps, and the repair crews for when the Reactor suffered damage. The damage seemed mostly to come from earthquakes and the player had to check his heat readings to determine where to dispatch the repair crews.

Here is Ted Koppel on ABC’s Nightline interviewing Chris Crawford about the game. For some reason the audio is just a step out of sync.

[Via] Laura JMG’s YouTube Channel

What surprised my friend and I most was just how thick the manual was for the game…it truly looked like it was what might have been handed to a real Nuclear Reactor operator, there is actually a lesson in Thermodynamics in it! The gorgeous art on the front of the manual is the illustration you see up top…why don’t they make covers like that for games anymore?


Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I was lucky enough to have this game available to play as a kid. The manual was complicated!

    Along with Jumbo Jet Pilot (http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-jumbo-jet-pilot_2697.html), the simulations in Scram were mystifying. Every game of Scram ended in a meltdown, every game of Jumbo Jet Pilot ended by crashing the plane. (I remember my father almost landed the plane once.)

    Just looking at the screenshot, Scram makes a lot more sense now. Maybe we should have read the manual?

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