ATARI VCS/2600 Unreleased/Prototype Games and Hardware

By Scott Stilphen

Last updated 8-8-2017

(Thanks to Leonard Herman for most of these photos.)

Although there are many more games that were planned or started than those listed here, this article only covers games either having some related artwork (box art, artist renderings of screens, or actual screenshots) or are known to exist.  It also covers known early versions of released games, and advertised artwork or screenshots that differed (sometimes drastically) from the released version.

COMPANY GAMES
20th Century Fox 9 to 5
Entity, The
Fall Guy, The
Meltdown
Revenge of the Cherry Tomatoes
Roaring 20s
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Amiga 3-D Genesis
3-D Ghost Attack
3-D Havoc
Depth Charge
Off Your Rocker
Power Module, The
Power Play Arcade #1
Power Play Arcade #2
S.A.C. Alert
Scavenger Hunt
Strafe
Surf's Up
Androbot AndroMan on the Moon
Answer Software Confrontation
(Games by) Apollo Kyphus
Lost Luggage
Pompeii
Squoosh
Atari Alpha Beam with Ernie
Asteroids
Combat Two
Cookie Monster Munch
Countermeasure
Demons to Diamonds
Donald Duck's Speedboat
The Dukes of Hazzard
Dumbo's Flying Circus
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Foxbat
Elevator Action
Frog Pond
G1 Light Gun
Gato
The Graduate Computer
MindLink
Miss Piggy's Wedding
Oscar's Trash Race
Pac-Man
Pro-Line joystick
Puffer
Raiders of the Lost Ark
RealSports Basketball
RealSports Soccer
Snoopy and the Red Baron
Space Invaders
Street Racer
Super Baseball
Swordquest WaterWorld
Swordquest AirWorld
Tempest
Track & Field
Trak-Ball controller
Voice Controller
Warlords
Xevious
Yars' Revenge
Zoo Keeper
Bomb Splendour
CBS Electronics Kick-Man
Madden Football / Maddeness
Targ
Tunnel Runner
Wings
Coleco Colecovision Expansion Module #1
Cosmic Avenger
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Jr.
Frenzy
Gemini Sound I Voice Module
Gemini Video Game System
Lady Bug
Mr. Do!
Mr. Do!'s Castle
Pepper II
Rocky Battles the Champ
Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle
Smurfette's Birthday
Tarzan
Turbo
Wild Western
Zaxxon
CommaVid Mission Omega
Rush Hour
Control Video Corporation GameLine Master Module
Data Age Mr. Bill's Neighborhood
Survival Run
Entex Entex 2000 Piggyback Color Computer
Exus Electronic Health Bike
Health Cycle Program
Gakken Jungler
Pooyan
Strategy X
Games People Play Deep Throat
Imagic No Escape
Shootin' Gallery
Sky Patrol
Konami Super Scramble
M Network Ad. D&D: Tower of Mystery
Ad. D&D: Treasure of Tarmin
Computer Corridor
Cumulus
Dark Cavern
Flapper
In Search of the Golden Skull
International Soccer
Loco-Motion
Mission X
Monkey Business
Sea Battle
Tron Deadly Discs
Milton Bradley Armored Commander + Tank Blitz
HD2000 controller
Scramble
Spitfire Attack
Star Trek
Survival Run
Multivision Battle of the Sexes
Harem
Parker Brothers Amidar
Circus Charlie
The Incredible Hulk
G.I. Joe: Cobra Strike
James Bond 007
The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell
McDonald's
Popeye
Sky Skipper
Spider-Man
Star Wars: Jedi Arena
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - Ewok Adventure
Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi - Game I
Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi - Game II
Super Cobra
Probe 2000 (NAP) Power Lords: Quest for Volcan
Pursuit of the Pink Panther
Sega 48 Hrs.
Airplane!
Buck Rogers: Caverns of Zagreb
Buck Rogers: Marathon of Zenda
Buck Rogers: Secrets of Zadar
Dragonslayer
Friday the 13th
Marathon Man
Mission: Impossible
Muffet
Star Trek II: In Search of Spock
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Subterfuge
War of the Worlds
Spectravision / Spectravideo Cave In
China Syndrome
CompuMate
Drive 'Em Krazy
Eagle Mountain
Glactic Tactic
Master Cylinder
Protobob
Romper Room Series
Sector Alpha
Time Scape
Vertinko
Vortex
Starpath DragonStomper
Supercharger
Sweat: The Decathlon Game
Technovision Locomotive
Tigervision Changes
Intuition
Scraper Caper
Sky Lancer
Super Crush
U.S. Games Eggomania
Trail of the Pink Panther
Unitronics "Space Invaders" clone
Expander system
VentureVision Innerspace
Solar Defense
Wizard Video Games Flesh Gordon
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Xonox Hercules vs. the Titans
Zimag Cat Nap
Collision Course
Kerplop
Nineball
Pizza Chef
Quest for Inca Gold
River Rat
Space Mines

 

 

20th CENTURY FOX

 

9 TO 5
Listed on a flyer as one of 6 upcoming games. 
Catalog description: “A secretary's work is never done: dictation, typing letters, filing, and it all has to be done on time.  Now, the boss wants coffee, and time is running short.  Can she keep up with the pace?"

 

THE ENTITY
Listed on a flyer as one of 6 upcoming games.  Programmer Mark Klein allowed a copy of the game to be released at CGE in 2003.

 

THE FALL GUY
Sirius planned to release this themselves, under the original name, Squish 'Em (Atari 400/800 flyer, picture #2), until they struck a deal with 20th Century Fox to release it (and several others) - most of which ended up getting tied into various TV movie properties of theirs.  Pictures #3 and #4 are from a flyer. A near-perfect version was done by Bob Montgomery in 2007 (picture #5).  A game by the same name was released for the C-64 in 1984 under license by Elite (box art - picture #6), but it's a completely different type of game.  Catalog description: “Let me tell ya, being a stunt man is no easy job – car wrecks, falls, fights.  I thought I’d done it all.  Wrong!  This new one is really something else.  See, I’ve gotta climb up the side of a 48 story building and grab a suitcase on the top floor.  But that’s not all!  This is a monster movie and this place is crawling with creepy creatures actually trying to knock me off!  And I didn’t even tell you about the bricks they throw at me from the roof.  I’m tellin’ ya, this is really a tough one!  Well, gotta go now, time for another ‘take’.  I hope they remembered to put film in the camera this time.”

    

 

MELTDOWN
Shown at the 1983 Winter CES, and listed for release in April 1983 under what was then a working title. Also mentioned in the April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazine. Howard Delman brought this prototype to CGE2K4 to be archived. The game was completed under the name Atom Smasher, but when it was first offered to 20th Century Fox, they renamed it Meltdown. According to fellow Videa designer Howard Delman, "The history of Videa's two VCS game is murky, because it only began to be written years after the fact. I would take everyone's recollections and average them all together. I doubt any of us really remember the exact details. Having said all of that, here is my recollection... the games were not actually "sold", but were licensed. I believe 20th Century Fox paid us $50,000 as an advance on royalties for the license to manufacture and sell the two games. In accordance with the license agreement, when they went out of business, the license terminated. Parker stepped up, and signed the same deal with us, but they went out of business right after signing and paying, so again, the games were available. I believe our agreement with Atari was different. They were only interested in one of the games (according to Lee Actor, it was Lasercade), and wanted to test it before committing, so they paid us an "option" fee, which was much less than we had gotten from Fox and Parker. I don't recall if they actually did any testing, but they informed us that they were not going to exercise their option. The games went back into my desk drawer at Videa, moved to my desk drawer at Sente, and finally ended up in the desk drawer of my home office. We made a lot of money off of two games didn't see the light of day for another 25 years! The two games we developed, Lasercade and Meltdown, are finally available. We agreed to put Meltdown into the public domain, after we learned that the ROM code had been leaked anyway. Lasercade was licensed to CGE Services." Historian Leonard Herman notes Cumma Technology used Meltdown (under the name Atom Smasher) with their MetaWriter display at the 1984 Winter CES, under the original Atom Smasher name. The description of the game in 20th Century Fox's CES press kit reads: "Watching the screen that monitors the reaction core, you notice something odd, an atom is beginning to throw. Uh oh, this means trouble! Closer inspection reveals a deadly Quark racing through the core agitating the atoms. It has to be stopped before it causes a chain reaction of exploding energy! You must line up the Stabilizing Emitter and fire cadmium rods at the hot spots. Hurry, the action is really heating up in there. The Geiger Counter is clicking at a frantic pace. Already the monitor is lit up with furious pulsing action. This is your challenge ? you must meet it or MELTDOWN!". The game was given to CGE Services, who later leaked it to the community (via Joe Santulli on Digital Press). A limited run of 50 carts were produced with permission from CGE Services by Scott Stilphen in 2007 for $15 each. As a result of the ROM being available, carts made by various people have been sold on Ebay since. Price and scarcity reflect the original prototype, not the original, authorized reproductions.  Price and scarcity reflect the original prototype, not the reproduction.

   

 

REVENGE OF THE CHERRY TOMATOES
This was an early name for Revenge of the Beefsteak Tomatoes.

 

 

ROARING 20s
This was one of the early names for Bank Heist.

 

 

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA
According to programmer Bill Aspromonte, it was based on the popular 60s movie and TV series, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and slated for June 1983 release, but it was eventually released under the bland name "Crash Dive" (picture #2) when they failed to obtain the rights to use the name... even though it was a 20th Century Fox property! The description for it, from a 1983 CES Press Kit catalog, shows a rendered screenshot (picture #1), which confirms they are one and the same.

 

 

AMIGA

 

3-D GENESIS

A Tempest clone, but with some unique differences. Originally planned to be 1 of 3 "3-D" games on Power-Play Arcade cart #1. A screenshot was shown in a catalog for Amiga's Power System, but no description was included. It was programmed by Dan McElroy and Jerry Lawson implemented the use of 3-D.

 

 

 

3-D GHOST ATTACK
An early screenshot appeared in a catalog (picture #1), which is similar to the prototype (picture #2) that was found in 2007.  Catalog description: “They say the mansion is haunted.  But nobody really knows for sure.  And you’ve just got to find out.  Armed with your photobeam, you begin your search.  Suddenly, there’s a flash of light.  Then another.  And another.  They’re all around you, coming from the walls, doors, windows, everywhere.  You reach for your trusty photobeam.  Now somebody knows for sure…”

 

 

3-D HAVOC
2 different screenshots have been found, the 2nd of which is similar to the prototype (picture #3) that was found in 2007.  Catalog description: “Your stellar cruiser begins to shudder as the hyperwarp drive suddenly cuts out.  Slowing down, you realize you’ve entered an asteroid field.  A BIG asteroid field.  You bolt for the high-density laser-pulse inverter.  Your only chance is to blast your way out.  And you’d better start now…”

 

 

DEPTH CHARGE
An early screenshot appeared in a catalog (picture #1), which is similar to the prototype (picture #2) that was found in 2007. Catalog description: “You know he’s down there. But where?  Your sonar is picking up indiscriminate blips.  Then a pattern emerges.  You’ve found him.  You launch a round of depth charges over the side, and the explosions rock the ship.  You smile confidently and check the scanner: completely blank.  Suddenly, there’s blip.  And another blip.  And another.  Or…  You know he’s up there.  But where… (a one or two-player, machine-interactive game).”

 

 

OFF YOUR ROCKER
For use with Amiga's Joyboard controller. A prototype game that was mass produced! It seems that Amiga sent these carts off to a company that handled the task of labeling them. During this time Amiga was in trouble and the games never got labeled or retrieved by Amiga. Years later they were sold off as scrap to a videogame dealer who added his own label and sold them to the classic community. Gameplay is similar to the handheld game, Simon.

 

THE POWER MODULE
A Supercharger-like device that contains its own microprocessor along with an extra 6K of RAM. Games are loaded via cassette but the Power Module also has a modem port to allow two players to connect directly to each other over the phone line for interactive play. It also includes a "unique programming procedure" that allows for 3-D games.  Other features included expanded sound capabilities and more complex graphics.  Packaged with two games: 3-D Ghost Attack and Depth Charge.

 

 

POWER PLAY ARCADE #1
This one featured all 3 of the 3-D games (Ghost Attack, Genesis, and Havoc) along with a set of 3-D glasses.

 

POWER PLAY ARCADE #2
This one featured 1 Amiga game (Scavenger Hunt) and 4 US Games (Gopher, Eggomania, Galleon's Gold, and Word Zapper).

 

S.A.C. ALERT
Box artwork (picture #1) and an early screenshot (picture #2) appeared in a catalog, which is similar to the prototype (picture #3) that was found in 2007.  Catalog description: “You’re guiding your plane through a routine surveillance mission when suddenly, you’re surrounded by enemy bombers and fighters.  But they’ve seen you first.  And you’d better think fast.  You squeeze off a few rounds, just to let them know it isn’t going to be easy.  You pull back hard on the stick, and head straight for the sky.  It’s not going to be easy for you either…”

 

 

SCAVENGER HUNT
Catalog description: “The perfect game for kids of all ages – from 6 to 60.  The object is to locate each of the items the computer asks you to find.  A comb.  An iron.  A telephone.  Or just about anything else.  Just as easy as you remember it, right?  Well, does ‘Beware of Dog’ sound familiar?  How about, ‘you’d better be home before dark’?  It’ll be just like ‘old times’…”

   

 

STRAFE
Originally planned as a pack-in cassette game for Amiga's Power Module peripheral, and later as 1 of 5 games on Power-Play Arcade cart #2. According to Video Soft founder Jerry Lawson, "It had very impressive graphics and was an adventure-type of game" and was either finished or close to being done. Catalog description: “Your objective: destroy all of the enemy’s oil tanks and land-based missile silos.  And, if you can, the central missile battery: the heart of the enemy complex.  But you’ve got to go it alone.  Fly low.  Fly high.  Through narrow canyons.  Under bridges.  Let your instincts be your guide…”

 

SURF'S UP
For use with Amiga's Joyboard controller. There are approximately 6 known prototypes found to date. The gameplay appears to be unfinished (flashing lines and blocks appear in the upper-left corner as you approach the beach - picture #3). Early box art and screenshots (pictures #1 and #2) show you having to avoid sharks, and there does appear to be unused graphics in the code.

 

 

ANDROBOT

 

ANDROMAN ON THE MOON
Very little was known about this game, until it was discovered in 2007.  An ad for the AndroMan (picture #1) shows the “Gamescape” map for AndroMan on the Moon.  6 games were planned, but currently this is the only one that's been found.

