[Coco] The Resurrection of Bomb Threat, the game
rick at rickadams.org
Thu Oct 19 20:29:18 EDT 2017
After my early success selling Temple of ROM to Tandy, I made a second
attempt at developing an original game for them, which I called Bomb
Threat. But after a few nibbles, Tandy decided they weren't
interested. I tried to market it to various other companies, to no
avail. But it was a treasured part of my kids' childhood to play what
they called "The Tractor Game."
They called it that because the game involved moving a tractor around a
warehouse full of merchandise in which some demented madman had
scattered numerous bombs (terrorism hadn't been invented yet, so there
was no need to explore that angle). The goal was to move the crates of
merchandise away from bombs, or vice-versa if you felt particularly
brave. If there were any crates remaining after the last bomb went off,
and you hadn't managed to get your own fool self blown up, you won
points for every remaining crate.
I kept the floppies containing the source in a bookshelf in my
basement... they languished down there for 30 years... until one day I
went looking for them and couldn't find them. Every once in a while I
would go down there and search once more, but eventually gave up... I
imagine they got packed away somewhere (imagine the warehouse in which
the Ark of the Covenant was stored) or perhaps were mistakenly thrown
out, and after numerous attempts to excavate them, I concluded that they
were one with the snows of yesteryear.
33 years later, various friends got me interested in Color Computer
development again via various emulators on my Windows laptop and, later,
on a Raspberry Pi running Ron Klein's CocoPI distribution. Intrigued, I
made one more epic quest to find the floppies for Bomb Threat, only to
give up in defeat. Bomb Threat was no more.
Or was it? One day my two sons came home all aflutter and ran down to
the basement and started rummaging in our old VCR tapes. They had been
reminiscing about "The Tractor Game" and one of them had remembered we
had a gameplay video of the game from 30 years previous.
And they found it! I carefully analyzed the video, taking screenshots
and zooming in for careful analysis, to figure out all the sprites for
the game. I started coding, and three weeks later, I had a very
rudimentary demo of the game to show off at CocoFEST!
My oldest son Joel, a graphic designer by trade, surprised me one day
with stunning complete packaging artwork for a cartridge and a CD of the
game, carefully researched to mimic the Tandy look and trade dress of
their products of the period.
Recently I finished the game, and at the recent Tandy Assembly
convention, a demo of Bomb Threat was running at my table and a limited
run of Bomb Threat cartridges was sold. Since then I've been working on
a CD version with three versions of the game (with artifact colors,
without artifact colors, and a version for Dragon computers), and
gameplay videos, including the original 33 year old gameplay video that
my kids found.
Finally, the CD version was completed and is available for online sales
It is the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, as I begin
contemplating what my next project will be.
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