Jumpman, Atari 8-bit

Randy Glover‘s classic platform game, Jumpman, was originally developed for the Atari 8-bit family of home computers and first published by Epyx in 1983.

The original game features 30 different levels (ten each on Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced skill settings), with the aim being to run and jump your way through the maze of platforms, ropes, and ladders, and to defuse all the bombs by touching them.

Jumpman can grab onto ropes and ladders in mid-air, although ropes will only allow you to climb them in one direction – either up or down. If Jumpman falls too far he loses a life, but sometimes he will touch a bomb as he falls which can save you the trouble of having to return to it when the level re-starts.

Each level has a descriptive name and when one is completed a new one (decided randomly) scrolls down from the top of the screen, into play. Some levels have unique hazards, or even unique mechanics. In the level “Invasion“, for example, Jumpman can shoot flying saucers, but he can’t jump. In “Vampire“, bats follow you around the screen and will kill you instantly if they touch you.

Other hazards include ‘smart darts’ – small bullets that move slowly across the screen, which will then speed up and move in the direction of Jumpman when they sense him – and various traps that are usually triggered by touching a certain bomb. Some of the traps can be extremely devious, removing parts of the floor, or ladders, or warping Jumpman to another part of the screen, often making him fall to his death.

Points are awarded for defusing a bomb, and bonus points are awarded depending on how quick you complete a level. Jumpman can be played at eight different speeds, and the faster you play the more bonus points you can earn.

Jumpman was a critical and commercial hit upon release and is a very playable game – if a little frustrating due to the nature of some of the traps. The game was released on disk, and a cartridge version was also released the same year – under the name of Jumpman Junior – featuring 12 completely new levels.

More: Jumpman on Wikipedia

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