Christmas is almost over. I gained about 20 pounds and a few more bucks to spend on video games. But more importantly, I’ve played every Commodore PET games over the last week.
After I started playing a few games, I quickly realized that talking about them individually wouldn’t make much sense.
Because there is nothing noteworthy about these games. The PET came out in 1977 and was primarily aimed at businesses and schools.
This thing was affordable, but weak.
Weaker than the TRS-80. And the keyboard was an absolute joke. I mean, look at this sh*t:
The system in whole looks fantastic tho. Like something that came from the future if in the future everything looks like it came from the 80s. Know what I mean? No? Doesn’t matter. A working PET will cost you upwards of 500$.
You know what kids do in school when they get bored?
They make funny pictures with their calculators. Kids in the 70s were a bit more creative, so when they sat in front of a PET and got bored they wrote games.
So yes, the PET has a few game and no, they are not worth your time. So here are then of them that are at least worth a look.
You are presented two cards and bet if the next card is between or outside of these two cards. You can find this type of game on every system and while not exactly thrilling, it pretty much works all the time. This is no exception.
This was made in japan, because somehow, the PET was succesful in asia. You control a character on the ground who has to fly a balloon into a UFO. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean AFO. It’s horrible. You move like a snail, you have to hit exactly the middle part of the AFO and the AFO itself shoots at you rapidly. I just included this games because it’s weird as hell and you get to see some cool japanese characters after loosing. Aesthetic as f*ck!
Arguably the best game on the PET. Everybody knows the game nim. Let’s say there are twenty androids onscreen. You start by erasing ten of them. Your opponent erases five, you erase three and he erases one. He´wins because there is only one left. Remember? I didn’t either and lost every round. This Nim fellow is pretty smart. the game looks great, there is sound and some of his quirks are rather funny. Give it a go.
Another impressive game graphicswise.Your opponents are Kirk, Edna and Fred and they all have a card glued to their head. You do too and now have to bet if your card (which you cannot see) is higher or lower. A nice idea for a game, but you’re probably better off playing this game with your friends while being drunk out of your mind.
It’s breakout without multipliers or power-ups, but at least it runs smooth and is not broken. Yes, this is a big deal.
Dog Star Adventure
The same worthwhile text adventure about saving princess Leia and beating the evil empire, but this time you get a very cool ASCII Darth Vader on the title screen. Would make a great avatar.
Put some money on your favorite horse and watch as it loses every round. Way more enjoyable with some friends and noteworthy for the animation of the race. There is even a slow-motion part towards the end. Technology!
An impressive first person maze. You are a mouse and you have to find cheese. Navigating is rather easy and you get a cool map after finishing the game that show you´r every move. Neat.
I haven’t played a bad version of Space Invaders and this wont change now. Big beautiful sprites, smooth controls and very fast shooting. If you have to play one PET game, make it this one.
A simple Pac-Man clone. Big map, fast character, slow enemies. Easy, but fun for a few minutes.
How to emulate:
Use Vice. This bad boy emulates every incarnation of the PET and works like a charm. Use the 4032 model for best results.
Like always, check MobyGames for a quick overview. Check out Commdore Computer’s webpage for more in-depth history. The same applies to LGR’s video review.
Here is a playlist of kmoser’s gameplay videos and here is the website of Revival Studios, a developer who released some PET games in 2013. And they looks great.
As you can see, the PET still has some devoted fans and while I was not enjoying its game, I would love to have one in my collection. It’s such a good-looking system.
Again, sorry for spending so little time on the PET, but writing blog post after blog post on games that last two minutes didn’t feel worth the effort.
Dont worry, coming up is the Atari 2600 and my body is so ready!