From programmer Michael Case: "The only VCS game I did (at Western Tech.) was AndroMan on the Moon.  This was one of the games being done for the AndroMan robot.  I don't remember much of the plot, but AndroMan was on the moon (I think we used the floor map shown in the advertisements). I think the enemies were supposed to be aliens. AndroMan was supposed to be harvesting minerals on the moon. He would move over bar codes on the map, which signified mines, and then the video game would show him enter the mine (the maze part - picture #3), being attacked by 'moon aliens' along the way. He dropped bombs to kill them. If he got hit, I think he would jerk around or make some noise, which is why the game hangs. After getting further into the mine, the corridor is shown from a first person 3-D view (picture #4), and he is attacked by flying circular shaped 'moon bats'. He can shoot at them using the joystick to control the cursor on the screen. When he makes it to the end, he gets the resources in the mine. He then has to move on the map to return the resources to the base, and so on."

   

 

ANSWER SOFTWARE

 

CONFRONTATION
The 1st  picture is
a copy of the original artwork and the 2nd is a flyer for the game.

 

 

(GAMES BY) APOLLO

 

KYPHUS
This maze game is set within a pyramid and depicts a man that can be moved through 64 rooms (displayed in 3-D ala Racquetball) connected by doorways.  In each room overhead is a strange "cloud" that shoots at the player.  A robot also follows you from room to room.  In the code are the words "protect", "destroy", and "invoke", and the graphics for what appears to be a monkey. 
A partial photo of the box appeared on a poster (picture #1) and a full image of the box was later found in a 1983 issue of Videogiochi magazine (picture #2).  An unlabeled prototype Apollo game was found in 2006 (picture #3) that was later confirmed by programmer Tim Martin to be Kyphus.  From Tim Martin: "This was one of the first projects I had at Apollo on the Atari VCS.  To my knowledge it was never finished, as the company closed rather abruptly.  Basically the game was a randomly-generated maze of rooms that you explored to search for items needed to score points.  I remember there being a 'cloud thing' that would come and attack you.  The game play was never complete (that I know of) so I'm not sure what the final game would have been like."  According to Ed Salvo: "Kyphus ended up with that name because it sounded mysterious.  We originally thought Kyphus was a distortion of reality, but we looked it up and (kyphos) it's a distortion of the backbone.  There was also a sign on the wall in the designers' room wall at Apollo that read 'Kyphus is more than a game - it's a disease'.  Talk about viral marketing."

 

 

 

LOST LUGGAGE
The first picture is from Electronic Games 5-84, and shows different colors from the actual release (picture #2).

 

 

POMPEII
The only known prototype of this game was archived from Arnie Katz, Bill Kunkel, and Joyce Worley in November 2001 and is not playable (picture #4). Early description is a game involving the perils (of) moving around an active volcano. Several pictures of the box exist - box artwork appeared in the Jan 1983 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games magazine (picture #1); the same issue also mentioned Pat Roper stating this was originally called Labyrinth. A box was shown in a magazine, taken at a 1983 CES (picture #2).  A partial photo of the box appeared on a poster (picture #3).

 

 

 

SQUOOSH
Archived from Arnie Katz, Bill Kunkel, and Joyce Worley in November 2001. 
Description: "You work for the Apollo Grape Company and must stomp grapes without getting stomped yourself. Avoid plunger and falling grapes while turning other grapes into wine". Box artwork appeared in the Jan 1983 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games magazine (picture #1); the same issue also quotes Pat Roper as saying, "We thought about calling it 'Vats Incredible' or 'The Grape Escape', but decided Squoosh instead.". 2 prototype versions exist - the earlier version allows you to move around and jump (picture #2); in the later version grapes can move around and you can hit the press (#3).

 

 

ATARI

 

ALPHA BEAM WITH ERNIE
An Atari Kid’s Library brochure shows a screen picture (#1) of what is actually a prototype version (#2).  The release version (picture #3) doesn’t have lines above and below the space ship.

 

 

ASTEROIDS
Early catalog screen depictions (picture #1) showed reserve ship icons in addition to the reserve counter.  There is actual code in the program for displaying these icons, but it was disabled - Brad Stewart feels it was probably done as a result of him and Bob Smith trying to squeeze the cart down to 4K, and he forgot to enable it when he was given 8K.  The 2nd picture is an actual screenshot showing what it looks like enabled.

 

 

COMBAT TWO
Programmed by GCC, this was an updated version of Combat that was first mentioned in the September/October 1982 issue of Atari Age magazine. It was originally planned for release in December 1982, and was listed in the rare 1982 Atari catalog, “A GUIDE TO THE ATARI STARS: 70 Game Program Cartridges for the Atari 2600 Video Computer System Game!” (Rev F), along with an artistic rendering of the screen and new box art (oddly enough, the title, description, and even the CX number are for the original Combat).  It ultimately fell victim to Atari's Marketing department, and its cancellation was confirmed in the November 1983/February 1984 issue of Atari Age. The only known prototype was obtained in 1999 from the former founder and editor of Atari Age magazine, Steve Morgenstern. The game seems complete except for a few finishing touches, but it does include a level editor!

   

 

COOKIE MONSTER MUNCH
One of a series of Children's Computer Workshop games involving Jim Henson's Muppets and designed for use with the Kid's Controller. Tentative titles were "Cookie Monster's Garden" (picture #1 - shown at the 1983 Winter CES with this Kid's Controller overlay") and
"Cookie Monster's Maze".  Programmer Gary Stark owns a prototype keyboard overlay with an early name misspelled as "Cokie Monster's Maze" (picture #2).  He had this to say about the game: "Cookie Monster Munch was basically handed to me to implement from Steve Wright." Planned for a May 1983 release, according to a news blurb in the April 1983 issue of Videogaming Illustrated (pg. 10).  Picture #3 is the released overlay version.

 

 

COUNTERMEASURE
A picture of a 2600 cart (picture #1) with the same artwork as the 5200 cart (picture #2) appeared in the 1983 Rev 1 2600 system manual. Whether or not Atari actually had any plans to make a port of the 5200 title is unknown.

 

 

DEMONS TO DIAMONDS
The original working title for this game was "Hot Rox".  Box art can be seen on the inside cover of Atari's 1982 Rev D and E catalogs (pictures #1 and #2), as well as the 2nd revision of the Log Book. Some prototypes have surfaced with this name as well (picture #3).

 

 

 

DONALD DUCK'S SPEEDBOAT
One of 3 games featuring Disney characters that was never released (although it was pirated by Polyvox and a few other companies, and released in Brazil). From a 1983 CES Press Release: "A speedboat obstacle course is always an adventure with Donald Duck at the controls. Donald must avoid rocks, whirlpools, seaweed, fish, and the bobbing buoys of nephews: Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The faster he finishes the race, the more points he scores. The multiple obstacle screens and game variations add to the game-play challenge, and the graphics and music make this an enjoyable game for kids from ages 5-10." Originally scheduled to be released in September of 1983. Suggested Retail Price: $30.45. The tentative title for it was "Donald Duck's Regatta" and a prototype with this name has been found. A promo box exists (picture #1), and the full artwork was shown in a Brazilian catalog (picture #2).

 

 

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD
The game was first mentioned in the Atari Age magazine (Nov/Dec 1982 issue).  This version came 3 years after Atari's 1st attempt.  Unlike most of the other prototypes/pre-production games, this was actually produced on ROM chips (using the new Chip-On-Board design), and in large quantities... which is odd since programmer Mark Hahn states the game wasn't finished! Atari apparently was just about to slap the labels on thousands of Dukes cartridges – finished or not – before deciding against releasing it at the last minute; the reason Atari gave Hahn was the game's graphics weren't on part with other releases at that time.  Notice of its cancellation was announced in the Sept/Oct 1983 issue of Atari Age.  Below is a picture of the promo box.

 

DUMBO'S FLYING CIRCUS
One of 3 games featuring Disney characters that was never released.  The April 1983 issue of Creative Computing (pg. 21) lists the title as Dumbo Flies Home and mentions the title was announced by Walt Disney Telecommunications.  Several prototype boxes have been found for this title (picture #1 is of a promo box, and picture #2 apparently came from a marketing slide)
A photo of the box also appeared in a photo in the March 1983 issue of Atari Club Magazin (pictures #3 and #4). From a 1983 CES Press Release: "Dumbo, the flying elephant with the big heart, takes to the air in this high-flying home video game.  By shooting peanuts out of his trunk, Dumbo pops balloons and scores points.  If he pops those balloons that are carrying a clown and brings that clown safely to earth, Dumbo scores even more points.  Designed for kids of all ages, Dumbo's Flying Circus features fast-paced aerial action that the whole family can enjoy."  Originally scheduled to be released in October of 1983.  Suggested Retail Price: $30.45.

 

 

 

E.T the Extra-Terrestrial
The artistic rendering first shown in the Nov/Dec 1982 issue of Atari Age (picture #1) is probably one of the worst they did for any game.  Not only is the coloring completely wrong for everything, the aspect ratios of everything are as well (ironically, there is a glitch that will turn E.T. black).  The rendering on the box (picture #2) is much more accurate, but the coloring is still off on some things (such as a pink phone icon), compared to an actual screenshot (picture #3).

   

 

ELEVATOR ACTION
Port of the Taito coin-op.  An August 1984 internal memo states it was 85% done with 8 more weeks needed, although the onscreen copyright date is 1983.  Even unfinished, it's still very playable.  A catalog entry reads: "As Agent 17, it is your mission to steal government documents from a heavily-guarded top-secret defense building.  By making your way down elevators and escalators, you must pick up files and escape to the getaway car in the garage.  But watch out for enemy agents!"  Released by CGE Services at CGE2K1 - 250 boxed copies were made.  Price and scarcity reflect the original prototype, not the reproduction.  This is an 8K SARA "SuperChip" game, and the person who made the carts, Sean Kelly, removed the SARA chips from Dig Dug cartridges with a blowtorch to save time desoldering them.  All that did was shorten the lifespan of the SARA chips, as a few years later, owners started reporting their carts no longer worked.

   

 

FOXBAT
Although "Foxbat" is NATO's name for the Russian MiG-25 fighter plane and Electronic Games touted it as an air combat game, the 5200 version was planned to be a strategy game.  The #5 (fall/winter) issue of A.N.A.L.O.G. (pg. 37 - picture #1) featured a list of Atari's upcoming 1982 releases and mentions Foxbat as a tentative later release.  A 1981 Canadian brochure (picture #1) lists this with the same product number as RealSports Baseball and states that it would be available in December (1982).  It also notes the title is a trademark of Dark Horse Productions.  Mentioned several times throughout 1982 in Electronic Games, June 1982 (page 25 - picture #3), incorrectly stating that Foxbat was the original name for Raiders of the Lost Ark (!); September 1982 (page 38 - picture #4), incorrectly referring to it as an air combat game that's been moved to a 1983 release date; November 1982 (page 8 - picture #5), again incorrectly stating Raiders of the Lost Ark replaced Foxbat on the release schedule.  Keithen Hayenga talked about the game at CGE14 and mentions it was to be a tie-in to a movie that would have been similar to Wargames, but was cancelled when that movie was released.  From Keithen:
"Yes the producers of Foxbat originally wanted a 2600 game because that was where the money was at.  I'm not for sure who was ever assigned the title because I think almost all of the 2600 programmers just said they weren't interested.  When they asked me, I said yes, but I was only interested in doing 5200 stuff.  One of the managers suggested we do something like Eastern Front on the 800 and we got permission from Chris Crawford to use his code.  When we showed the Hollywood guys the difference in the graphics that were possible, they went right along with it.  I never really got any code of my own going before the project was cancelled."  Here is a copy of The Foxbat Strategy movie treatment, courtesy of Keithen.  Howard Scott Warshaw confirmed Foxbat wasn't his game, nor was it a code name for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

 

   

 

FROG POND
For being an unreleased game, there was certainly enough advanced press about it.  A playable demo was shown at the Summer 1982 CES show in Chicago (picture #1).  There's some noticeable differences with it, such as the score counter having several large zeros for each player (instead of one each), the numbers being in black (or dark-colored), only 2 big clouds, and no leg-extension when your frog jumps.  The September/October 1982 of Atari Age (pg. 8) shows a picture of the cover art for it (picture #2).  The November 1982 issue of Joystick states it was due out that month with a retail price of $26.95 (picture #3).  The game was actually reviewed in the December 1982 issue of Videogaming Illustrated (page 27 - picture #4)!  It describes 8 different insects, coming in waves of 30.  Some mentioned are dragonflies and beetles (game starts with these), gnats (must be hit twice), and wasps (can stun you).  Game ends when all the bugs have been caught or have fled.  The review also included a screenshot that looks nearly-identical to the Summer 1982 CES demo, except the score counters for both players are at the very top of the screen, and appear in a dark-blue band.  The exact same screenshot (but cropped and with but no description) appeared in the December 1982 (pg. 50) issue of Electronic Games (picture #5).  A couple of prototype boxes (picture #6) have also been found for this title.  2 different prototype versions have been found - one with a "rainbow" title screen (picture #7), and one with a detailed graphics screen (picture #8 - most likely the final version).  The game looks and plays the same with both (picture #9).

 

 

  

 

G1 Light Gun
Basically the XE Light gun (photo #2), re-packaged for the VCS/2600 and 7800 systems (only difference is it's red). This version (photo #1) never went into production, and only a handful of prototypes exist. The XE gun was released overseas in the packaging for this gun!

 

GATO
A picture of a labeled cart in a 2600JR appeared in a German ad. Whether or not Atari actually had any plans to make a port of this 8-bit computer title is unknown, but a 7800 port was being worked on (a prototype exists).

 

 

THE GRADUATE COMPUTER
Announced on February 9th, 1983.  This was to be Atari's entry into the emerging 2600 keyboard market.  The unit plugged into the VCS cart port and was self-contained, much like how the 5200 VCS adapter works (using the base system for power and display only).  It was actually developed outside of Atari, by a company called Peripheral Visions, Inc., which was formed in late 1982 by 3 former Commodore VIC-20/C-64 engineers (Charles Winterble, Al Charpentier, and Bob Yannes).  Winterble conceived of the idea to turn the VCS into a computer, and they called it "My First Computer".  Designed with a $29.95 price, it was to feature a membrane computer and have BASIC built-in.  PVI approached Ray Kassar with the idea, and he agreed to purchase it for a million dollars. Under the deal, PVI would develop the hardware and Atari the software.  The product was given the model number CX-3000, and was known by several names during its development ("My First Computer", "2600 Computer", "The Graduate"), undergoing several changes (case designs, features, price points, etc) before ultimately being cancelled by James Morgan when he took over as the new CEO in 1983.  An ongoing lawsuit against PVI by Commodore was likely the main motivating reason for its cancellation.  Soon after PVI was formed, Jack Tramiel heard PVI approached Atari and filed a ("exploratory") lawsuit against them, claiming they stole trade secrets.  PVI were forced to disclose details of their VCS project.  Tramiel insisted that was his product, and pursued the case.  PVI eventually won, but it cost them several years and approximately $300,000 (from "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise And Fall Of Commodore", pg. 274-279 - LINK).  The only known existing (and functional) prototype (picture #1) has a 56-key membrane keyboard (note the key labeled "PVI") and a side cart port.  It was shown at the World of Atari show in 1998. 

