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  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Atari 2600)

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Platform: Atari 2600


    The Atari 2600 had a very long life that started all the way back in 1977. The last commercial games for that system were not released until 1991 (1992 in Europe). As a consequence, there were a large number of games that production started on but for one reason or another were never finished. Many prototypes have been found throughout the years, some quite playable and others not so much. One Such prototype is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

    Apparently, Atari went so far as to license Snow White from Disney (or maybe it was part of some other larger licensing deal?) but managerial indecision about what kind of game it should ultimately be led to delays that eventually led to cancellation. It was thought that no coding was ever done until a prototype showed up on eBay in 2000.

    It turns out there were two prototypes (that anyone knows about so far anyway). The first is dated November 9th, 1982 and is about 50% complete and has parts that are somewhat playable though it doesn’t make for a very enjoyable game. The second, dated December 9th 1983 is a somewhat different game that is simpler but less complete.

    Screen shots above are from the more complete version.

  • Mr. Do!’s Castle (Atari 2600)

    Mr. Do’s Castle, Atari 2600.


    Mr. Do! became quite the popular arcade character after the first game featuring him in 1982 simply titled Mr. Do! The game was popular enough that to speed along a sequel, an existing game in development was modified to be a Mr. Do! game by changing the graphics. The game was originally to be titled Knights vs. Unicorns. The Japanese version became Mr. Do! versus Unicorns and the U.S. release was called Mr. Do!’s Castle.

    Mr. Do!’s Castle features Mr. Do! climbing up and down ladders in a castle. The goal is to collect cherries by using a hammer to knock out blocks that contain them. The holes left behind can then be used to trap the Unicorn monsters which can then be smashed with another block.

    Mr. Do!’s Castle was released in 1982 and was ultimately ported to a wide variety of contemporary platforms including the Atari 2600. Unfortunately, the Atari 2600 version just isn’t that good. The Atari 2600 was a limited platform anyway but during the 1982 and 1983 time period in general, many games were rushed to try to take advantage of the video game craze. The graphics were never going to be close to the arcade version but they are hardly even recognizable. The game play is not significantly better. While the arcade version is a fun game I would steer clear of the 2600 version and if you want a home version try one of the 8-bit computer versions such as the Commodore 64 port. Really though, you might as well emulate the original arcade version.

    Screen shots above are from the Atari 2600 version of Mr. Do’s Castle.

  • Amidar (Atari 2600)

    Source: Video Games – January 1983

    Amidar was released as an arcade game by Konami in 1981. As this was near the height of the popularity of the Atari 2600, it’s unsurprising that it received an Atari 2600 port the following year. While this ad doesn’t specifically mention the Atari 2600, that was the only home system that it was released for at the time.

    This game makes fun of the endless maze games that were essentially knock-offs of Pac-Man. Ironically though, this game was really just another take on that concept. Amidar is really nonsensical as far as what you are doing in the game. On odd numbered levels you control an ape who must collect coconuts while avoiding headhunters. On even number levels you control a paint roller and must paint over each spot on the board while avoiding pigs. I have no idea what these two things have to do with each other.

    Other play mechanics are very much like Pac-Man. Touching enemies normally kills you but by clearing a board you are temporarily able to kill enemies by touching them (as if you ate a power pellet in Pac-Man). However, there is the rather unique jump button. Instead of making you jump it makes all your enemies jump and you can then walk under them. As you might expect, as the level increases, your enemies get faster and more numerous.

    The Atari 2600 version along with a 1983 release for the obscure Japanese only Casio PV-1000 are the only official releases I could find reference to. There were various knock-offs for various home computers that came a few years later. However, if you want an official home version you’ll have to find the Atari 2600 version. You can also always emulate this game but if you are going to do that, you might as well find the arcade version. Apparently, the arcade version of Amidar was re-released for the Xbox 360 and Windows via Game Pak 12 for Game Room in 2010 but I believe that it is no longer available.

    Screen shots above are from the Atari 2600 version of Amidar. The ad is from the January 1983 issue of Video Games magazine.