Retro Game Guy

It's the 1980's again!


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Mappy…

Mappy is a video game designed by Namco and released in 1983.  Mappy is a side scrolling platform game featuring ‘Mappy’ the police mouse.  In Mappy, cat burglars have hidden stolen loot in their mansion and Mappy must maneuver around and recover the stolen items, while avoiding contact with the cats.

Mappy will score points for each item recovered as follows:

  • Tape player-100 points
  • Television-200 points
  • Computer-300 points
  • Painting-400 points
  • Safe-500 points

Mappy can also score points when bouncing on the trampolines, hitting a cat with a door, microwaving a cat, and retrieving a stolen item when Goro (the boss cat) is hiding behind it.  One some levels, bells will appear that can be dropped on cats for more bonus points.  Mappy can’t be harmed by the cats when bouncing on the trampoline or in the shafts of the mansion.  If Mappy jumps on a trampoline when it is red (unless there is a lower level to catch Mappy), or is touched by a cat on any of the mansion floors, he will lose a life.

Levels 3, 7, 11, and 15 are bonus rounds where Mappy must pop balloons for bonus points.  After round 15, the game loops back to the beginning.

Based on the NAMCO Super Pac-man board, the arcade unit used two Motorola 6809 CPUs with a Namco 8 channel PSG for sound.  In the U.S., Mappy was distributed by Bally-Midway and came in both upright and cocktail cabinet versions.

Mappy was ported to the Famicon (NES) in Japan, but not to any Atari systems until now.

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Mappy Arcade Version

Mappy for the Atari 2600…

Mappy is the latest release from Champ Games, released by AtariAge at the 2018 Portland Retro Game Expo (PRGE).  Programmed by John Champeau, with sprites by Nathan Strum, and music by Michael Haas, Mappy is an amazing game for the Atari 2600.  John also credits Darrell Spice, Jr. for the music driver and Thomas Jentzsch for code optimization and improving the logo.

Taking full advantage of CDF (the latest incarnation of DPC/DPC+) and the Melody board (designed by Fred Quimby), Mappy delivers a near arcade level experience on the Atari 2600.  Comparing John’s 2600 port to the arcade version, shows an amazing level of fidelity to the original.  Just like the original, the music is almost constant.  Only a few Atari games like Pitfall II, Stay Frosty 2, and, now, Mappy have this much music in them.

In addition to offering three levels of difficultly (that can be selected from the main menu), John takes advantage of the difficulty switches to offer random locations of loot and reduced object flicker.  He also uses the color/BW switch to allow for pause/resume of the game.  Finally, Mappy can take advantage of the Atarivox to save high scores.

Mappy comes from AtariAge with a full color box, manual, and poster.  The box and cartridge art are the work of Nathan Strum who also did a fantastic job on the manual.  The twelve page manual is printed on glossy paper and includes four pages of a Mappy comic book.

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Mappy for the Atari 2600

Overall Thoughts…

It probably seems like I am usually positive about the things I write about on this blog.  That’s probably a fair point as I have a tendency to write about things that I like.  This time it is a little different as I was not at all familiar with Mappy.

In fact, until last week, I hadn’t even played Mappy.  A friend showed me how the game was played on the AtariAge demo unit at PRGE and I bought a copy from AtariAge.  Turns out that I have one of the Jack’s Pacific Namco ‘Plug ‘n’ Play’ units that has Mappy on it.  In the past week, I have played Mappy on both my Atari 2600 and on my Namco unit.  Sometimes you don’t know what you are missing; Mappy is a great game and a lot of fun to play!

At PRGE, I had the opportunity to talk with John and his brother Paul.  Although John is rightfully proud of his work on Mappy, he made it a point to talk about the team effort by Mike, Nathan, Thomas, and others that was needed to make Mappy for the Atari 2600 a reality.

Like many of John’s recent releases, you have to keep reminding yourself that you are playing a 2600 game.  Mappy should be available for purchase in the AtariAge store next month.  This is one game that should be on every Atari 2600 owner’s wish list!

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Wild for Mappy!

@Atarigame guy

P.S.  Mappy plays great on Atari 7800 units as well!

 

 

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Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2018…

Last weekend I was able to attend the Portland Retro Gaming Expo (PRGE) in Portland Oregon.  For those of you who are not aware of this show, it has grown to be one of the largest shows in the country.  As they normally do, they had a large Retrocade area set up where you could play any number of arcade games or games on home consoles.  This year, the Retrocade area opened on Friday at noon and was extremely popular.

The largest area of the show is reserved for exhibitors.  These varied from vendors selling all kinds of retro game items to vendors selling new games for retro systems to vendors with announcements for new retro game systems.

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Exhibitor Area at PRGE 2018

I had a change to support AtariAge with show preparations and I worked the booth for a few hours on Saturday.

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AtariAge Booth at PRGE 2018 (with Al, Fred, & Matt in the background)

One of best things at the PRGE is the panels and speakers that they are able to attract.  I was able to attend a session with Atari and Activision developers.

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Dan and Gary Kitchen, David Crane, and John Champeau discuss the development of Mappy

A couple of new retro game systems were announced.  CollectorVision announced a Kickstarter Campaign for their new FPGA based ColecoVision compatible system.

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CollectorVision Phoenix

Also, Intellivision Entertainment announced plans to release a new console that will have ‘Re-imagined’ Intellivision games built in.

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Intellivision Amico due 10-10-20

One of the best things about PRGE for me is the release of new games for retro systems.  AtariAge had several new 2600, 5200, 7800 and Jaguar games released at PRGE this year.

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New Atari games from AtariAge

AtariAge had a number of Atari systems set up to demonstrate existing, new, and work in progress games.

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7800 Demo Games

The absolute highlight of PRGE for me was the chance to meet and talk with legacy programmers like David Crane and Dan and Gary Kitchen as wells as folks that make new Atari games possible like Al Yaruso of AtariAge and Fred Quimby who designed the Melody board.  It was also a blast to talk with John Champeau and his brother Paul about the development of Mappy and Champ Games upcoming game Wizard of War Arcade for the Atari 2600.

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John and Paul Champeau with Champ Games upcoming Wizard of War Arcade

If you ever get the chance to be in Portland in late October, make sure that you carve out some time to attend the PRGE!

@Atarigameguy


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The National Video Game Museum…

I recently had the chance to visit the National Video Game Museum in Frisco, Texas.  The museum is located just north of Dallas at the Frisco Discovery Center.

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Entrance to the Frisco Discovery Center

The National Video Game Museum is only one of several attractions at the Frisco Discovery Center which also hosts the Museum of the American Railroad and the Train Topia model train layout.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the NVG museum, but I was very impressed with my visit.

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Game systems available to be played

There we all kinds of home game systems available to be played as well a small retrocade.  In fact, they give you a few tokens for the retrocade as part of your admission to the museum.

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Frogger!

A couple of really cool displays showed the various versions of Frogger and their collection of boxed Activision games.

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Boxed Activision Games

I also really enjoyed the store displays.  The one representing the video game crash of 1983-1984 brought back some not so good memories.

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The great crash!

The Atari 2600 store kiosk brought back some better memories!

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Atari 2600 store kiosk

I was also really impressed with the display of video game related board games.  I didn’t even know this many were produced!

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Video game related board games

If you are ever in the Dallas and have a couple of hours to spare, the NVG Museum is well worth a visit!

@atarigameguy