A February 1983 press release states the keyboard would be available by 3rd Quarter nationally.  It featured 8K of memory (expandable up to 32K) and 56 raised keys (although early drawings and even the first mock-up show only 53 keys), plus a suggested retail price of less than $90.  The side cart slot ("expansion port") could also be used for optional peripherals such as a portable cassette recorder, printers, disk drives, and modems. The same press kit mentions the official name was to be "My First Computer", even though "2600 Computer" is shown as being trademarked.

Photos of the unit were shown in both the Feb 1983 press kit (picture #2), the May/June 1983 issue of Atari Age magazine (picture #3), and the July 1983 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games magazine (page 47, picture #4).  Note the power jack on the back edge of the unit in those photos.  According to hardware designer Regan Cheng, the unit shown was actually a mock-up (the keys were simply glued on).  The May 1983 issue of Video Games magazine covered the NYC Toy Fair showed a photo of the 2600 Computer (dubbed "My First Computer") running what might be Typo Attack (picture #5).

Another design was first shown in Atari's 1983 "Ticket to the Stars" catalog (picture #6) - note the full-size keyboard and the cartridge port at the top.  A photo appeared in the September issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games magazine (page 36, picture #7).  Note the extra connectors on the right side and the different keyboard arrangement.

A 1983 TV commercial showed yet another design and keyboard arrangement (picture #8); a better photo from that spot appeared in Atari's June 1983 "2nd Half" press kit (picture #9) and clearly shows the name "Atari 2600 Computer" on the upper-left, a 55-keymembrane keyboard, and a higher cartridge port on top.  The same press kit also include several flyers which showed drawings for both the keyboard (reflecting the earlier design - picture #10) and peripherals (picture #11).  The keyboard drawing shows yet another design, with raised keys and the cartridge port back on the left side.  The peripherals are:

I/O MODULE + 8K RAM
PRINTER
MODEM
16K RAM MEMORY EXPANDER
GRADUATE DATA CASSETTE DRIVE
WAFER DRIVE

Another flyer listed 9 software titles (in 4 different categories) were slated to be available by October:

PROGRAMMING - $40.95 each:
An Introduction to Programming
Children's Introduction to Programming

HOME MANAGEMENT - $40.95 each:
Home Filing Manager
Family Finances

EDUCATION - $35.45 each:
Typo Attack
Monkey Up a Tree

GAMES - $40.95 each:
Donkey Kong by Nintendo
Robotron 2084
Caverns of Mars

A June 1983 press kit refers to it as "The Graduate" (also trademarked) and states the unit had 8K of built-in Microsoft BASIC. The accompanying photos show the keyboard and optional devices almost exactly the same as depicted on the earlier flyer (picture #12).  A photo of the earlier design (along with the optional devices) appeared in the September 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (picture #13).  Part of this same photo appears in the August 1983 issue of Your Computer.

 

 

 

 

MINDLINK
Based on the same principle as Synapse's RELAX system, the MindLink would let you control games with your thoughts. In reality, the controller seems to respond more to facial muscle movements, which means it's possible you'd be carted off to an institution if anyone ever saw you using it. The system consisted of a headband with 3 sensors on it which was attached to a transmitter. The receiver module plugged into the VCS and translated the incoming "brainwaves" into usable game inputs. 3 MindLink games have been found to date: Bionic Breakthrough, Mind Maze, and Telepathy.  From John Skruch: "Only paddle-type games were designed to be used with the MindLink, including a skiing game, and a Breakout variant (Bionic Breakthrough). Two distinct versions of the ML were to be made- one for the 2600/7800, and one for the 8-bit computers." From Tom Palecki: "Barry Marshall did the design for the MindLink Head Band Controller. I don’t remember how it came about, but I ended up designing the logo for that controller, which I worked up based visually on what a brain wave scan might look like in letter form."  Photos #1 and #2 appeared in Atari's 'New Age' press kit.  Photo #3 is an early prototype design. Photo #4 is the final prototype design.  Photo #5 shows another early design being used to play what appears to be a version of Telepathy.  The project was planned for release in the 3rd Quarter of 1984, along with 3 cartridges, but was cancelled after Tramiel's takeover.

 

 

MISS PIGGY'S WEDDING
Was to be the 2nd "action" game cartridge featuring Jim Henson's Muppets characters (after Pigs in Space). 3 different prototypes of this game are known to exist, none of which are complete. The photo below is from a 1983 press kit, with the following description: "The wedding bells are soon to ring... until Kermit, the reluctant groom, changes his mind and leaves Miss Piggy at the altar. The church becomes a video maze, with Kermit on the run and Miss Piggy in hot pursuit. The chase becomes even more elaborate when the wedding guests move about. Players can choose to be either Miss Piggy or Kermit in this Atari-The Muppets game, designed to be enjoyed by all age groups."

 

 

OSCAR'S TRASH RACE
Early pictures from Electronic Games (picture #1) and an Atari Kid's Library brochure (picture #2) resemble an actual prototype that was discovered (picture #3), which is noticeably different from the released version (picture #4). 

 

 

 

PAC-MAN
Early screenshot (picture #1), shown in the 1982 green poster/catalogs, showing a black background (like the arcade version).  A variation of this (picture #2) was shown in magazines such as Electronic Games (note the missing power pills and multicolored reserve lives indicators), even well after the game was released!  A more accurate version was shown on the box (picture #3), but it still featured tilted monsters.  A hacked version of the original was made by Jason Parlee in an effort to match this photo (picture #4).

VCS Pac-Man programmer Tod Frye has given conflicting answers when asked about the color scheme he used.  Here are his most recent comments:

"We were still new at doing advanced arcade ports to the VCS. There was Space Invaders and Asteroids - both of those used their own color schemes and Asteroids looked and played different from the arcade.  I wanted to add more color to the maze instead of black and blue, so I chose the colors. The maze was also very difficult to implement, so the exits were placed on the tops and bottoms instead of the sides. My primary focus was on the game play and making sure the game mechanics of the arcade were in the VCS title as close as could be done."

"If I have one regret (and I have many), it is the color scheme. I truly wish I had gone for the blue maze on the black background. IIRC (and perhaps I’d – likely more so than anyone else possibly can) I was influenced by the color scheme Space Invaders used, where the ‘variations’ used color schemes different from the arcade version."

   

 

PRO-LINE JOYSTICK
Originally one of Atari's "Pro-Line" Advanced Controllers. A company flyer (picture #1) notes it was coming in July 1983, with a photo showing "ATARI SERIES 2000 PRO-LINE JOYSTICK" molded into the top of the plastic base. However, this version was never released. When the 7800 was finally released in 1986, it included a slight variant of it - in place of the molded plastic was a metal plate on the base with "Atari" on it, and the fire buttons were modified for 7800 games that required 2 fire buttons.  Also released separately for the XL computers (with similar packaging - picture #2).

 

 

PUFFER
The Puffer project was conceived in late 1982 with an original projected release date for Fall 1983. It was a peripheral controller in the form of an exercise bike for any VCS or Home Computer. It plugs into the joystick port and controls the action of the special video games by how fast the exercise bike is pedaled and by steering." A set of hand controllers replaced the original hand grips. A magnet attached to the wheel monitored the wheel speed and a Hall effect sensor detected the passing magnet which can be read by the computer to calculate the wheel speed. The housing for the sensor was also the junction box for the hand controller cables and the computer cable. The computer required only one cable to be connected to a joystick input. The Home Model was planned for release concept was proven with the coin-op Pro Model. A company memo dated 9-26-83 states a prototype was built in February 1983, 2 games were developed (River Boat and Pole Position), a preliminary business plan was completed in July 1983, and Market Research (focus groups) was currently being done. The package included 1 game, 2 controls, and a folding exercise bike. Estimated price was $68, with an optional upgrade kit for existing bike owners for $22. Games were also being developed for both the Atari 8-bit home computer and 5200 - Jungle River Cruise (aka River Boat) and Tumbleweeds. The project was cancelled in late 1983 due to the poor market conditions (i.e. the crash), but was resurrected in early 1984 when Atari became a sponsor of the 1984 Olympic Games. The plan was to aggressively market it during the Games, but the product was cancelled for good with Tramiel's takeover of Atari.

 

 

 

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
A screenshot showing graphics artist Jerome M. Domurat’s initials (as a graphic “logo”, picture #1) in the mesa field appeared in several publications in at least 8 separate instances: 

Consumer’s Guide book, How to Win at Home Video Games, (page 56)

Electronic Fun with Computers & Games (November 1982, page 64 - picture is flipped horizontally)

Electronic Games (November 1982, page 8)

Electronic Games (March 1984, page 24 - picture is upside-down)

Joystik (November 1982, page 5, and December 1982, page 56  – picture is flipped horizontally)

Video Review (January 1983, page 73)

Videogaming Illustrated (December 1982, page 59)

Book, Videospelletjes - Complete Handleiding Voor Winnaars, (by Arnie Katz, Bill Kunkel and Kees van Toorn, page 52)

The graphics for the initials were removed in the released version, although some of the code for handling it is still in the program.  From Jerome: "I'm pretty sure what happened was, there was a problem with the game's scoring when it was added in.  It might have doubled the score or something like that, so Howard was forced to remove it.  We were both kinda bummed about it, so when E.T. came along we threw a bunch in :)  Howard used part of the Raiders Easter egg code in E.T. though, because he was convinced that there must have been something else causing the problem, and he figured if the game testers came back with a problem, then the code was really to blame, but nothing came back about it."  A fake, pixel-perfect screenshot (picture #2) was created by Scott Stilphen to more clearly illustrate the photos (pictures #17 and #18), although the colors are wrong due to imperfect emulation.

The photo is famous for showing graphics artist Jerome M. Domurat’s initials (shown as a graphic “logo”) in the mesa field.  For reasons unknown, this graphic was removed in the released version, although there are some "holes" in the program that hint where it belonged and how it was to be used.  A fake, pixel-perfect screenshot (picture #2) was created by Scott Stilphen to more clearly illustrate the photo (picture #3), although the colors are wrong due to imperfect emulation.

An artist's rendition in an Atari’s VCS Sales Planner brochure (picture #3) and an Atari dealer ad (picture #4) depicts a key on the Entrance screen.  As it turns out, a 2nd key exists in the program which cannot be found in the game.  It seems the key was originally going to appear on the Entrance screen as shown, but due to the way the kernel displays objects, it couldn’t be used.  This is most likely why it now appears in a Marketplace basket.  This was mentioned in the May 1984 issue of TV Gamer.  A modified version of the code by Luc Pycke shows what the key would have looked like, had it been implemented (picture #5).

 

 

 

REALSPORTS BASKETBALL
First mentioned in the 1982 Atari Rev. F catalog - description: "The basketball court is three-dimensional - the closer the players get to you, the larger they become. Pass, shoot, block shots and even dunk! The two-on-two action lets you play pick and roll, rebound, and then go back up for the score! Play against the computer or with a friend (Estimated availability April, 1983).  The 1983 Atari Rev. A catalog featured a screenshot and a shorter description: "Pass, shoot, block shots and dunk! On this three-dimensional court, the two-on-two action lets you play pick and roll, rebound, and then go back up for the score! Challenge the computer or a friend (available fall '83)." Later shown in a 1989 catalog with the same screenshot (picture #1) but with the same CX number as the original Basketball, and with a different description: "Fast-breaking, board-pounding basketball action. Play great defense, steal the ball, drive down court for the winning point as the clock expires! Play against a friend or the computer."  A prototype (pictures #2 and #3) was obtained from the former editor of Atari Age, Steve Morgenstern which seems complete except for a few finishing touches, and the referee is missing (but the graphics for him are in the code - picture #4).  According to programmer Joe Gaucher, the referee was interactive and would mess with the players and run alongside them, but that he had to take him out due to memory constraints. Atari canceled the game before he finished it.  A promo box has also been found for this game (picture #5).

   

 

REALSPORTS SOCCER
Alternate box artwork (picture #1) appeared in the September 1983 issue of Electronic Games (page 34), which was actually used for the 5200 version of RealSports Soccer (picture #2), and not the non-Realsports-labeled Soccer version, which had different artwork. Picture #3 is the artwork used in the released 2600 version.

   

 

SNOOPY & THE RED BARON
The first picture is from Atari Age magazine, and shows different colors from the actual release (picture #2).

 

 

SPACE INVADERS
Early catalogs pictured a completely different version on the introduction page (picture #1), while the entry description page showed an accurate version compared to the release (picture #2).

 

 

STREET RACER
This photo (picture #1) appears on the original 1977 system box.  While all of the screenshots on the box are artist renderings, this is the only one that is noticeably different from the actual game (picture #2).

 

 

SUPER BASEBALL
This alternate box was shown in a commercial featuring Ozzie Smith.  The game is likely Super Baseball, although the artwork doesn't match any Atari versions.  The box shown for the 7800 version was also different (it uses the same artwork but the title is RealSports Baseball instead of Baseball).

 

SWORDQUEST AIRWORLD
Although the game was never finished, 2 different artwork pictures were circulated – one a small box art picture from an early ad (picture #1) and the other a painting that was found within Atari when it closed up, which may have ended up being the final art (picture #2).  Note the Philosopher’s Stone just under the rider’s left arm, which was to be the prize for that game’s contest. See this article for more info.

 

 

SWORDQUEST WATERWORLD
2 Alternate artworks were first shown.  The first (picture #1) appeared in an early magazine ad.  Afterwards, some catalogs showed a different picture (picture #2), which also appeared on a promo box (picture #3).  Just before its release, the Atari Age magazine showed what would be the final released art (pictures #4 and #5), although the artwork was a mirrored image, and the ad also included a box showing the catalog art! See this article for more info.

