Rabbit Transit

Rabbit TransitThe Game: Oh, it’s just a harmless little bunny, isn’t it? But this bunny needs some help to navigate a garden crawling with other critters to reach his ride to find his family (in this case, on the back of a See the videoturtle). The turtle takes the bunny to a series of platforms. The bunny needs to change the color of every platform – and avoid projectiles being dropped from above – to rescue his fellow bunnies. Once the platform level has been beaten and more bunnies have been led home, the garden level begins again with increased difficulty. (Starpath, 1983)

Memories: No one can deny that Starpath‘s games for the Supercharger add-on were often on a whole different level than the average third-party game (i.e. much of what wasn’t released by the clearly above-average Activision and Imagic). But it’s also hard to deny that Starpath, for some reason, chose to show those capabilities off with game concepts that were derivative.

Rabbit TransitRabbit Transit, a nice, colorful, fun game, is a good specimen of that phenomenon: the first level riffs on the basic gameplay of Frogger (with the diagonal movement of Q*Bert), and and the second level, obviously, riffs on the jump-on-the-blocks-and-change-the-colors gameplay of Q*Bert. Sure, Rabbit Transit recasts the game completely, but it’s all still awfully familiar.

Rabbit Transit also has a very strange distinction: at some point in 1983, an in-house programmer at Atari did a considerable amount of work on a prototype that basically crammed Starpath’s Rabbit Transit into a standard, Supercharger-less 2600 cartridge, with only minimal changes to the code. Whether or not this experiement was authorized / licensed by Starpath remains unknown, but the idea of 2 quarterssqueezing Supercharger capabilities into a standard cartridge (which, admittedly, may or may not have necessarily contained standard circuitry to accomodate “partitioned” Supercharger-style games) may be a signpost that, only a year after the peripheral was introduced, Atari was hard at work on making it obsolete.