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Arkyology - New prototype discovered - Finished Game!


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#26 pwalters OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 8, 2015 6:04 PM

Links of interest to at least pwalters:

 

- An old post from someone claiming to have come up with Moppet Video

- Picture of employees putting together cabinets at Tuni Electro Systems in Vancouver, Washington

 

<sigh> The internet is a wonderful thing but it's tough to prove something like this I know.. but here's what I remember.

 

There was nobody named 'Steven' who worked on the Moppet games. I personally wrote Tugboat from scratch on the board we used  for the 'El Grande' video poker game. That board was limited in graphics and the result was not so good, so we brought in a hardware developer (Cash Olsen was his name) to design the plug-in board that went on top of the poker board to add additional graphics capabilities. We spent a number of very late nights on the board-bring-up and debug of the first prototype, I remember getting home a 1 or 2 in the morning. The other software developers were George Hefner and Rick Harris. I keep in touch with George from time to time but have lost track of Rick. The graphics designer was Barb Ultis. Andrew Teague was a hardware tech who helped out with some programming from time to time too. 

 

I wasn't part of any of the marketing or deal making. I had always assumed that 'Moppet Video' was an original name, but it was one that Marketing decided to use and that was that.. ;)

 

Mr. Tuni had a son who was about our age at the time and for a while he tried to work with us on designing game play. Wish I could remember his name. The main thing I remember about him was when I returned to work after my daughter was born in July 1982, came up to me and handed me a cigar!  I don't think his name was 'Steve' but since I don't remember it at the moment it's possible.

 

The games that we developed for the Moppet line were in this order: Tugboat, Desert Race, Noah's Ark, Berenstain Bears in Big Paws cave. There was one more that was about 75 to 80 percent done when I left the company in April 1984. The company made a deal to buy circuit boards + the software for the Leprechaun and Pirates Treasure games (maybe this 'Steve' did have something to do with those, I'm not sure honestly) -- these two were in production starting in mid/late 1983. In 1981, the games that they would have been making were the CVS (Century Electronics) boards that were brought to the USA and built/marketed by Tuni at the time.

 

That picture is really interesting, it looks to me exactly like the production facility we had in Tempe, AZ right down to the roof's wooden main support beam structure -- it was layered and varnished to a shine. Here's a link to the Tempe facility address: http://www.bizapedia...E-AZ-85281.htmlscroll down the page for the Tuni address, or search '1981'.

 

I recognize two of the the guys in that picture, they worked in the Tempe building. I wish I could remember their names, but they weren't in Vancouver. The larger guy at the far end of the row was 'Mark', the closest guy was a car nut and had a souped up 1960's Chevy II he drove to work, we talked about cars a bit.

 

My memory of Tuni was it was headquartered in Oregon... ( http://businessprofi...nc/or-151448-19 and  http://www.bizapedia...LLIP-CAPEN.html ) would seem to confirm that but it wouldn't rule out an office in Vancouver. Also in that business listing was "Phillip M Capen". I knew him as Mike Capen. He was the boss in Tempe. When Tuni dropped out and the company became Enter Tech, Ltd, Mike was the president. He was an intense guy, I liked him but tried staying out of his way.. I was only 20 when I started there and 22 when I left, and found Mike a little intimidating. Tom Opfer was the immediate engineering manager. He was the one who hired me into the company.

 

Anybody can claim anything on the internet, but this is what I lived.

 

<edited to make the links work properly..>


Edited by pwalters, Tue Sep 8, 2015 6:08 PM.


#27 pwalters OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 8, 2015 6:15 PM

 

It doesn't happen often, that you come across an unreleased game, that is finished.  It is 8K and the ROM space is pretty much full.

 

Yeah, we ended up having to edit out some of what we wanted to put into the game because we were running out of space... The cut scenes between days were shortened down to just Noah snoring.. we had bigger plans for it.



#28 CRV OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 8:52 AM



<sigh> My memory of Tuni was it was headquartered in Oregon... ( http://businessprofi...nc/or-151448-19 and  http://www.bizapedia...LLIP-CAPEN.html ) would seem to confirm that but it wouldn't rule out an office in Vancouver.

 

This blog post about Century Electronics/CVS (and a little about Tuni) mentions Tuni had a factory in Vancouver.


Edited by CRV, Wed Sep 9, 2015 8:52 AM.


#29 astrp3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 10:09 AM

A little more info about the Moppet Games and Tuni/Enter-Tech etc.

 

Leprechaun and Pirate's Treasure were actually designed by a separate group called Pacific Polytechnical Corp in Santa Cruz. The main programmer of the games was Todd A Blume (who also designed Beezer). Blume programmed in a language called FILTH (a variant of FORTH) developed by Shel Kaphan. Pacific Polytechnical Corp was founded by a group of friends from UC Santa Cruz, including Shel Kaphan (who later became Amazon's first employee and wrote its initial software). Others at PPC included Ken Clements (President), Frank Frazier, and David Dougherty. PPC also designed Kaos for Game Plan and later established a division called FrobCo that developed the Frob 26 and Frob 52 (Atari 2600/5200 development systems for the Apple II).