 

 

 

TEMPEST
A promo box (picture #1) exists for this game, as well as some alternate artwork that was intended for the 5200 version (picture #2).  At least 2 different prototypes exist.  The earlier version, dated 1-5-84 (picture #3), is very similar to the later version, dated 2-28-84 (picture #4), except that it lacks a copyright and a title screen.  Both versions are incomplete, and only show one layout.  A photo of the box also appeared in a photo in the March 1983 issue of Atari Club Magazin (pictures #5 and #6).  As of now, the only person who has a copy of the later version is John Skruch (both appeared in an article in the January 1996 issue of Ultimate Gamer magazine).  Due to its CX (part) #, this may have been slated to become an Atari Club exclusive release title.

 

 

 

 

TRACK & FIELD
The PAL version was to be called Los Angeles 1984 Games - both a photocopy of the cart's label with this name (and correct CX# - picture #1)) and a PAL prototype (picture #3) were found.  Konami is credited on the released label as well (picture #2), so apparently Atari bought the home rights for Track & Field and planned to use it as a tie-in to the 1984 Olympics (which Atari was a sponsor of) but for whatever reason decided not to.  Picture #4 is a screenshot of the released version.

 

 

 

TRAK-BALL CONTROLLER
One of Atari's "Pro-Line" Advanced Controllers. A company flyer (picture #1) notes it was "coming in June '83", with a photo showing "ATARI 2600 TRAK-BALL" and with fire buttons that are full concave. A marketing photo (picture #2) clearly shows the letters being molded into the top of the plastic case. Another photo (picture #3) showed it having red fire buttons, which none of the released versions had.  Yet another photo appeared on the back cover of the May/June 1983 issue of Atari Age magazine (picture #4), showing the text in white lettering. However, none of the 4 released versions looked exactly like the marketing photos.

The version originally released (picture #5) has buttons that aren't fully concave, the lines radiating from the ball on the top case aren't as long, and the text on top isn't the same ("ATARI 2600" is underlined on the left and is smaller, with "PRO-LINE TRAK-BALL" to the right). Also, the text isn't molded in the case but instead printed in raised, chrome lettering on a black sticker. Although the case has a hole and markings on the left side for a Trak-Ball/joystick mode switch, the pcb design doesn't support it (and the hole is covered up). The sticker on the bottom notes that it was manufactured at Atari's El Paso, TX plant. 

The 2nd released version (picture #6) has a white base and different text ("ATARI" on the left with no logo, and "TRAK-BALL" on the right) and the pcb has the mode switch, although Atari never released a VCS game that supported Trak-Ball (i.e. analog) mode. The sticker on the bottom notes that it was manufactured in Mexico. 

A 3rd version was later released with a redesigned case, a black ball, triangular fire buttons, and a silver plate across the top with black lettering printed on it (picture #7).  The mode switch is now on the back and is marked "JS" (for joystick) and "TB" (for Trak-Ball). Note that there are 2 different (internal) versions of this model as well - the 1st is compatible with the CX-22; the 2nd is compatible with the Atari ST mouse (some jumpers were added to the board inside). The only way to tell which version you have is to either try it, or open it up and look for the jumpers.

 

 

 

VOICE CONTROLLER
This was a joint-collaboration between Atari and Milton Bradley, with MB to develop a version of their TI MBX Expander speech synthesis and voice recognition system for the 2600 and 5200. It used a combination headset/microphone which enabled players to control games by voice commands.  It was originally called the Voice Commander, and a drawing was first shown in Atari's 1983 "Ticket to the Stars" catalog (picture #1).  A similar drawing appeared in Atari's June 1983 "2nd Half" press kit (picture #2), along with an actual photo, which differed from the drawings (picture #3).  The accompanying letter states it was demoed at the Chicago CES show, using a version of RealSports Baseball!  It also included a headset, and mentioned 3 other VC games were Star Raiders, Battlezone, and Berzerk.  The unit was shown in press releases and in a 1983 TV commercial where it was referred to as a "voice module" and resembled the earlier drawings (picture #4).  A photo of the earlier design appeared in the September 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (picture #5).  To date, neither a prototype or even the mock-ups have been found.  MB was also to develop a total of 18 (!) cartridges over 3 years, with most to incorporate use of the VC.  Suggested Retail Price: $99.95.  According to a CES Press Release, this unit was scheduled for an October, 1983 release.  Atari apparently backed out, prompting MB to sue them for breach of contract.  Atari's case design was eventually reused for their 2600JR system (FAQ and picture #6).

 

   

 

WARLORDS
Different box artwork (picture #2) was initially shown in early catalogs. Atari programmer Jim Huether was actually the artist's model for the released version (picture #2).

 

 

XEVIOUS
A box (picture #1) was show for this at the 1983 Winter CES, which is identical to the 7800 artwork (picture #2).

 

 

YARS’ REVENGE
This early catalog screen depiction (picture #1) shows both the Zorlon cannon and the Neutral Zone (referred to as the "rainbow ion zone" in the first Atari Age magazine) as being comprised of multi-colored horizontal lines.  At certain points in the released version, the Zorlon cannon has a similar appearance, except that it is pink in color (picture #2).

 

 

ZOO KEEPER
Port of the arcade game. Mentioned in the March/April 1984 issue of Atari Age (pg. 13 - picture #1).  This was to be a SARA "SuperChip" cartridge.  An internal status listing from some time in 1984 lists the game as an unscheduled option (picture #2), with the name John R. (John Russell?) attached to it.  According to programmer Christopher Omarzu, this was "90% complete". Sound designer Robert Vieira believes Omarzu got over the most difficult hurdle - making the animals move up, down, sideways, and upside-down as they ran around the cage (something about flipping playfield data). The game was never finished as far as he can remember, before Atari killed it off in early 1984. Vieira made his sound code available to the community in early 2005, and a binary was created (by Ken Van Mersbergen and Thomas Jentzsch) that plays 18 different sound effects and pieces of music. Graphics artist Courtney Granner provided some footage of his character sprite animations in early 2008.  No other material have been found to date.  Check out this video to hear and see all the sounds effects and graphics that have been found.  Originally called "King Crab", Zoo Keeper was one of the few American-designed games that Taito released (with "Space Dungeon" and "Qix" being two others), which is interesting, since the player's characters from Elevator Action and Zoo Keeper (both Taito games) are very similar to each other (pictures #3 and #4).

 

 

BOMB

 

SPLENDOUR
Catalog description: “Jaws bit and flight ambitiously in the ocean. Time is limited and points will be given when the jaws clear up surroundings, do not miss the bombs. Two players can play this game alternatively.”

 

CBS ELECTRONICS

 

KICK-MAN
Announced at the 1983 CES.  The screenshot (picture #1) is most likely a mock-up, since it shows 5 balloons falling at once (on rack 2!).  2 different box artwork were shown - one showing the title as one word (and with Pac-Man) and the other showing the name hyphenated (and w/o Pac-Man).  Description: "Fast Reflexes and dexterity are needed to unicycle back and forth to catch falling balloons on your head. If you miss one - Quick! - kick it back up and try again. Challenge Racks, too!"

    

 

MADDEN FOOTBALL / MADDENESS
Boxes were shown in ads, but no screenshots.  Programming was at least started on it, and it closely resembled the Atari Football coin-op.  Catalog description: “The video football game for the coach in all of us!  Developed by the man who wrote the book on offense and defense: John Madden.  Realistic gridiron action with eleven players on a side and advanced play options!”

 

 

 

TARG
This actual screenshot (picture #1) appeared in some 1983 CBS literature.  A prototype version was found in 2004 that is very close to complete (picture #2).  The game was eventually released by Telegames under the name Universal Chaos, with slightly altered graphics (picture #3). 

 

 

TUNNEL RUNNER
A promo box with alternate artwork (picture #1) appeared in an interview with Robert Hunter of CBS in the July 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (page 26). Picture #2 is of the released version.

 

 

WINGS
These screenshots (pictures #1 and #2) appeared in some 1983 CBS literature.  2 prototype versions were found (pictures #3 and #4) in 2004, but neither are 100% complete. A box (picture #5) was shown in magazine advertisements, which differed from a promo box (picture #6) that appeared in an interview with Robert Hunter of CBS in the July 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (page 26). For more information, check out this
article.

 

 

 

 

COLECO

 

COLECOVISION EXPANSION MODULE #1
A photo shown in the January 1982 issue of Video Games magazine (pg. 74) shows an early version of the module (photo #1); a similar photo appears on the Colecovision system (both prototype and release versions).  A different photo (photo #2) appeared in the April 1983 issue of Electronic Games (pg. 10), regarding Atari's lawsuit over it.  Both are quite different from the version that was released (photo #3).

 

 

COSMIC AVENGER
Advertised in several VCS catalogs.

 

 

DONKEY KONG
This screenshot (picture #1) is from a flyer, which is slightly different from the release - especially Donkey Kong himself (picture #2).  The style (as well as the same score) were also used in the manual (picture #3).

 


 

DONKEY KONG JR.
This screenshot (picture #1) is from a publicity slide, which is noticeably different from the release (picture #2).

 

 

FRENZY
This picture is from a flyer. 

 

GEMINI SOUND I VOICE MODULE
This (picture #1) was an early version of the Kid Vid Module (picture #2) and was originally going to include Berenstain Bears, instead of Smurfs Save the Day.

 

 

GEMINI VIDEO GAME SYSTEM
A photo of the system from a press kit (picture #1) shows a minor difference in the casing, compared to the released version (picture #2).

 

 

LADY BUG
Advertised in several VCS catalogs. John Champeau (of Champ Games) did a spot-on port of the game in 2006 (picture #3).

 

 

MR. DO!
This screenshot (picture #1) is from a publicity slide (which was used as late as 1984 in Coleco's own literature!), and is drastically different from the release (picture #2).  Programmer Ed English was given a prototype coin-op version of the game to use for programming the conversion, which depicts Mr. Do holding a rake (picture #3), as is depicted in the publicity slide!

   

 

MR DO!'s CASTLE
Advertised in a 1984 catalog. Somehow Parker Brothers (who ironically only advertised it in a 1984 catalog of theirs) ended up releasing it instead. We're guessing Coleco either worked out a deal with Parker Brothers, or they passed on it, and whoever the subcontractor was sold it to PB. Coleco catalog description: "Mr. DO! returns to do battle against meaner Badguys in an all-new adventure, inside his castle. You race him around the castle, climbing ladders, jumping through holes, and looking for keys. If you're quick enough, you can use Mr. DO!'s hammer to knock out blocks onto unsuspecting Badguys below. Watch out, your enemy can multiply! But if you can get the keys, maybe you can win an extra Mr. DO!"

 

PEPPER II
The screenshot (picture #1) is from a flyer.  Jerry Greiner found a labeled cart, sans board (pictures #2 and #3).

  

 

ROCKY BATTLES THE CHAMP
This picture is from a publicity slide.  It also appears on a flyer.

 

SMURF: RESCUE IN GARGAMEL'S CASTLE
This screenshot (picture #1) is from a flyer, which is drastically different from the release (pictures #2 and #3).  It also appears on the Colecovision Module #1 box. A slightly different box (picture #4) from the released version (picture #5) was shown on the same flyer.

   

 

 

SMURFETTE’S BIRTHDAY
This picture is from a publicity slide.  It also appears on a flyer.

 

TARZAN
Based on the ColecoVision game. According to the company that designed it, Wickstead Design, the game was completed but unreleased due to a chip shortage (to be more accurate, it was due to a manufacturing error with the custom "RAM/ROM" chips).  From a February, 1983 CES Press Release: "Practice up on your Tarzan yell, because it's your turn to help the famous Ape Man save his jungle friends from the Great Safari Hunters! Only you can guide him through the deep, dark, danger-ridden jungle, swing him safely across lethal waters, and give him the right moves to fend off and eliminate the intruders. Watch out for the hunters' weapons, deadly jungle beasts and other obstacles, but remember - one false move and you'll perish in the jungle!". From a 1984 CES catalog: "Evil hunters have invaded the jungle to carry Tarzan's tribe of apes off to a zoo. You race through the jungle, leaping from vine to branch, running along the jungle floor... all the time looking out for the hunters' traps. You reach a clearing and have to fight your way through the captors to liberate your ape friends. If they get away again, you'll have to catch up and free the apes before they leave the jungle forever." The same catalog also showed an actual screenshot (picture #1) and box art (picture #2). Video footage of the game was apparently shown at a CES show. An Atari 8-bit version was found, so a VCS version may still exist as well. A manual was found in 2011 (picture #3). A flyer also exists (picture #4) but it doesn't have a screenshot.

 

 

 

TURBO
The game was originally advertised in several VCS catalogs, along with a picture of a labeled cart (pictures #1 and #2), and even reviewed by
Electronic Games!  A flyer (picture #3) shows a screenshot and a box (picture #4), and had this to say: "GET READY FOR LIFE IN THE FAST LANE! This high-speed racing game is not for the faint-hearted! You control a high-performance car, speeding down the open road. Accelerate - change lanes - but watch out! While controlling the car's speed and direction, you've got to pass other racing cars, avoid treacherous obstacles, and still make it in record time!" The same screenshot also appeared on a flyer. Picture #5 is from a demo by Thomas Jentzsch to show the picture was as least technically possible.  Picture #6 is from the Colecovision Expansion Module #1 box, and is noticeably different from the original.  A prototype cartridge (picture #7) was discovered in 2006 by Anthony R. Henderson, who was one of 2 programmers who worked on it.  Note the screenshot (picture #8) is drastically different from the earlier ones.  Leonard Herman claims this version is not the same version he saw at a CES show, which he describes as such: " The screen shot that I used in ABC To The VCS (picture #3) closely resembles what I remember from CES. I also remember another city scene where there is water on the left and buildings on the right and the road is in the center. It gave the appearance of riding on a lake-view road."

 

 

 

 

 

WILD WESTERN
Picture #1 is from a publicity slide.  A flyer (picture #2) shows a screen shot, and had this to say: "SADDLE UP FOR AN OLD WEST SHOOTOUT! Help law and order prevail on the electronic frontier! Outlaws are out to ambush the train. You're the Sheriff who can stop them with your faithful horse, trusty six-shooter and your wits! You can't shoot over the train, but you can fall back and get the bandits from behind, or gallop on ahead of the train and shoot back over the shoulder at 'em! The Sheriff may even go across the tracks or up on top of the train to fight the varmints face to face. Can you defeat those ornery sidewinders?"

 

 

ZAXXON
A slightly different box (picture #1) from the released version (picture #2) was shown on a flyer.

