The Game: You are Charley – but you don’t have the Golden Ticket. Instead, what you have is a playfield littered with immobilizing potholes, lots of food, and four feisty chefs (is there a different word for the plural of “chef”?). Charley Chuck can pick up handfuls of food and fling them at any one of his opponents, but keep in mind that they can do the same. Charley’s ultimate goal? Reach the yummy ice cream cone at the opposite end of the screen without falling victim to any of the above. To do any less causes every piece of food on the screen to hurl itself at Charley. (Atari, 1983)
Memories: This bizarre little game is the first original arcade effort from a small game design firm called General Computer, which was actually responsible for Ms. Pac-Man, which started out as an unauthorized modification kit. Caught in the act, General Computer’s founders offered the game to Namco, and it went on to become the best-earning arcade game of its day. A similar “enhancement” devised for Atari’s Missile Command, however, got them in hot water.
Flush with money at the time, Atari offered General Computer a contract that would give Atari the first right of refusal on any new, original games the company created. Atari wasn’t actually expecting anything to come of this arrangement – they were basically putting free money on the table to entice the upstarts to go away. But as it turned out, General Computer also developed the excellent home version of Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari VCS, and also programmed many other 2600 titles for Atari. Food Fight was the first original arcade game General Computer turned out for Atari, and it’s a cult favorite for quite a few gamers.
Food Fight made it home to the Atari 7800 – a console which, coincidentally, was developed for Atari by General Computer. They also designed the cartridge version of the game for Atari too.