Jawbreaker

JawbreakerThe Game: Ever had a sweet tooth? Now you are the sweet tooth – or teeth, as the case may be. You guide a set of clattering teeth around a mazelike screen of horizontal rows; an opening in each row travels down the wall separating it from the next row. Your job is to eat the tasty treats lining each row until you’ve cleared the screen. Naturally, it’s not just going to be that easy. There are nasty hard candies out to stop you, and they’ll silence those teeth of yours if they catch you – and that just bites. Periodically, a treat appears in the middle of the screen allowing you to turn the tables on them for a brief interval. (Tigervision, 1982)

Memories: When Atari’s licensed version of Pac-Man hit the store shelves in 1982, it gained an instant notoriety as those looking for the perfect home Pac experience muttered a collective “screw this” and went elsewhere in search of a better game. Tigervision, a subsidiary of Tiger Toys making its first tentative steps into the increasingly-crowded video game arena, gave them that game. Continue reading

King Kong

King KongThe Game: In a stick-figure firefighter’s greatest adventure, you have to help him reach the top of a perilous scaffolding to rescue a damsel in distress from the dastardly Kong Kong. (Tiger Electronic Toys, 1982)
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Memories: Just when you thought no one could make a worse Atari 2600 Donkey Kong than Coleco could, the electronics division of Tiger Toys comes along and demonstrates that yes, it could have easily been worse. In fact, that this game even made it to the stores after initially being rejected is just a small part of a much more convoluted legal saga. Continue reading

Threshold

ThresholdThe Game: A lone space pilot is faced with the impossible task of fending off an entire alien invasion force single-handedly. Colliding with either the aliens or their decidedly unfriendly fire costs the player a ship. Clearing the screen of aliens only reveals a further wave of extraterrestrial killing machines. (Tigervision, 1982)

Memories: Tiger Electronics‘ entry into the increasingly crowded Atari VCS arena had a bit of an insurance policy: Tiger had made a deal with Sierra (then known as On-Line Systems) to port some of the company’s home computer hits to the console market. Threshold had a unique place in Sierra history: its programmer, Warren Schwader, was the company’s first employee from “outside the family” (all of the company’s previous products had been programmed by its founders, the husband-and-wife team of Ken and Roberta Williams). Continue reading

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