 

 

COMMAVID

 

MISSION OMEGA
Artwork was shown in even the earliest of CommaVid advertisements (it was announced as one of CommaVid's 4 debut titles at the summer 1982 CES).  Description: "You are flying the last mission from Earth... Mission Omega, to an artificial world built to rescue the population and supplies of the planet. Somehow the power that propels the immense space world has been redirected by BlackHeart. You must pilot your ship through the support columns and evade the defensive fire from the interceptor ships sent to blast you. If you manage to save your ship and pilot it accurately, you may be able to trigger the collapse that will cause BlackHeart to consume itself and make the world safe to live in once again."

 

RUSH HOUR
First announced at the Winter 1982/83 CES and later mentioned in the April 1983 issue of
Creative Computing magazine.  A prototype was shown at the Summer 1983 CES.  Artwork also appeared in a 1983 flyer (picture #1).  The game was outsourced by CommaVid and designed by Ben Burch, who was actually a consultant hired by CommaVid. Ironically, Burch was in an automobile accident during the development and it's believed the project was eventually scrapped before completion. 2 different descriptions exist: (from Winter 1982/83 press release) "You're in a hurry and you can't afford to be one minute late. You are driving along smoothly and then you're caught in a drivers nightmare - a traffic jam during rush hour. But you just won't creep along - you must blast, dodge, and weave your way through the traffic until you reach your destination."; (from Summer 1983 press release) "Caught in a drivers nightmare, a traffic jam during rush hour, you must blast, dodge, and weave your way through high speed traffic. Your super auto is equipped with lazer-blasting headlights; but you must avoid the debris cluttering the autobahn to reach your destination. This new concept in driving/racing video game will challenge the most sophisticated driver." A finished box (picture #2) and several unfinished prototype versions of this game were archived from Dr. John Bronstein in September 2002.  A reproduction of the most complete and stable prototype version (picture #3), with help from Mike Mika, was released by CGE Services (who at that time acquired the rights to all of CommaVid's properties) at CGE2K3 - 250 boxed copies were made.

 

 

CONTROL VIDEO CORPORATION

 

GAMELINE MASTER MODULE
GameLine was a service offered by Control Video Corporation that allowed you to download games to the VCS/2600 over regular phone lines via the use of their GameLine Master Module. The complete kit contains the Master Module (an 8K RAM cartridge with internal 1200 baud modem - more tech info can be found on the Stella Archive), telephone connecting cord, a duplex T-adapter, owner's manual, registration guide, GameLine membership cards, and "temporary" game directory & instructions. It originally sold for $49.95 and there was a one-time membership fee of $15. Charges were about $.10 a game or $1 for up to an hour of play. Contest games were $1 and there was a $.50 charge to enter a score. Once it connected, it downloaded the menu program to the battery-backed 2K of RAM. A title screen appeared and "Assembly of Trumpeters For Reveille (First Call)" played. Next, a screen appeared for you to enter a 3-digit number for your ID, and after that another screen where you selected the game you wanted via a 3-digit number, or you could enter 999 for a special "browse" menu. Once the game loaded, a screen would appear with both the game's name and the company who made it, and a tune very similar to the German Army WWI bugle call "No. 2 Battery" played.  On your birthday, a screen would appear with the message, "Happy Birthday! All of your play today is free!" while the first 2 bars of "Happy Birthday" played. One of the game catalogs that was archived lists 76 games which included Save The Whales - a game long thought to be vaporware until it was found years later.  The GameLine system became QuantumLink (also known as Q-Link), an online service for Commodore computer users, which became America On-Line, the most successful online service ever.  See Dan Skelton's GameLine article for more information and a complete list of games that were offered, along with footage of it running.  A photo in an article in the June 1983 issue of Electronic Games (page 33) shows an orange-colored Master Module with what appears to be a phone jack on the top (picture #1) , whereas the released version was silver/gray with a phone jack on the side (picture #2).

Trivia: 1st system to offer the ability to download games over a phone line.

 

DATA AGE

 

MR. BILL'S NEIGHBORHOOD
According to announcements by Data Age in the Winter 1983 CES, the object of the game was to help Mr. Bill lead his family away from the neighborhood before he's caught by the menacing Sluggo. As Mr. Bill meets up with each character, he moves slower and slower making his escape from the pursuing Sluggo and Mr. Hands more difficult. His travels are hampered by street obstacles such as alley barricades and speeding traffic. An article in the April 1983 issue of Videogaming Illustrated (pg. 77) had this quote from Data Age's Product Development Manager J. Ray Dettling: "For seven years Mr. Bill's audience watched him get stepped on, sat upon, pulled apart, and crushed in every way possible. Now, Mr. Bill's fans can look after him and keep him away from Sluggo." The player helps Mr. Bill gather his mother, his dog Spot, and his girlfriend Sally and flee his neighborhood, with its dead-end alleys and speeding traffic, before Mr. Hands or Sluggo can make a clay pigeon out of him. A "Save Mr. Bill" media campaign was planned to coincide with the release of the game in April 1983. The July 1983 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games (pg. 83) features an interview with J. Ray Dettling and includes some rough drawings for the game. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player. According to an article in the October 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (page 32), when Data Age folded, the license for the game came back to Mr. Bill creator Walter Williams. He spent a day at the summer 1983 CES show looking for other software prospects, and stated Universal was working on an arcade game version, which was to be out before Christmas. Description from flyer: "Yes, DATA AGE brings you MR. BILL's first video game, "MR. BILL'S NEIGHBORHOOD." Now instead of having to watch MR. BILL being smashed on "Saturday Night Live," Bob Hope specials, "David Letterman" and other TV shows, you can try to save him and his friends from their arch rival Sluggo. But watch out! In MR. BILL'S NEIGHBORHOOD there's speeding traffic, streets with dead end alleys and the ever-present Mr. Hands who will grab you and push you toward the worst fate of all, Sluggo. MR. BILL became an American hero as a regular feature on the original "Saturday Night Live." He has gone on to appear in numerous television shows and in many magazines and newspapers. MR. BILL's first book, THE MR. BILL SHOW sold a million copies and was a Publisher's Weekly and New York Times #1 Bestseller. He also has his own calendar, greeting cards and a new book, MR. BILL IN SPACE. MR. BILL'S NEIGHBORHOOD was conceived and designed by the creator and producer of MR. BILL, Walter Williams. We swear the game offers all the spontaneous thrills and laughs of a MR. BILL movie. To save MR. BILL, see your DATA AGE distributor. MR. BILL'S NEIGHBORHOOD will be available April 1983."

 

SURVIVAL RUN
1982 CES literature description: "No one has ever returned from the deadly cosmic portal, yet driven by intense curiosity you enter. Suddenly you plunge into a negative universe and find yourself on a labyrinth of narrow walkways spanning a sea of deadly liquid nitrogen. You let out a sign of relief a moment too soon as the sharp pain in your throat tells you that the air is as deadly as the sea. Your only hope for survival is the Korbinian cubes -- an energy rich diet that will also neutralize the poisonous air. In sheer desperation you run for your life to the nearest cube.

Just then you confront the diabolical Dylak, an ammonia breathing monster lurking in the dark corners. His purpose: guard the Korbinian cubes and destroy the intruder. With only seconds of life remaining, you must avoid Dylak and retrieve the cube. You make it just in time. As you absorb its energy, you achieve super strength, possibly enough to push Dylak into the deadly sea. But beware! Your strength is short lived. Soon you will need another cube."

A prototype was found in early 2003 (picture #2).

 

 

ENTEX

 

ENTEX 2000 PIGGYBACK COLOR COMPUTER
Yet another in a long line of announced keyboard add-ons that were announced for the 2600 but never released. The Piggyback was to feature a 70-key full-stroke keyboard including 4 cursor movement keys and 9 function keys. It was Z80-based, had 8K of built-in BASIC,and 3K of memory (2K of user-accessible RAM and 1K of video RAM), which was expandable to 16K via a Memory Expansion Cartridge (which included a cassette interface). The display offered 128 characters and a 32x16 character display. At least 4 cartridges (priced at $35 each) were to be ready at launch, with 6 more to follow by June. Planned titles were Basic Programming, Beginning Algebra, Beginning Math, Computer Typing, Home Finance, Number Games, Speed Reading, Spelling I, Sports Statistics, and Word Games. According to a company letter, it was compatible with the 2600 and 2600A models, as well as the Coleco Gemini, Colecovision Expansion Module #1, Columbia Home Arcade, and the Intellivision Expansion System Changer. And with 1 of 3 $7 Converters, it was compatible with the Atari 5200, Colecovision, Intellivision I and II, Sears Super Video Arcade, and Radio Shack Tandyvision. A separate Peripheral Expansion Module I (with RS-232, Parallel I/O, and 2 cartridge ports) was to follow shortly after the computer's release, which enabled the Piggyback to interface with a use of a printer and modem, and offered an additional 16K, for a total of 34K RAM. A disk drive controller was also planned. Literature showed 2 different name plates on the unit - one said "PIGGY BACK" and the other said "ENTEX 2000 PIGGY BACK". The Piggyback was slated to launch in May and sell for $125.

 

EXUS

 

ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE, THE; ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE KIT
An integrated exercise bike system very similar to Atari's unreleased Puffer. 1984 flyer description: "The ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE created by EXUS Corporation, the leader in innovative fitness and health products for home and gym, represents a breakthrough in stationary/exercise bicycle technology. Now, for the first time, it is possible to carefully monitor the physical performance of the rider, including heart rate and average, approximate calorie burn while watching a graphic presentation of these and other pre-determined fitness goals on your television set. As you pedal your way to improved health, you may carefully measure your progress against goals that you have pre-selected and introduced into your own personal health program through the EXUS Computer System which is integrated into the Electronic Health Bike. The exclusive Cardio Tach with other EXUS health and fitness software programs are supplemented by EXUS Health Cycle Program, a video program that provides diversion and entertainment in the form of a highly colorful obstacle course the rider "steers" through by operating the digital controls that are part of the hand grips on the Electronic Health Bike by EXUS.

For younger family members, video games that might normally be played on an Atari 2600/VCS may also be played through the EXUS Computer on the ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE.

ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE KIT

In addition to the ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE, EXUS Corporation is pleased to introduce the ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE KIT.

The ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE KIT consists of the EXUS Computer, molded ABS plastic digital control hand grip panels (2) each having three buttons that control all program functions and an electronic sensor that interacts with the host bike's speedometer. The Kit also includes all EXUS health programs as well as the Health Cycle with program. The ELECTRONIC HEALTH BIKE will adapt to virtually all standard stationary exercise bicycles and is packaged in an attractive self-selling display carton. An illustrated folder provides complete hook-up instructions."

 

HEALTH CYCLE PROGRAM
Was to be included with the Electronic Health Bike.

 

GAKKEN

 

JUNGLER
Based on the Konami arcade game, which was licensed to Stern Electronics.  The player controls a snake-like ship moving around a number of mazes chasing three similar computer controlled ships.  Being hit by bullets reduces the length of the ships.  Ships are destroyed either when their length is reduced to zero or when they collide with a longer ship.  Jungler was actually shown at the 1983 Winter CES by Gakken, but it was the only one of its planned titles which never saw the light of day.

 

POOYAN
Before Konami decided to produce games by itself for the 2600, Gakken had acquired the worldwide home rights to Jungler, Pooyan, and Strategy X.  Curiously, Gakken decided against releasing its games in the U.S. market, opting instead to provide games for PAL countries.  This opened the door for Konami to publish its games in North America under it's own name, but they used the same label design and font Gakken used for their fliers.

 

STRATEGY X
Before Konami decided to produce games by itself for the 2600, Gakken had acquired the worldwide home rights to Jungler, Pooyan, and Strategy X.  Curiously, Gakken decided against releasing its games in the U.S. market, opting instead to provide games for PAL countries.  This opened the door for Konami to publish its games in North America under it's own name, but they used the same label design and font Gakken used for their fliers.

 

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

 

DEEP THROAT
An X-rated game that never saw the light of day.  This title was mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player.  Box art appeared on a French flyer.

 

IMAGIC

 

NO ESCAPE
Different artwork was made for it (picture #1), when it was known by its original title – Escape From Argos.  It was eventually released with a different name and artwork (picture #2).

 

 

SHOOTIN’ GALLERY
The original artwork shown (picture #1) is much different from that shown on the actual release (picture #2).

 

 

SKY PATROL
Originally shown at a CES show (possibly January 1983, according to historian Leonard Herman).  The game was never released because of lack of interest during Imagic's testing phase. Fellow Imagic alumni Bob Smith brought this title, along with a prototype box for it, at CGE99. After the show, programmer Brad Stewart gave permission for the ROM image to be shared with the classic community.  Included on the 2003 Activision Anthology and Remix packages.  At least 2 of Rob Fulop's Cubicolor carts (#12 of 50, and #48) were originally labeled "Balloon Race".  A news blurb in the April 1983 issue of
Videogaming Illustrated (pg. 77) states, "The player is a World War I flying ace in an observation balloon crossing enemy lines.  Firepower from below and whimsical winds from above are but a few of the challenges the ace must face."

The mock-up photo (picture #1) shows a multitude of objects (including a biplane, which is depicted in the artwork).  Most of these actually appear in the game - see this article for more info.  Although the game was planned to be a race between 2 hot air balloons, the name and artwork seem to suggest something more war-themed.  Picture #2 is an actual screenshot from the prototype.  Picture #3 is the prototype cart.

   

 

KONAMI

 

SUPER SCRAMBLE
Catalog description: “This exciting game is the 3-D version of the popular amusement game “SCRAMBLE” and the player can enjoy a feeling as if he were in the cockpit of the fighter plane.  Take off from the aircraft carrier.  Control your fighter plane and attack enemy’s territory to destroy their headquarters!!  Get ready for enemy missile, antiaircraft guns and enemy formation flights.  Breakthrough all the enemy’s attack using powerful missiles and machine guns.  And then, come back safe to the aircraft carrier.”

The same style of logo (pictures #1 and #2) was used for the original coin-op Konami releases (pictures #3 and #4).

