The Game: You’re a thief trying to make away with all the loot buried in a complex maze of interconnected mines and shafts, and you’d get away with it if it weren’t for some pesky cops who are hot on your trail. You can drop bags of money on them from a level above, or temporarily brain them with a pick, and they’ll occasionally also bumble into open mine shafts of their own accord. In any of these events, they vanish for a little while to recover before reappearing. But any of these things will do you in too! (Stern/Seeburg [under license from Valadon Automation], 1982)
Memories: Bagman was a very addictive and fun variation on the ladder-climing format that had become familiar in the space of just one year. Despite putting the player in the role of a crook, the worst behavior this game could possibly encourage would be slapstick, Keystone Kops-type violence (wouldn’t it be great if there were a bunch of comically clumsy cops, and wouldn’t it be great if they brought beer – really good beer?). It’s a very cute and playable game.
For some reason I can’t fathom, I don’t recall Bagman ever being translated to home video game or computer form prior to the advent of MAME. Which is a genuine loss, since the game was very fun, and was not so graphically complex that an Atari 2600 or ColecoVision edition would have been impossible.
A sequel game, Super Bagman, was introduced later, though it introduced some elements the game didn’t need – namely, the ability to pick up a gun and shoot at Bagman’s pursuers. But we’ll cover Super Bagman at a later time.