 

From what was reported in the trade press, E.T. Marketing of Temp manufactured games for Tuni Electo Services. E.T. had been founded by Tuni's marketing director Patrick Reed. The Moppet games were marketed by Enter-Tech Ltd of Tempe and Intrepid Marketing of Los Altos (I think E.T. marketed them as well).

 

Here is a brief section from my book on E.T. and Tuni:

 

"Beezer, Leprechaun, and Pirates Treasure were introduced at the 1982 AMOA show in November, along with Tugboat and Desert Race. By then, one of the companies involved in the venture, Tuni Electro Services, was already in trouble. In September 1982, E.T. Marketing announced that it had acquired all of Tuni's assets pending approval by the company’s creditors and board of directors. The creditors included the principals of Enter-Tech and in December, Enter-Tech entered into negotiations with Tuni to block the E.T. takeover (RePlay 3/83; Play Meter 3/15/84). But Tuni was not out of the woods yet. A month later Tuni was pushed into bankruptcy by Dracott Ltd of Switzerland and its assets were frozen. Dracott, the parent company of Enter-Tech, had invested $2 million in Tuni and did not want Enter-tech to have to assume its liabilities. In March, Enter-Tech acquired the company's assets and reorganized it¸ successfully bringing it out of Chapter 11 in December 1983 (RePlay 1/84; Play Meter 3/15/84). Under the Enter-Tech name, the company continued to produce Moppet games. Late in 1983, it struck a licensing deal with King Features Syndicate, which was best known for the many comic strips it distributed to newspapers worldwide. The deal resulted in two games base on King Features properties. The first was The Berenstain Bears in Big Paw's Cave. The game was based on the line of children’s book created by Stan and Jan Berenstain that had become a hot property after a series of NBC specials earlier in the year, including one called "Big Paw’s Cave." The game involved guiding a baby bear down a winding path through Big Paw’s Cave trying to retrieve stolen honey without waking the sleeping Big Paw. In early 1984, EnterTech licensed King Features’ most famous property – Popeye – for use in a seventh Moppet video. By then, however, the concept had all but died. Big Paw’s cave seems to have been produced only in small numbers[1] while Popeye does not appear to have been produced at all

 

[1] This is somewhat uncertain. The claim is based largely on collectors’ claims that only a single copy (at the Harborview Hospital in Seattle) is known to have existed. Trade magazines, however, announced the game’s release and included it in their catalogs and it was shown at the 1983 AMOA.

 

Keith Smith

allincolorforaquarter.BlogSpot.com



#30 astrp3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 10:35 AM

Oh, and some others who worked on Leprechaun were Bruce Kaphan (who did the sound) and Sam Harris. Shel Kaphan and Ken Clements may have worked on the game but I'm not sure (I think their initials may be on the high score table but companies sometimes put the initials of executives in there even if they didn't work on games).

 

Also, Moppet Video was a trademark of Tong Electronics of San Francisco, who actually licensed Leprechaun (actually, Leprechaun was the same game as Pot Of Gold for Game Plan and I think Tong may have initially licensed it to Game Plan).



#31 Mountain King OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 10:40 AM

Any chance of releasing the rom, or cartridge or at least a video?



#32 pwalters OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 11:43 AM

Oh, and some others who worked on Leprechaun were Bruce Kaphan (who did the sound) and Sam Harris. Shel Kaphan and Ken Clements may have worked on the game but I'm not sure (I think their initials may be on the high score table but companies sometimes put the initials of executives in there even if they didn't work on games).

 

Also, Moppet Video was a trademark of Tong Electronics of San Francisco, who actually licensed Leprechaun (actually, Leprechaun was the same game as Pot Of Gold for Game Plan and I think Tong may have initially licensed it to Game Plan).

 

Thanks for posting the detailed info Keith. It tracks with what I recall from my years there. The Moppet games Leprechaun and Pirates Treasure were not developed by us in Tempe. Beezer was a full-sized arcade game that was quite fun to play but also not developed by us.

 

In Tempe, Tom Opfer was my boss, he hired me and he managed the development team. There were three programmers, Me (Paul Walters), George Hefner, and Rick Harris. Barbara Ultis was our graphic designer. 

There's no mention though of the poker games -- amusement as well as Nevada gaming approved version that we made. It was originally licensed from a California company. Before I started there, Tuni was apparently making 'pirate' i.e. blatant copies and of the poker and selling them. There was a lawsuit (probably independently verifiable) where the settlement entailed Tuni paying the other company to license the software and board. The main reason I was hired was to do this re-write/re-branding of the licensed software. We flew out to San Diego and met with their engineers for a day then came back and went to work.

 

The last game I was working on at the end in '84 was the Popeye game. George and I were programming that one. Rick was doing the Berenstain bears game, with intermittent help from both George and I. Popeye was a 'side-scrolling' game where Popeye had to negotiate obstacles and such while trying to get to Bluto (who had taken Olive Oil in the first scene). Like I said it was 75 to 80 percent done when I left in April 1984, and then it was never finished.