 

M NETWORK (MATTEL)

(More information on unreleased/unfinished M-Network games can be found HERE)

 

ADVANCED DUNGEON & DRAGONS: TOWER OF MYSTERY cartridge
Unfinished prototype. Originally announced at the 1983 Winter CES show and listed as "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" (no sub-title) in the April 1983 issue of
Creative Computing (pg. 24). Intellivision Productions owns a prototype of this game. A description of the game from Mattel's 1983 CES press release reads: "Stuck on top of the Tower of Mystery, you must preserve your strength and protect the treasure as you attempt to escape." An early working title was "Dungeons and Dragons III". This was to be one of the 16K Super Cartridges with 2K of onboard RAM, and having 8 different types of screens. A 1984 press release catalog stated this was under development for release in 1984; unfortunately, Mattel Electronics closed in January 1984 - one month before the scheduled completion of the game. The game was 1 of only 6 Atari titles officially still in development at the time of the closing. All that survives is the demo shown at the January 1984 CES in Las Vegas, and later at CGE99. A few copies have been circulated amongst a select few individuals; hopefully one day they'll share it with the rest of us.

Never completed.  It’s a 16K game, which also required 2K of onboard RAM.  Pictures #3-#5 are from the actual prototype. Catalog description: “Stuck on top of the Tower of Mystery, you must preserve your strength and protect the treasure as you attempt to escape.”

 

   

 

ADVANCED DUNGEON & DRAGONS: TREASURE OF TARMIN cartridge
Completed prototype.  Based on the Intellivision game designed by Tom Loughry and programmed by Synth Corporation. Originally announced at the 1983 Winter CES show and listed as "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" (no sub-title) in the April 1983 issue of
Creative Computing (pg. 24) and planned for a 1983 release, according to Mattel's 1983 press kit. A 1984 press release catalog stated this was under development for release in 1984 and it was shown at the January 1984 CES in Las Vegas; unfortunately, Mattel Electronics closed in January 1984. A box was even shown for it in a Mattel flyer, much like those for the later releases (such as Bump 'n' Jump). Catalog description: "You've found the secret map to the underground lair of the dreaded Minotaur. You can go in, but you'll never come out unless you slay the Minotaur and claim the Tarmin treasure. As you make your way through the hallways and chambers, monsters wield their conventional or spiritual weapons. You must gather the proper defenses along the way. But use them sparingly, the Minotaur looms closer!"  The game was later shown at CGE99.  A few copies have been circulated amongst a select few individuals (pictures #2 and #3 are from the actual prototype); hopefully one day they'll share it with the rest of us.

   

 

COMPUTER CORRIDOR
Never completed.  Combination of two other games that were in development – Computer Revenge and Moon Corridors (which was similar to Battlezone).  Marketing description: “You are captain of a star ship entering unknown planets filled with hostile computer units.  Score points by attacking the computer force and hitting the computer units.  Your mission is complete when the full quadrant of planets is free of the computer force.  Monitor your fuel supply, shield strength, and phaser power.  Use radar to locate units.  Add fuel by finding the computer friendlies.  3-dimensional graphics.  Scrolling grid.  1 player game.”

 

COMPUTER REVENGE
Originally planned for a 1983 release, according to 1983 press kit catalog. The game was shown at the 1983 Winter CES. Mentioned in the April 1983 issue of
Creative Computing (pg. 24) and described as, "You must defend the human race against hostile computers."

 

CUMULUS
Never completed.  An original game by Jeff Ratcliff.  He was later pulled off the game to work on Masters of the Universe II.  Game description: “You must protect the cloud city of Cumulus from descending enemy ships.  Your first line of defense are battle pods that float above the city.  If the ships manage to destroy your pods, you must fight the enemy on the planet surface where they will attack the generators that project a protective energy shield around the city.  Should the generators be destroyed, the city is doomed!”

 

DARK CAVERN
Although all the screenshots used in their catalogs are artist renderings, the "available soon" one shown for this game (picture #1) didn't even have the correct colors (picture #2).  Even when the game became available, the screenshot was never corrected in later catalogs.

 

FLAPPER
Unfinished game by Stephen Tatsumi.  The drawing is from Tatsumi’s original written proposal for the game.  Game description: “You control the Flapper to rescue baby Flappers from an underground maze.  The maze is filled with snakes, bats, and ghosts.  Cave-ins and landslides keep opening and closing the tunnels.  Luckily, the Flapper is a unique fellow: he has three types of beanies – chopper for flying, gun for shooting, umbrella for protection – and four interchangeable types of legs: flying, jumping, running, and walking.  You have to find and change the appropriate beanie and legs for him to overcome the obstacles and rescue the babies!”

 

IN SEARCH OF THE GOLDEN SKULL
Picture #1 is from an Amiga catalog.  Picture #2 is an actual screenshot from the prototype. Programmed by VideoSoft for Mattel.  It’s a 16K game, which also required 2K of onboard RAM.  Catalog description: “Your engaged in a worldwide search for a priceless artifact – a solid gold, prehistoric human skull.  Use the treasure map to determine the Golden Skull’s location, then begin your perilous search.  Along the way you’ll encounter air battles, steaming swamps, and the pyramid maze.  How far will your obsession take you! (One player).”

 

 

INTERNATIONAL SOCCER
The catalog entry (picture #1) shows a horizontally-scrolling game similar to the Intellivision version, whereas the released version is a vertical affair (picture #2).  Mock-up, or accurate representation of an earlier version?  The screenshot was corrected in revision 3 of their catalog.

 

 

LOCO-MOTION
A game where players control a train on railroad tracks.  Originally planned for a 1983 release, according to 1983 press kit catalog (picture #1).  The game was shown at the 1983 Winter CES.  Mentioned in the April 1983 issue of
Creative Computing (pg. 23) and May 1983 (pg. 24) and October 1983 (pg. 30) issues of Electronic Games (pg. 24).  A few copies have been circulated amongst a select few individuals (picture #2); hopefully one day they'll share it with the rest of us.

 

 

MISSION X
Port of the Data East arcade game. The artwork is from a 1983 full-size press catalog.  A picture of a cart (picture #2) appeared online, but it’s unknown whether or not this is a mock-up (used for advertising) or a fake.  According to the Keith Robinson (of the Blue Sky Rangers), programming never started for the 2600 version.

 

 

MONKEY BUSINESS
Unfinished original game by Eric Del Sesto, which began as his training project in mid-1983.  The game featured a seven-page scrolling map of the zoo with a new graphics technique called “hidden V-clocks”, which produced wider, cleaner displays (it was a programming technique that eliminated altogether the horizontal lines that appeared on the left side of the screen). The drawing is from Eric’s original written proposal for the game.  Game description: “In the zoo, things have gone awry.  Billy the Chimp has escaped and is up to no good.  As any curious monkey would, he has managed to free the elephants!  It’s up to you, as Mike the Zookeeper, to return the elephants to their cages.  Once you have restored order in the elephant section, you must quickly run to the next section of cages.  Perhaps you’ll have to capture the loose Koalas.  Maybe you’ll have to avoid soaring hawks, battle fierce tigers, or try to grab the slippery penguins.  Along the way, you’ll find items which will be of help to you, such as a bag of peanuts or a net.  So grab your hat and stop this monkey business!”

 

SEA BATTLE
The catalog screenshot (picture #1) is noticeably different from the actual game (picture #2), as it shows the bases on the sides of the screen, as opposed to the top and bottom.

 

 

TRON DEADLY DISCS
The catalog screenshot (picture #2) is noticeably different from the actual game (picture #2), as it shows a grid in the playing area.

 

 

WINTER OLYMPICS XIV
From a news blurb in the August 1983 (pg. 14) issue of
Electronic Games: "Mattel has revealed plans to produce a Winter Olympics cartridge. The XIV Winter Olympics title has been designated as the official videogame of the 1984 Olympics, to be held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Created for plan on the Intellivision, and as an M Network title for use with the Atari 2600, the game from the company that previously published U.S. Ski Team Skiing allows arcaders a crack at the "ski jump" and/or "bobsled" events in this one, only this time on electronic versions of the actual Winter Olympics courses."

 

MILTON BRADLEY

 

ARMORED COMMANDER + TANK BLITZ
Shown in a 1984 catalog.  Was to be the 3rd specialized “Commander” controller in the Power Arcade series, along with Flight Commander and Cosmic Commander.  Catalog description: “Now video game fans can use a hand controller with some of the trappings you might expect in a real battle tank!  Players push both handles forward or back to move tank on TV screen.  Tank on screen comes to a stop when one handle is pulled forward and the other pushed back.  Picture in gun sight lights up, controller vibrates when ‘Fire’ buttons are pushed.  Comes with ‘Tank Blitz’ game cartridge.”

 

 

HD2000 controller
This was a cheaper variant of the TI-99/4a MBX Expander controller, but without the 3 auxiliary buttons and the rotating top. Although never released, a few prototypes are known to exist. Somehow Atari ended up releasing it as the Space Age joystick.

 

SCRAMBLE
Port of the arcade game by Konami.

 

SPITFIRE ATTACK
Alternate artwork was shown in company literature.

 

 

STAR TREK
This was one of the 3 games that Western Tech was originally developing for Kenner, back in 1981; when they backed out, Milton Bradley picked up the rights to it. We're guessing this was going to be similar to the Vectrex version. Milton-Bradley planned to create games for the VCS to be distributed under the GCE name. A sell sheet from their 1983 CES Press Kit had this to say: "Congratulations on your Starship command! Your mission: Seek out and destroy the enemy Klingon Mother ship. Chart your way through unexplored sectors of the galaxy, wary of hostile spacecraft and their deadly torpedoes. Transport yourself through mysterious Black Holes to face unknown new dangers. Let lasers and protective shields help you survive, but careful not to drain your fuel supply!".

 

SURVIVAL RUN
Alternate artwork was shown in company literature.

 

 

MULTIVISION

 

BATTLE OF THE SEXES
According to the  programmer Michael Case, the game was finished but the only known copy was left with the designer: "It involved male and female figures coming together from the top and bottom of the screen, to either shoot each other or screw each other. It wasn't as good (as Harem). It was basically like Pong. I knocked it out in a few weeks so we could say we had two games when we approached distributors."  The October 1983 issue of Videogaming Illustrated featured a quote from Eugene Finkei about the game: "Battle of the Sexes is played simultaneously by two players. It's very innocent. Each player has surrogate partners scrolling across the screen. Each player must score with as many surrogates as possible while trying to knock out the surrogates of the other partner. There are different skill levels and variations. It can be played by two guys with girls scrolling across the screen. To score, the player directs the figure to bounce together with the surrogate for a fraction of a second. No genitalia. And you don't shoot the other surrogates, you merely get them out of the way."  Below is a flyer for the game.

 

HAREM
The October 1983 issue of
Videogaming Illustrated featured an article on adult-themed video games, which included these actual screenshots (picture #1) of Multivision's unreleased game, Harem.  Picture #2 is a flyer for the game.  Scott Stilphen tracked down the game's programmer in 2007 and released the ROM with his permission (interview).  Pictures #3 and #4 are of the actual game.

  

 

PARKER BROTHERS

 

AMIDAR
An early catalog entry shows different box art (picture #1) from the released version (picture #2).

 

 

CIRCUS CHARLIE
Boxes were shown in photos at the 1983 CES for the 2600, Colecovision, and Commodore 64.  A press-release description mentions the 2600 version having 4 screens, and the Colecovision and C-64 versions having 5 (the arcade had 6).  Philip Orbanes, who was the Senior VP for Research & Development at Parker Brothers at the time, had this to say about it: "I saw the first work on Circus Charlie for the Atari 2600.  1984 was a year of turmoil inside Parker, esp. in regards video games due to the rapid downturn in the retail market.  Heartbreakingly, we laid off 95% of our formerly booming electronics R&D staff.  During this process, Circus Charlie was canceled and no one had the prescience, or will, to archive unfinished work."

 

THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Artist rendering screenshot and description (pictures #1 and #2) are from a 1983 catalog.  Pictures #3 and #4 are 2 different versions of the box art. A fake, pixel-perfect screenshot (picture #5) was created by Chris Bieniek, based on the original.  Here is a description from a Parker Bros. press release: “In Parker Brothers' THE INCREDIBLE HULK, the new home video game based on the popular Marvel Comics character, players learn to balance two sides of a dangerously "explosive" character.  As the mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner, the player encounters obstacles which – when the danger intensifies – propel Banner into the emotion-triggered green reaction, transforming him into a raging monster.  Currently in development, the game capitalizes on the prime-time exploits of the well-known TV hero, The Incredible Hulk.  The game's realistic animation captures the look and excitement of NBC's Saturday morning cartoon series based on the Marvel Comics superhero.  THE INCREDIBLE HULK, available in the summer of 1983, will be compatible with the Atari 2600 and Sears Video Arcade."

 

 

 

 

G.I. JOE: COBRA STRIKE
A prototype box (pictures #1 and #2) exists that was shown in some ads and in Parker Brothers' 1983 100th Anniversary catalog (picture #3).  It features the same cover artwork as a comic (picture #4) that was likely out in mid to late 1981.  The released version (picture #5) has different artwork.

 

 

 

JAMES BOND 007
The mystery surrounding this game is worthy of a secret agent. Charlie Heath worked on a demo version based on the final scene in Moonraker, before leaving Parker Bros in late '82, but no copies of the game exist.

The first artwork/promotional material that appeared listed the title as JAMES BOND 007 and depicted the same artwork (picture #1) shown on the movie poster for Live and Let Die (picture #2).

Later ads - complete with a screenshot, a box, and even fake reviews and catalog entries (pictures #3 and #4) - have it as JAMES BOND 007 As Seen In Octopussy.  The title was reworked as JAMES BOND AGENT 007 and first appeared in a press release from Parker Brothers and later in a catalog with a picture similar to that of the Octopussy version (pictures #5 - #7).  The 3 existing screens depict the film’s famous train fight scene.  Bill Kunkel claimed to have played this at a CES show, as does historian Leonard Herman.  A photo of the Intellivision prototype version (picture #8) appeared in the October 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (pg. 29).  The description of the game in the company's catalog reads: "Based on the daring train sequence from the James Bond adventure, Octopussy.  Take the train ride of your life with Agent 007 in this fast moving action video adventure.  A deadly knife-thrower and some trigger happy gunmen are on your heels as you battle across the top of a speeding train.  Think fast - and act even faster - as you try to avoid their attacks without being knocked off the train."  According to Joe Gaucher (programmer of the released version), "Actually the company (Western Technologies) that was previously working on that game never finished it and that’s why Parker Bros came to my company (On Time Software) because they were 1 year behind schedule in releasing a Bond title.  You must remember that WT was a little perturbed that we 'stole' their contracts with Parker Bros for development.  But in the words of Parker, we did a much better product and we were 'on time' with our deliverables."  A few promo boxes for the game were produced, which features a close-up photo of Roger Moore (picture #9).

The released version is based on 3 different movies - Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker, and The Spy Who Loved Me - though all these "missions" are basically the same game.  The box art is the same featured in the earlier ads and catalog entries (picture #10).


