The Game: You control a dog trapped in a maze. Find your way out of the maze without being snared by a dogcatcher, and work your way toward the PurinaTM ChuckwagonTM for some kibbles ‘n’ bits. Chasing the Chuckwagon is only part of the fun, though, for then you have to time things just right to help the dog eat. (Ralston Purina Corp., 1983)
Memories: Long considered a must-have in the game library of any hardcore Atari 2600 collector, Chase The Chuckwagon is hard to come by due to its unique distribution method: it could only be obtained with proofs of purchase from Purina dog food as a premium promotion, and was never sold outright through normal game distribution channels.
Think about that for a second: an Atari cartridge. As a premium promotion. For dog food. If this wasn’t proof that the market was being flooded with games released by companies that had no business being in the video game business, I don’t know what it’d take to convince you.
But the odd distribution method makes Chuckwagon a rarity, and so at great expense many a collector has tracked it down…only to find that it’s a smelly dog of a game. Not compelling enough to differentiate it from dozens of other maze-chase games on the 2600, Chuckwagon is an annoying bore of a game. I seldom advise people to steer clear of a classic cartridge in favor of emulation, but in this case, consider it said. Chase The Chuckwagon may be a gem for completists, but for those of us just trying to collect decent games to play, it’s just not worth the expense.