Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Retrogaming: Hard Hat Mack

In sixth grade, I got to be the unofficial teacher's assistant in my computer class.

Partly because I'm just that cool, but mostly because I took the same computer class during summer school.

We had Apple IIes in our class, all with those crappy monochrome screens that were shades of amber or green. I only make note of that because they were impossible for me to see half the time, depending on the light. We did have one or two with full-color monitors, but we generally didn't use those.

If you needed an 80-page-long banner printed with a festive font, I was your guy.
So while I was the mad pimp Print Shop designer of the class, I never had much fun playing games in class (with the exception of Oregon Trail, despite the fact that my damn oxen and wagon floated away EVERY SINGLE TIME I tried to ford a river).

Until I showed up one day after school when two kids were using the color monitor to play a game, that to me, looked a lot like Donkey Kong, except different.

The kid playing lost his last man in the game, and it went back to the title screen.

Even as an adult, when I hear 'OSHA,' I think of this game first.
Hard Hat Mack, published by some company called Electronic Arts.

It looked like a fun little game. You were a construction worker who had to achieve various goals -- welding, jumping, collecting lunch boxes -- while avoiding bad guys.

After taking a turn playing it -- and sucking mightily -- I was hooked. I had to beat this game.

Shortly after that, we got it for our computer at home, the Commodore 64. Well, technically, it was the 128, but we almost always ran it in 64 mode.

I was so excited to beat the third level, until I found out that the game just started over at the first level, but faster. But by then, I'd conned my parents into buying a good handful of games in addition to Hard Hat Mack, among them, Skyfox, Space Taxi, and Impossible Mission.

Below is some sample gameplay. Dig the sound effects and music. I can still hear it all even with the speakers turned off.

1 comment:

  1. You know I love me some C64. Load "$",8,1 my friend.

    AHHHHHH! Impossible Mission & Space Taxi were *CLUTCH!* Remember on IM the foreign little saying and then "STAY NOW, STAY FOREVER!"?

    Our fave thing to do on Space Taxi was to keep hovering over a potential customer so he kept going "hey! hey! hey! hey!"

    Please tell me you played Maniac Mansion & the sequels (Zak McKracken)! Best games ever. I play Maniac Mansion still, with a C64 emulator.

    Some other notables were: Skool Daze, Law of the West, Dino Eggs, Archon, Lazy Jones, Beachhead II (medic!), Winter Olympics, 10th Frame, Quest for Tires, and the very saucy Strip Pokers.