 

   

 

 

 

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: JOURNEY TO RIVENDELL
Early catalog screen depictions showed fences (picture #1).  The graphics for these were found in the program, at byte locations $028f - $029d, along with some of the code used to display them.  Picture #2 shows how they appear in the game after the missing parts of the code were reconstructed.  For more information, check out this
article.

 

 

McDONALD'S
The early catalog screenshot (picture #1) resembles the (very) incomplete prototype that was found (picture #2). 2 different prototype versions have been discovered for the Atari 400/800 computers, which are far more developed (but still unfinished) - you can see pictures of them HERE.

 

 

POPEYE
2 different boxes were shown in catalogs (pictures #1 and #2).  The released version is a combination of the title font from one and the art style from the other (picture #3).

 

 

SKY SKIPPER
A port of a very obscure 1981 Nintendo game. The catalog screenshot (picture #1) shows a horizontally-scrolling game (much like the arcade version), with the actual game being vertically-scrolling. There is a section of the 2nd maze that looks very similar to the catalog picture (picture #2), so perhaps it was a perspective error on the artist’s part.

 

 

SPIDER-MAN
An early catalog entry shows box art with different coloring (picture #1) from the released version (picture #2).

 

 

STAR WARS: JEDI ARENA
Early box artwork that was shown in some ads and catalogs has a less-realistic sketch of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker character (picture #1) than the released version (picture #2).

 

 

STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI - EWOK ADVENTURE
Box art was shown in a 1983 catalog (picture #1), which was the same art used for the Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi - Game I promotional box.  Tim Hildebrant (of the Brothers Hildebrant) did some artwork, which might have been used for the final packaging (picture #2).  An early catalog screenshot (picture #3) shows the base at the bottom of the screen, instead of the top (picture #4).

 

 

 

STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE JEDI - GAME I
Pictured in a 1983 CES Press Kit along with the text: "Game play based on exciting scenes from the popular movie Revenge of the Jedi."  Also shown in Parker Brothers' 100th Anniversary catalog (picture #1) as well as in an international catalog.  The box for this game actually exists and it's thought some were given out as promotional "coming-soon" items to stores.  The same artwork was later used for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - Ewok Adventure.  2 different prototype boxes were found for the Intellivision version as well (pictures #23 and #3).

 

 

STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE JEDI - GAME II
Pictured in a 1983 CES Press Kit along with the text: "Game play based on exciting scenes from the popular movie Revenge of the Jedi." Also shown in Parker Brothers' 100th Anniversary catalog (picture #1) as well as in an international catalog.  A prototype box exists (picture #2) and it's thought some were given out as promotional "coming-soon" items to stores.  2 different prototype boxes were found for the Intellivision version as well (pictures #3 and #4).

 

 

 

SUPER COBRA
An early catalog entry shows different box art (picture #1) from the released version (picture #2).

 

 

PROBE 2000 (NAP)

 

POWER LORDS: QUEST FOR VOLCAN
Based on the Revell action-figure toys and licensed by Strongin-Mayem, International.  The game was developed after the Colecovision and Odyssey 2 versions.  Scheduled release date was September, 1983.  A description of the game from NAP's 1983 Summer CES press kit reads: "Adam, Leader of the Lords, and Shaya, Queen of Power, are extra-terrestrial warriors who battle deadly aliens on the mystical Volcan Rock. Using lasers to fight the alien space serpent, the Power Lords can gain entry into the rock and search its endless chambers for the glowing touchstone that activates powerful anti-alien weapons and devices."  At least 2 prototypes are known to exist and and the game only has 2 screens (it’s missing the stairway screen found in the Colecovision version).  A description of the game from NAP's 1983 Summer CES press kit reads: "Adam, Leader of the Lords, and Shaya, Queen of Power, are extra-terrestrial warriors who battle deadly aliens on the mystical Volcan Rock. Using lasers to fight the alien space serpent, the Power Lords can gain entry into the rock and search its endless chambers for the glowing touchstone that activates powerful anti-alien weapons and devices."

   

 

PURSUIT OF THE PINK PANTHER
The Odyssey guys planned to bring games to the VCS/2600 (under the Probe 2000 label) and bought the game from U.S. Games, as reported in the October 1983 issue of Video Games magazine. It was announced in NAP’s summer 1983 CES literature as "The Pink Panther", "Pink Panther: The Video Game", and "Adventures of the Pink Panther" before NAP's marketing finally settled on "Pursuit of the Pink Panther" (as shown in the November 1983 issue of Videogaming Illustrated; an Atari 8-bit version also exists with the same name). Scheduled release date was September 1983. A screenshot was shown in the January 1984 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games magazine (page 10) and mentioned NAP permanently cancelled it (along with Lord of the Dungeon and Power Lords) due to problems with the RAM chips used in the carts. However, according to an interview with Bob Harris in the Spring 2001 issue of Classic Gamer magazine, NAP hired a company to fabricate the custom RAM/ROM chip that U.S. Games had developed for Pink Panther, but unfortunately, the new chips failed and the Probe 2000 division was shut down as a result.  Description: "Players control the Pink Panther as he sneakily makes his way through several screens, attempting to outwit the Inspector. For his final challenge, he must dangle from a swinging rope, steal the famous Pink Panther diamond and escape unnoticed." The Pink Panther is the property of and was licensed by MGM-UA Home Entertainment Group, Inc.  At least 6 prototypes are known to exist, along with at least 50 reproduction copies, made by Jose Artiles and Roman Sharnberg.  See this article for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEGA

 

48 HRS.
Based on the movie of the same name. Mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player.

 

 

AIRPLANE!
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player and April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazines. Based on the movie of the same name.

 

 

BUCK ROGERS: CAVERNS OF ZAGREB
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player and April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazines.

 

 

BUCK ROGERS: MARATHON OF ZENDA
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player and April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazines.

 

 

BUCK ROGERS: SECRETS OF ZADAR
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player and April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazines.

 

 

DRAGONSLAYER
Mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player.

 

 

FRIDAY THE 13th
This game isn’t based on the movie by the same name, but rather the nasty things that can happen to a person on Friday 13th. 'Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player and April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazines. This title was scheduled for an October 1983 release.

 

 

MARATHON MAN
Based on the TV show of the same name.

 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE
Mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player. Based on the TV show of the same name.

 

 

MUFFET
Described in the April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazine as a “cute cartoon game”.
 

 

 

STAR TREK II: IN SEARCH OF SPOCK
This one is a bit of a mystery. It was mentioned in flyers. Why it's titled “II” and not “III” is unknown, since the second Star Trek movie was already out by the time this was shown. Most likely a typo by the artist.

 

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the Aug./Sep. 1983 issue of Video Games Player and April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazines. Based on the movie of the same name.

 

 

SUBTERFUGE
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazine. The 2nd box (picture #2) has the same artwork as Sub-Scan, and given the original artwork, we're 99% sure Subterfuge was an early name for Sub-Scan.

   

 

WAR OF THE WORLDS
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Also mentioned in the April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazine. The box art resembles the design of the Martian war machines from the 1953 movie.

 

 

SPECTRAVISION/SPECTRAVIDEO

 

CAVE IN
Released for the VIC-20 (pictures #2 and #3). Catalog description: “After many years of futility, your search is over! You have found the kingdom of Meese. Power and riches shall soon be yours. But remember the legend of Meese. Are there really creatures called ‘Meese-kites’? Are the ‘Magic Lips’ still hidden below? Are you brave enough to find out?”

 

CHINA SYNDROME
The 1st artist rendering screenshot (picture #1) is from an early 1982 catalog, and looks nothing like the actual game. A later version (picture #2)  is from a later catalog the same year (titled “Meet the Challenge Vol II 11/82”, which is accurate to the actual game (picture #4). The box art is completely different as well (picture #3).

   

 

COMPUMATE
This is a
42-key touch pad-style computer add-on that adds 16K ROM, 2K RAM, a 2-channel + 2 octave music composer, BASIC, and Magic Easel. The unit looks like a small keyboard connected to a cartridge, which has 2 cables that connect to the controller ports. It has 3 function/display modes: Text (which runs BASIC), Graphic (which runs Magic Easel) and Music. Magic Easel allows you to create photos (with up to 10 different colors) and animations (up to 9 frames) using the joystick). Originally sold for $79.99. This was once quite rare to find until a large quantity surfaced in Venezuela in 2010.  The photo shown in the company flyer shows a prototype version (pictures #1 and #2), which is different from the released version (picture #3).

 

 

DRIVE ‘EM KRAZY
Port of the (very obscure) Status Games arcade game. Catalog description: “A Spectravideo exclusive! Now the popular arcade game from Status Games comes to the home with al the action of the original arcade version! Drive ‘em Krazy is a fast action car chase that is sure to drive you crazy!”

 

 

EAGLE MOUNTAIN
Catalog description: “Far away from the civilized world high above the clouds likes ‘Eagle Mountain’. Many stories are told by the natives about the great treasures hidden in a secret labyrinth high on the peak. No one knows for sure how many brave souls have attempted the journey up the Eagle Mountain – none have returned. We dare you to take the journey!”

 

GLACTIC TACTIC
Announced at the 1983 Winter CES. Catalog description: “Intergalactic war has broken out between those troublesome ‘MORPULS’ from the planet ‘TZORIS’ and the ‘MIRPODS’ from the planet ‘MAMZER’. As a SPECTRA-WARRIOR, your mission is to protect the ‘GLACTIC TACTIC’ border observation station, and prevent contact between the MORPULS and MIRPODS. The ‘GLACTIC TACTIC’ is protected by a high energy force field and bi-directional laser cannons. The entire universe is depending on you!”

   

 

MASTER CYLINDER
Catalog description: “The planet Spectra has enjoyed many years of peace and prosperity since the evil Morpils from the Planet ‘Tzoris’ were defeated. But now an evil force permeates the galaxy. The long range sensors have detected a strange war machine in the Delta Quadrant. As a member of ‘Legion of the Chosen’ it’s your duty to destroy this unknown enemy before it can enter the ‘SPECTRASPHERE’. Little did you know that this mysterious force is the evil ‘Master Cylinder’.“

 

PROTOBOB
Judging from the artwork, this looked to be a variant on Surround. Catalog description: “Strategy is the name of the game! Challenge your opponent or the computer to fill the screen with PROTOBOBS. Capture the majority of the battlefield to win. Endless possibilities and combinations of play are sure to make this game a classic!”

 

 

ROMPER ROOM SERIES
A series of early learning educational programs. Titles were DoBee’s First Alphabet, Romper Room’s Countdown to Fun, and The Street Where You Live. Catalog description: “Spectravideo is pleased to announce the official Romper Room series of early learning educational programs. Join ‘DoBee’ and his friends in teaching pre-schoolers about numbers, the alphabet and much more. Our experts use the latest in proven educational methods to educate and entertain children. These series of programs will add new value to your computer system.”

 

SECTOR ALPHA
Featured “Spectra-Sound” (speech) – first in a series of planned games. Catalog description: “At the core of army defense command lies ‘Sector Alpha’. Equipped with the latest computerized defense console, your mission is to repel the invading enemy. The attack force is both by air and armoured land assault. Only Sector Alpha remains to save the battle!”

 

 

TIME SCAPE
Catalog description: “The following message has been sent to SPECTRA COMMAND: ATTENTION ALL INHABITANTS OF SPECTA ‘We are the Shieppers from the planet Yutz. Our planet can no longer sustain our life form, so we have chose the planet SPECTRA as our new home. We have placed two metanomic bombs somewhere in the future or past of your planet. If you surrender immediately, your lives will be spared and you will become our slaves. If you do not respond in 24 hours – you’ll be destroyed!’ As a member of the Legion of the Chosen, you are the only one capable of using the time penetrator to save Spectra!”

 

VERTINKO
Variation on Pachinko. Catalog description: “The famous oriental game of ‘Pachinko’ comes to VCS with an interesting twist! Catch the pellets as they randomly fall from the grid. Only true skill can meet the challenge of the fast paced game.”

 

 

VORTEX
Shown at the 1983 Winter CES, along with versions for the Atari computers, Vic 20 and TI 99/4A, and described in the April 1983 issue of Creative Computing magazine as requiring typical red/blue 3-D ‘movie’ glasses (
LINK). Gameplay involved “navigating your ship through a meteor shower while defending yourself from alien attack ships” (pretty much verbatim from the catalog description). According to a press release, there was a pending patent for this game. The artwork bears the signature “M. Fong”. Catalog description: “Introducing the world’s first real 3-D video game for the home! Put on your special ‘Spectra-Vision’ 3-D Glasses and get ready for the most unusual game experience ever! Maneuver your spectra shuttle through the meteor showers and repel the Hostile Invaders in this action packed thriller. Once again, Spectravideo adds a new dimension in computer game software!”

 

 

STARPATH

 

DRAGONSTOMPER
The original name for this was Excalibur. Picture #1 shows the artwork for it. Picture #2 was the early artwork for DragonStomper (note that the title is two words). Picture #3 is the released artwork.

      

 

SUPERCHARGER
A prototype version (picture #1) exists, which is different from the released version (picture #2). This is an add-on device that improves the Atari VCS memory, graphics, and sound capability. The unit itself contains 6K RAM and 2K ROM. ROM is in top 2K and RAM is banked in lower 2K. Games were distributed on cassette tape. By plugging the Supercharger into the VCS and connecting its cable (with a standard 1/8" jack on the end) to a standard cassette tape player, games could be "loaded in" to memory. The Supercharger unit contains 2K of ROM, but more importantly it adds an additional 6K of screen RAM to the VCS (a huge improvement over the hardware's 128 bytes). Phaser Patrol was also included. The unit initially retailed for $70, but in January 1983 the price was reduced to $45.

 

 

SWEAT: THE DECATHLON GAME
An early marketing photo (picture #1) ended up being a picture of a later prototype version (picture #3); an earlier version has a smaller athlete (picture #4). The 2nd photo (picture #2) was on the Stella Gets A New Brain CD but it’s unknown where it originally came from. For more information go HERE.

   

 

TECHNOVISION

 

LOCOMOTIVE
Similar to BurgerTime.  The picture is from a brochure. Leonard Herman claims this was shown at the 1983 Summer CES show.  Description: "You're a prisoner in a Sorcerer's train factory. The only way out is to build your own train. Put all the right parts together in the right order. But watch out! Even the tools try to stop you. They come to life and attack. Hammers, wrenches, and nails fly at you from every angle and you have only an oil can to give them the slip. In LOCOMOTIVE!"  VTech released a version for their CreatiVision system.

