Getaway! (video game)
Getaway! is a crime-themed, multidirectional-scrolling maze game for the Atari 8-bit family. It was designed by Mark Reid and published by the Atari Program Exchange (APX) in 1982. The game won the 1983 $25,000 Atari Star Award for best APX submission, but promotion of the game was affected by the video game crash of 1983. The Atari Program Exchange also sold 2 × 3 foot posters of the Getaway! city map.
|Publisher(s)||Atari Program Exchange|
|Designer(s)||Mark Reid |
Reid, a chemical engineer, wrote two games prior to Getaway!: an implementation of Klondike Solitaire simply titled Solitaire, and the vertically scrolling skiing game Downhill. Both were published through APX.
Getaway! takes place on multidirectional-scrolling map of a town, 35 screens in size, containing bridges, factories, neighborhoods, and an airport. The player leaves the hideout and drives around the city using up gasoline in the process. Pausing at a gas station refills the tank. Also in the maze are dollar signs (which give a little money when collected), armored vans (which give a lot of money and immediately alert the police), and three loot items. Completing a level requires collecting all three loot items, then the armored van, and then returning to the hideout. A level must be completed within one day/night cycle.
The more money being carried—displayed as "CASH" below the scrolling maze—the more aggressive the three different police vehicles are. If the player is caught, any cash is lost as well as one of the player's three cars. Cash is locked-in by dropping it off at the hideout, where it becomes part of the permanent stash (shown at the top of the screen) and causes the police to lose interest. This can be done at any time. As the game progresses, police begin setting up roadblocks and stop signs. Hitting a roadblock (a dark yellow “X”) puts a hole in the gas tank, causing it to drain quickly until stopping at a gas station. Running a stop sign (an octagon which blinks on and off) causes all of the cash being carried to be lost.
The value of the dollar signs goes up with each level, in addition to there being new loot items to collect. Each level has an associated rating, starting with "Hoodlum," then "Lowlife," with the seventh level being "The Boss."
Mark Reid was inspired by the scrolling map of Eastern Front (1941). He wrote an Atari BASIC program to let him draw the city. Getaway! originally contained music from police-themed TV shows, such as Dragnet, but it was removed before submitting the game to APX because Reid did not have permission to use it.
Along with the game, the Atari Program Exchange also sold 2 × 3 foot posters of the Getaway! city map illustrated by Jim M'Guinness. A section of the poster was used for the cover of the Fall 1983 APX catalog.
Most APX titles were only sold through its catalog, but Getaway had a wider release, being included in catalogs from retailers such as Sears. According to Reid, Atari had "big plans" for the game, then the video game crash of 1983 occurred. When the Atari Program Exchange folded, many games from APX were rereleased by Antic Software, but Reid declined because of the exclusive contract he had signed with Atari, Inc.
Getaway! won first place in the entertainment category of the quarterly APX awards. It beat three other nominees to win the $25,000 Atari Star award in 1983, following My First Alphabet (1981) and Typo Attack (1982). It was the final such award given before the Atari Program Exchange was shut down.
In a 1983 review for COMPUTE! magazine, Steven Levy wrote, "The first time I played Getaway! I was impressed by the detail of the graphics. In fact, I was so intrigued that I put off actually playing until I'd toured the town." He called the game a variation on the maze concept, but added "the difference is that, in Getaway! there is much more variety and detail to deal with." Kyle Peacock of ANALOG Computing pointed out the work that must have gone into constructing the city. He mentioned the armored car as his favorite feature and noted that as the sun sets, driving becomes more difficult.
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