Jumpman was an early action platform game released in 1983. It was released initially for the Atari 8-bit then ported to the Commodore 64 and a little later to the Apple II, PC (DOS) and ColecoVision (never released?). It was somewhat similar to and inspired by Donkey Kong which is even mentioned in the ad.

Jumpman was written in an age where it was still common for some guy to write a game in his basement (or wherever) and take it to a publisher. This was the case with Jumpan. Epyx, at the time called Automated Simulations, was transitioning from publishing strategy games to more action oriented games. They were branding these action games under the Epyx label. With Jumpan’s success, the company changed its name to Epyx and published a number of awesome games over the years.

Atari 8-bit

The idea of the games is that you are progressing through various floors of a building diffusing bombs. Jumpman can jump (of course) and climb up and down ladders and ropes (though ropes are one-way). Hazards include bullets and other obstacles unique to each level. The biggest threat always seems to be falling though.

Both the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 versions of the game were very good. The Apple II version was inferior and that’s somewhat ironic given that the initial development of the Atari version was done on the Apple II. The PC version is somewhere in between. The ColecoVision version is supposedly based on the Commodore 64 version but I don’t think it was ever released. Instead it got the ‘lite’ version, Jumpan Jr.

Commodore 64

Jumpan was one of the best games of its type (far better than Donkey Kong in my opinion). If you are fan of classic games then this one is definitely a must play. Track down the Atari or Commodore 64 version. Original disks aren’t too hard to find but given the age you may want to stick with emulation. Make sure you have an appropriate controller though as its more fun with a proper classic style joystick.