 

TIGERVISION

 

CHANGES
Port of an obscure arcade game by Orca Corp.  A description of the game from both Tigervision's 1983 CES flyer (picture #1) and brochure (picture #2) reads: "Guide the caterpillar through the maze in the forest eating all the power pills but beware the maze is infested with monster insects.  This is a maze game like none you've ever played before; multiple mazes, multiple and changing paths, horizontally scrolling mazes and surprises you'll find only by playing."  The screenshot shown was either for the C-64 or IBM versions (or possibly the TI-99/4a, which isn't listed).

 

 

INTUITION
Not a game but a means of exercising the left side of the brain - the part which researchers tell us we barely use. This was planned for release in March 1983. The cartridge was to use scientifically-created, semi-abstract designs to stimulate reactions in the user and break down the innate resistance we have to using that part of the brain. Tigervision president Randy Rissman claimed, "This is like no cartridge on the market", which was rather prescient on his part since it was never released. A description of the game in Tigervision's 1983 catalog reads: "Develop your creativity! This fun game uses forms and color to help enhance your intuitive reaction and creative thinking. Age range 3 years old to adult."

 

SCRAPER CAPER
It was advertised for several systems including Atari 2600, 5200, and Colecovision, but after showing an early demo at a CES, Bill Hogue abandoned it in favor of doing Bounty Bob Strikes Back.  A description of the game from Tigervision's 1983 CES flyer (picture #1) reads: "The adventurous Bounty Bob's travel has taken him to the Big City. He immediately is selected to be a member of the Big City Fire Department. The first major fire he fights is in a skyscraper owned by the notorious Yukon Yohan. Knowing the trickery of the treacherous Yukon Yohan, Bounty Bob must muster all of his skills to rescue the people trapped in the burning skyscraper. Will Bob survive the multiple disasters he faces? You hold the key to his survival in your hands." From programmer Bill Hogue: "After Miner 2049er I worked with Curtis Mikolyski while we attempted to create an even better game than Miner 2049er. It was pretty hard trying to top ourselves. The licensees of Miner were crying out for another game. We came up with a vertical scrolling game we called Scraper Caper. We did a fair amount of work on it. It had Bounty Bob leaving the mine and moving to the big city as a fireman. He'd also lost a little weight! The game started outside a tall building on fire. A hysterical woman would flag down Bob and give him instructions for going up to her apartment to save something valuable. Bob would salute and then he'd be under your control. You'd go in the automatic door at the base of the building and start exploring. We even had the artwork done for the game before it was finished (picture #2); Scott Ross created this artwork for ads teasing the public with Bounty Bob's new occupation (picture #3) - that's the evil Yukon Yohan lurking in the shadows.  Notice the donkey with a teardrop in the background! We never finished Scraper Caper because the game just seemed to go nowhere. Looking back I realize that we were setting our standards too high. We should have released the game as it was."

 

SKY LANCER
Port of an obscure arcade game by Orca Corp.  A description of the game in Tigervision's 1983 CES flyer (see picture) reads: "Abandoned in space with only your lancer laser gun to defend yourself against wave after wave of attacking Galaxy enemy space ships. Be quick with your fire power - look left! Look right! Because they're coming from everywhere!! Your survival depends totally on your own skill."

 

SUPER CRUSH
Port of an obscure arcade game by Orca Corp. A description of the game in Tigervision's 1983 CES flyer (see picture) reads: "Wow! Demolition race car excitement and you're a driver in the middle of the action. Crash! Bang! Watch out! - Maneuver your car and try to bump the other cars in the rear. Oil spills, abandoned cars, flying tires and other obstacles heighten the action. Drive crazy, or you will be a victim of Super Crush."

 

U.S. GAMES

 

EGGOMANIA
This picture is from literature from the 1982 CES show, and was when the game was referred to by its original name, Weird Bird.

 

TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER
Although it shares the same title as the 1982 movie, it's based on the original 1963 movie (as well as the 1975 sequel), which involved the Pink Panther diamond from the fictional country of Lugash being stolen and Chief Inspector Clouseau being assigned to the case to recover it. The game was originally programmed by James Wickstead Design Associates for U.S. Games and early working titles were "Pink Panther" (in their internal literature) and "Trail of the Pink Panther" (as mentioned in magazines).  First mentioned in the January 30th, 1983 (V1N13) issue of the Arcade Express newsletter: "U.S. Games Licenses The Pink Panther - U.S. Games has signed an agreement to develop expanded memory games using the Pink Panther and his arch-rival, Inspector Clouseau. Trail of the Pink Panther will be introduced later this Spring. If Peter Sellers could only see this; wherever his is, he must be smiling!".  The May 1983 issue of Video Games magazine (pg. 30) states this was the company's first licensed effort (what about Towering Inferno?) and their first 8K game, which used a software technique called "overlays" for expanded game play and better graphic resolution.  This was the new "RAM/ROM" chip being developed by JWDA which added 8K of ROM and 2K of RAM.  The game was planned for release in time to capitalize on the release of the next Pink Panther film, "Curse of the Pink Panther".  Later mentioned in the June 1983 issue of Electronic Games (pg. 14): "Pink Panther To Play - U.S. Games has just inked an agreement to create expanded memory games, featuring the delightful Pink Panther and his ever-present arch enemy, Inspector Clouseau. Trail of the Pink Panther is ready to hit the shelves any moment now - that is, if nobody bungles things up. Kato, that means you!".  Unfortunately, the movie wasn't the only thing that was cursed; in March 1983, the company filed for bankruptcy, and the company ceased operations the following month.  The game was later sold to NAP and eventually renamed Pursuit of the Pink Panther.

 

UNITRONICS

 

EXPANDER SYSTEM
Shown at the 1983 Winter CES.  An unreleased add-on peripheral similar to the Supercharger, except that it includes a built-in tape deck, and the entire unit plugged into the 2600's cartridge slot. Games specifically developed for the Expander were to take advantage of the additional memory (16K) to produce better graphics and enhanced game play, and were to be sold in cassette format and retail for under $15.  High scores could be saved via a feature called Gamescore.  The system had a cartridge slot on the top for use either with standard VCS carts or an optional 16K memory expansion. Other options included special Gamealbum cassettes which contained four 4K games. 

The Expander II  had all the features of the Expander I and included its own 8K BASIC cassette program, Expander BASIC (though one press release stated it was built-in to the keyboard...), but allowed for optional devices to be connected (Expander Keyboard, Expander Printer, and Expander Modem).  In addition, they had plans for optional equipment like a Speech Program, which turned the system into a Speech Text Synthesizer, along with a Home Improvement program, plus VideoComp Command joysticks.  Note that the literature mentions a 64-key keyboard, but a 55-key keyboard is shown.

Several of Unitronics' cassette games were to be developed in a joint venture with ET Marketing, which was a coin-op manufacturer in Arizona.  Some of the tentative titles were:

Dazzler
Desert Race
educational programs
Expander BASIC
Home Improvement
Kaleidosketch
Leprechaun
Pirate's Treasure
"Space Invaders clone"
Speech Program
Those Little Buggers (AKA Buggers)
Treasure Hunt
Tugboat
Uni-Calc

  

 

SPACE ASSAULT
The screenshot shown in a brochure for the Expander System (picture #1) is actually the Radio Shack Color Computer game Space Assault (picture #2).  The game was licensed to Tandy by Image Producers Inc. in 1981.  Perhaps Unitronics was going to license the game for the Expander.  If the game shown in the brochure is actually running on the Expander, that would mean the Expander used the same graphics chip as the CoCO - the MC6847 VDG chip.
 

 

 

VENTUREVISION

 

INNERSPACE
This game was to become the 1st sequel to Rescue Terra I. It was later sold to Imagic, and renamed Laser Gates.  A description of the game from the company's 1983 CES press release reads: "You have reached Terra I and must now fight your way to a centralized computer system located at the planet's core. The objective of the game is to destroy the computer system and return control of the planet to the colonists. Your task will involve a great deal of skill and an element of luck." A prototype was found by John Hardie in 2010 that shows the VentureVision logo onscreen, where Imagic's copyright is.

 

 

SOLAR DEFENSE
This was the 2nd sequel to Rescue Terra I. The first screenshot below was shown in the April '83 issue of Videogaming Illustrated magazine; the second appeared in the May/June 1983 issue of Tilt magazine. A description of the game from the company's 1983 CES press release reads: "You have traveled to Terra I and destroyed the computer system thus returning planetary control to the colonists. Terra I is now shipping Zenbar crystals to Earth's solar reactors for energy conservation. Solar Defense is a 4K game depicting action on one of Earth's orbiting solar reactors. The station is under heavy alien attack and you have all you can do to defend it. Help is on the way if you can hold on long enough."

 

WIZARD VIDEO GAMES

 

FLESH GORDON
Based on the 1974 softcore porn movie of the same name, and advertised in the December 1982 issue of Electronic Games as "Coming for Christmas '82". According to the programmer, "The game was pretty much finished, except for a few final touches. It was a horrible game with a lot of sex and the payoff was the ability to hump using the joystick". He sent a review copy to Wizard Video, who first refused to pay for it and then tried to publish the game using the prototype! Description: "Become FLESH GORDON, the immoral doer of good, in the first ever adult participatory game, as you travel the underground labyrinths of the planet Porno. It will take power and cunning to survive the perverse traps of his protruberance, Wang. Do so and win the favors of the lovely Dale Ardor... grab your joysticks and play the hottest game on earth!... FLESH GORDON."

 

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
A prototype version exists (picture #1) that is completely different from the released version (picture #2). It's not so much a prototype but rather the original version of the game that was intended for release. It's easy to see why it wasn't, as there's nothing horrifying about 2 stick figures running around in Pengo's Technicolor Dreamcoat. If you've ever wondered why the box artwork on the released version shows someone shooting Leatherface (when the game's victims aren't armed), a prototype box was found with the same artwork (picture #3), so the artwork was definitely intended for the original version.
The box is also copyright dated 1982. The only known copy of the game was found in an L.A. thrift store by Paul Nurminen, who later sold it on Ebay. The game is in a Spectravision case with a homemade label crediting Vortex (the production company behind the movie).

 

 

XONOX

 

HERCULES VS. THE TITANS
An 8K game planned as a double-ender with Chuck Norris Superkicks that was later dropped for Artillery Duel.  Flyer description (picture #1): "You are mighty Hercules.  Olympus is under siege by Titans and your gods are powerless to stop them without your help.  First, though, you must fortify yourself with the Herb of Invulnerability.  It grows in one of ten dark caves flashing briefly as it blooms.  But the caves also hide hungry lions.  Will you risk a fatal mauling or wait for the lions to betray their presence?  As you ponder, another god dies at the hands of the Titans...  In screen two, you're climbing the golden stairway to Olympus.  Watch out for speeding fireballs, tumbling boulders, and rain-slicked footing!  Your club, brute strength, and jumping prowess are your only defenses.  Finally, you reach the Olympian battlefield.  Your gods continue to die in a holocaust of fire and brimstones.  The survivors help by stunning Titans briefly with thunderbolts, but only you can kill them.  The entire course of mythology is at stake."  The photo from the November 1983 issue of
Electronic Games article (pg. 70) is upside-down.

 

 

ZIMAG

 

CAT-NAP
The catalog screenshot (picture #1) is accurate to the Atari 400/800 version that was released (pictures #2 and #3). Catalog description: “Oh no! Not again! Can you believe those cats are making all that racket? And just outside your window! If you are ever to get back to bed you have to take steps – now. But don’t wake the dog – he makes more noise than the cats. Watch out for the police if it gets too noisy. A game of skill and chance that will leave you howling for more – after, of course, a good nights sleep.”

 

 

COLLISION COURSE
The catalog screenshot (picture #1) is accurate to the Atari 400/800 version that was released (pictures #2 and #3). Catalog description: “It’s you against dangerous mine fields and killer satellites. Your mission – to protect cargo ships loaded with precious gems as you escort them back home from a five year mining trip on the moons of Zeta III. Things will be a lot easier when – if – you get through this perilous section of the galaxy. You’ll also have to contend with mysterious time beacons along the way. Can you believe your eyes as time itself seems to speed up and slow down?”

 

 

KERPLOP
Catalog description: “You wouldn’t want to drop water balloons on poor, unsuspecting citizens, would you? You would? Then climb aboard Kerplop’s mischievous hot air balloon, float high above the city and let ‘em fly. Kerplop! Sorry, mister. Kerplop! Pardon me, lady. Isn’t this fun? Funny, that cop you just hit doesn’t seem to think so.”

 

 

NINEBALL
The catalog screenshot (picture #2) is accurate to the Atari 400/800 version that was released (pictures #2 and #3).  Catalog description: “There’s pinball. There’s pool. And now there’s Nineball by ZIMAG. Challenge yourself to a uniquely demanding game that combines the accurate geometrics of pool with the random surprises of pinball. It’s enough to drive you batty. Unless, of course, you get the Nineball.”

   

 

PIZZA CHEF
Aside from a catalog mock-up screen (picture #1), a pirate copy surfaced under the CCE company name (picture #2). Catalog description: “Mama mia! It’s dinner time at Mama Zabazoni’s and the pizza chef just stomped off without so much as a ‘ciao’. Uh-oh. There’re a lot of hungry customers out there waiting to chow down. And they’ve only got so much time. Why not help Mama out and make a little dough? Here come the orders – tomato, cheese and onion. That’s easy enough. Ham-onion-olive. The pace is picking up. Mushroomonioncheesehamolive – whoa! How are you going to keep your combinations from getting all mixed up?”

 

 

QUEST FOR INCA GOLD
Catalog description: “You can’t say they didn’t warn you. But the fabled golden Inca Sun God is worth the risk. Or is it? After a couple of close calls with booby traps, earthquakes and horrible beasties, you’re not so sure. But you’ve already lost your map and your guide and, quite possibly, your sanity. So on you go. That’s when you notice it – there doesn’t seem to be any way out.”

 

 

RIVER RAT
The catalog screenshot (picture #2) is accurate to the Atari 400/800 version that was released (pictures #2 and #3).  Catalog description: “Race your speedboat (unlimited class, of course) up the river – but be sure to watch out for the rafts, ducks, swimmers and other wildlife. Open up the throttle as wide as you dare. And don’t forget the ramps and the feeling of exhilaration that comes from soaring above the river and the spray in your face as you touch down. It’s you against the stopwatch in this non-stop action water adventure. Pardon my wake.”

   

 

SPACE MINES
No description of the game has been found, but the box artwork is some of the coolest ever done.


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