 

<Apologies to all as to how far off topic I got with these posts>


Edited by pwalters, Wed Sep 9, 2015 11:47 AM.


#33 pwalters OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 11:44 AM

Any chance of releasing the rom, or cartridge or at least a video?

 

Maybe... we're talking... ;)



#34 astrp3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 12:34 PM

 

Thanks for posting the detailed info Keith. It tracks with what I recall from my years there. The Moppet games Leprechaun and Pirates Treasure were not developed by us in Tempe. Beezer was a full-sized arcade game that was quite fun to play but also not developed by us.

 

In Tempe, Tom Opfer was my boss, he hired me and he managed the development team. There were three programmers, Me (Paul Walters), George Hefner, and Rick Harris. Barbara Ultis was our graphic designer. 

There's no mention though of the poker games -- amusement as well as Nevada gaming approved version that we made. It was originally licensed from a California company. Before I started there, Tuni was apparently making 'pirate' i.e. blatant copies and of the poker and selling them. There was a lawsuit (probably independently verifiable) where the settlement entailed Tuni paying the other company to license the software and board. The main reason I was hired was to do this re-write/re-branding of the licensed software. We flew out to San Diego and met with their engineers for a day then came back and went to work.

 

The last game I was working on at the end in '84 was the Popeye game. George and I were programming that one. Rick was doing the Berenstain bears game, with intermittent help from both George and I. Popeye was a 'side-scrolling' game where Popeye had to negotiate obstacles and such while trying to get to Bluto (who had taken Olive Oil in the first scene). Like I said it was 75 to 80 percent done when I left in April 1984, and then it was never finished.

 

<Apologies to all as to how far off topic I got with these posts>

 

Thanks for the info. Did all of you (you, George, Rick, and Barbara) work on Desert Race and Noah's Ark as well?

I am writing a book on the history of arcade video games up to 1985 and am including an appendix with all of the design credits I know of.

 

Keith



#35 pwalters OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 2:52 PM

Here's a quick preview of the Arkyology game play... enjoy!

 

Arkyology Preview

 



#36 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 4:32 PM

Wow that looks such a fun game, thanks for showing.....



#37 CRV OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 4:40 PM

The video's not working for me. I don't know if it's something I've got blocked.


Edited by CRV, Wed Sep 9, 2015 4:40 PM.


#38 Special Teams ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 5:48 PM

Looks great, thanks for sharing!



#39 chas10e OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 5:59 PM

will this get the same attention Tempest for 5200 has I hope ?

 

http://atariage.com/...8&currentPage=3

 

https://atariage.com...t_detail&p=1036

 

really neat story & also thanks to the OP for posing the question of it's existence for a fantastic necro-post \o/ 

 

the video DID work for me but there was no sound



#40 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 6:10 PM

Reminds me of the last level of Donkey Kong.  Looks good!



#41 pwalters OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 6:22 PM

will this get the same attention Tempest for 5200 has I hope ?

 

http://atariage.com/...8&currentPage=3

 

https://atariage.com...t_detail&p=1036

 

really neat story & also thanks to the OP for posing the question of it's existence for a fantastic necro-post \o/ 

 

the video DID work for me but there was no sound

 

Thanks. I'm sure it won't get that kind of attention... being a little niche game that nobody knew about.

 

Yes, when I went to make the video, the recording software I used on my PC couldn't pick up the sound. .. I fiddled with it for a while and then just made the video without the audio.   Maybe later I can do one with sound.



#42 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 6:25 PM

Do you have any plans for this ROM?

I bet you could do a nice run of carts with manual (with the backing of Atariage) and finally see your game out there...

#43 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 6:33 PM

Patience guys. :)



#44 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 6:34 PM

Looks interesting, even without sound, and some nice visual programming effects there as you climb the ladder for example. Hopefully this can be made into a real product in the future, as it should have been in 1983 :)



#45 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 7:01 PM

Looks great!! Great work programmers and special kudos to Barbara...it's got an Activision look to it, not at all like the typical offerings from a niche company.



#46 swlovinist OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 9, 2015 7:41 PM

great to see games like this surface.  



#47 Mountain King OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:40 AM

Cool video! What happens on the other days? Can I assume there are 40 days?

#48 sloth-machine OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:27 AM

It's amazing that games are still being unearthed and people get to experience them. A brand new 30 year old game :)

 

I am all for homebrew, but there is just something very different and much more interesting about the games actually made at that time period. No modern tools, forum feedback, emulators, etc.  Just instinctual, raw programming.

 

I hope some kind of release agreement is made soon, I really look forward to trying this one out. I love Donkey Kong style games and the Noah's ark theme seems quite charming even though I am in no way religious.


Edited by sloth-machine, Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:29 AM.


#49 Rodrigo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:39 AM

Wow! Amazing! Hope that it will be released some day, looks really well done.



#50 Waggie OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:02 AM

I love these discovery's.  Thanks for sharing all the information with us.






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