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Taxman

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I saw this Apple II game in a new AVGN episode. I have never heard of this game before, and it looked interesting. Anyone have any info on this game? (Aside from the fact it's a Pac-Man clone.)

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It's a direct Pac-Man clone for Apple II and not a great one either.

How much does it usually go for in auctions?

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Actually, I always thought it was a very good PacMan clone..

 

In fact, doesn't the story go that the company got in trouble and was told (by Atarisoft?) to stop selling it, and part of the resolution was that Atarisoft's PacMan was basically TaXMan rebranded to PacMan???

 

desiv

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AtariSoft Pac-Man was actually a clone of Tax-Man. I forget if Atari bought the game or got it in a lawsuit or whatever, but essentially Atarisoft hacked Tax-Man into Pac-Man.

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Rather interesting that Brian Fitzgerald called his software company H.A.L. Labs. While it is said he was inspired by the HAL 9000 computer, it should be noted that there was a Japanese game developer called HAL Labs that among their first couple of games made VIC-20 versions of arcade games like Pac-Man, Rally-X, Space Invaders and so on. Those games were OK to sell within Japan, but Commodore didn't have the rights to sell home versions in rest of the world. They renamed the games, but some of them got shut down anyhow (not by Atarisoft, but by Namco). Personally I find Jelly Monsters on the VIC is a better Pac-Man game than Atarisoft's official release some years later.

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Rather interesting that Brian Fitzgerald called his software company H.A.L. Labs. While it is said he was inspired by the HAL 9000 computer, it should be noted that there was a Japanese game developer called HAL Labs that among their first couple of games made VIC-20 versions of arcade games like Pac-Man, Rally-X, Space Invaders and so on. Those games were OK to sell within Japan, but Commodore didn't have the rights to sell home versions in rest of the world. They renamed the games, but some of them got shut down anyhow (not by Atarisoft, but by Namco). Personally I find Jelly Monsters on the VIC is a better Pac-Man game than Atarisoft's official release some years later.

Any relation to the creators of Kirby?

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Taxman isn't very good.

 

Super Puckman is a good pac-man clone.

 

Edit: Just noticed the one in the video is a little different than the one I have on disk...

Edited by Official Ninja

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Taxman isn't very good.

Aw, I liked Taxman. I doubt there was anything better in 1981! What I really liked was the pathetic marketing they did to suggest it was a Tax program with a mini game. Even the game's plot is all about taxes!

 

taxmanfront.jpg

 

wFMqMLs.jpg

Edited by Tanrunomad

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Taxman isn't very good.

 

Super Puckman is a good pac-man clone.

 

Edit: Just noticed the one in the video is a little different than the one I have on disk...

 

I still have this on disk with my Apple IIc... I remember I figured out where the maze was stored and made a bunch of hacks to the maze. :) Good times.

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The old art work and style is fantastic. Thanks for sharing that.

 

Anyone know where I could buy this?

You want to buy Taxman JadeETC? If you have an ADTPro cable you can make your own disk easily enough.

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If you want the original, you probably have to watch the auction sites for weeks, months, years. Perhaps ask on some Apple II specific forums if anyone has a copy they can part with. Since it was withdrawn, I suppose the number of remaining copies are not too many.

 

I found a loose floppy disk on eBay, but it looks to be homemade (two available, one already sold...) so in that case it might not have any collector's value. YMMV.

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An original taxman very rarely pops up on ebay. I seem to recall only seeing it once in the past few years. The good news it there is little demand for it. If I recall, the selling price was around $30-$40 only. I own an original copy of the game which came with the zip lock baggie and the manual (those image scans are from my very own cover actually). Ziplock bags were pretty standard in 1980/81.

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Sorry I'm late to the thread. If anyone is still paying attention, I was the founder of HAL Labs. Brian Fitzgerald and I developed Taxman while in high school and as undergrads living in a trailer on campus at UC Irvine 1980-1981.

I take exception with any criticisms here. It was a nearly perfect copy of Pacman, far better than the other Apple clones and Atari produced versions for other platforms. Brian's bit mapping algorithms were way faster and far smoother (see Broderbund's Snoggle for instance) and the AI on our ghosts was damn good. We even replicated minor things like being able to pass through a ghost on rare occasions (1/255 collisions). Some people hate the keyboard controls, but the Apple's potentiometer based joystick, while great for flight simulators, was terrible for maze games which should be restricted to a four switch movement.

 

Indeed Atari did threaten lawsuits and then turned around and bought the product from us after Jerry Pournelle wrote a nice column about our situation in Byte. I modified the title screen to say PACMAN in a sort of yellow by quickly flipping hires screens between a green and red version (Apple II hires had no yellow).

I wrote the "bonus game" which was on the back side of the disk. It was a mediocre hi-res lunar land simulator written in AppleSoft Basic.

Oddly, even I don't have an original copy. If anyone has one I'd love to hear from them.

- Greg Autry

Edited by gautry
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I wrote the "bonus game" which was on the back side of the disk. It was a mediocre hi-res lunar land simulator written in AppleSoft Basic.

 

Oddly, even I don't have an original copy. If anyone has one I'd love to hear from them.

 

- Greg Autry

Taxman is a great game. I have the original disk, but there's no program on the backside of it. Is it possible it never made it onto the final release? I always thought the mention of a "free mini game" was just a gimmick. If you have the original BASIC program, I'd love to see it.

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^ Agreed, I also loved Taxman and played it extensively. Pretty sure my copy was pirated, though...

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I'm guessing you guys were Beatles fans - wouldn't say that just from Taxman, but Super Taxman 2 plays When I'm Sixty-Four at the title screen, so... :P

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Indeed we were fans of the Fab Four during the "Beatlemania" days.

 

No problem with the pirate copy. Copy away with our permission. I remember that when I met my wife, her dad insisted on showing me his computer because he thought we could bond over that and he had pirated copies of several of our titles. :)

 

You know, I think the bonus game, named "HAL Lander" was moved onto the front in later editions. If you've got the disk just CATALOG it and see. It wasn't that great, honestly, but it did use the Apple Joystick nicely.

 

 

Fitzgerald has promised to send me a disk, if I can get my Apple IIgs cranked up, and read the thing and figure out how to transfer the file I'll post it somewhere. Sounds unlikely!

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We were so frustrated by the Apple Joystick that we developed an adapter with encoding hardware to allow an Atari style 9pin arcade (4 switch) joystick to plug into the Apple II 16 pin DIP connector. Playing Taxman with a WICO joystick was actually really nice.

 

Gizmo

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zdGr77J.png

 

If it is a DOS 3.2 disk, you might have your work cut out, but it's most likely doable. I'm pretty sure there's people here familiar with the appropriate tools.

 

I've only dealt with 16-sector stuff that was either unprotected or already cracked so it was just a matter of running ADT Pro and transmitting the disk image over the serial port.

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