Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Montezuma's Revenge", 1984.

My apologies, folks. Life gets busy and attention gets diverted away from the paper mines of 1984. But always upon my return, there's practically more of these awaiting my exposition than there were when I left! So, more game ads -- for a change, from a comic book, as this blog always intended!
"I had to think quick -- remember where I seen that key or I'd be hotfootin' it over a fire pit. That's when the headbone come flyin' at me.
This wasn't gonna be no day at the beach."

Montezuma's Revenge
FEATURING PANAMA JOE

If you've got a mind like Einstein and reflexes to match, then Montezuma's Revenge(tm) is the game for you. It's a revolutionary game that challenges you to think smart and react fast. Join Panama Joe(tm)'s search for buried treasure. Figure a way to get him over the fire pits. Behind the locked doors. Through a hundred* rooms crawlin' with critters. Get Montezuma's Revenge and get ready for action and adventure like you've never had before! Available in disc for Apple II(r), Atari(r) Computers, Commodore 64(tm), and IBM(r) in cartridge for Atari 2600(tm), Atari 5200(tm), and ColecoVision(tm).

*24 rooms in Atari 2600.

So the ad is a bit goofy, but the art is attention-grabbing (Michael Caine with a goofy moustache, tongue caught in a stunned gape, while the box cover art suggests a more lithe and virile anthropolo-looter, but always sharing the skull motif) and the text, well, inoffensive. (Is that his arm? What is the joystick resting on? What console system's distinctive variety of joystick is it, anyhow? And why is Michael Caine playing it in a cave with flying skulls competing for his attention?) This seems to be an early platformer somewhere between Pitfall and Super Mario, generally well-regarded and even spawning a couple of sequels far enough down the line to have lost all benefit from association with the earlier game. (New, for your Windows machine: the hit follow-up to the ColecoVision smash everyone's still talking about!)

"A mind like Einstein and reflexes to match"? Just what were Einstein's reflexes like? This apparently refers to puzzle-like aspects to the gameplay, presumably the collection and use of keys to unlock different chambers of a vast underground pyramid complex.*

* Less vast on Atari 2600.

Revolutionary? No, Latin America is the right general setting, but you've still got the particulars mixed up.

Is challenging players to react fast really so novel in 1984? "Know what the problem is here in this arcade? Not enough twitch." Suuure.I like how the "hero" Panama Joe is apparently named after his style of hat, though like Alabama Smith of Paganitzu and Nevada Smith of Pharaoh's Tomb apparently a derivation of Indiana Jones -- himself apparently derived from the ur-Nevada Smith, a 1966 Steve McQueen western.

As a bonus, in this ad's small print you get to see just what kind of trademark and copyright protection all the consoles of the time applied to their brands. Funny how they clearly delineate which systems the game is sold for in disc form, and which ones have cartridges. Largely I think they could figure that out for themselves, if it mattered.