Toyshop Trouble - Atari 2600



TV Type:  NTSC        PAL60      

Ah, the Bahamas. Toyshop elves Patrick, Quincy, and Robert are laying on the beach, relaxing in the sun. Nothing could be finer than listening to the surf while enjoying a cold drink. A great reward for having gotten all of Santa's toys painted in record time. Unfortunately for you, Patrick's idea of "painting" toys was dumping them all in a bucket of gray paint. While this technically fulfilled his associates' obligations (thus their trip to the Bahamas), the toys--alas--still have to be painted properly.

It's now your job to clean up their mess, which means properly painting the toys in time for Santa's departure Christmas Eve. You must paint the toys as they move along five conveyor belts. Ahh, but only if it were as easy as it sounds! Toys must be painted the proper color, and some toys require two coats of paint (with different colors), and if that wasn't bad enough, some must have their coats applied in the proper order! And not that you needed the additional pressure, but you also have a daily quota to meet. You must properly paint all the toys that appear on the conveyor belts each day before the whistle at the end of your shift sounds!

Santa's counting on you to ensure that all the toys are painted correctly! Can you get the job done before Santa's sleigh is loaded up on Christmas Eve? You don't want to be responsible for children waking up Christmas morning without toys under their trees, do you? Time to juggle those cans of paint and get moving!

Toyshop Trouble was introduced as the 2006 AtariAge Holiday Cart, given away as part of our annual holiday sale. Toyshop Trouble was a collaboration between several homebrew authors and artists, including John Payson, Zach Matley, Bob Montgomery, Nathan Strum, Dave Exton, Fred Quimby, Thomas Jentzsch, and others. This effort resulted in a unique and enjoyable homebrew game that was available for a short time as a limited, numbered run. We know that not everyone was able to obtain a copy of Toyshop Trouble in 2006, and everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy this terrific 2600 homebrew game! Therefore we've made it available again as a normal, unlimited release. The game's labels, manual, and the game binary have been revised slightly to reflect this fact.

Includes cartridge and four-page, full-color manual. Available in NTSC and PAL60 television formats, please specify above when ordering.

Author John Payson
Additional Programming Zach Matley, Bob Montgomery
In-Game Art Nathan Strum
Label, Manual Design Dave Exton
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 8K
Jared Gray West on 12/20/2023 03:09pm
Toyshop Trouble is expertly programmed and has a memory gameplay mechanic slightly reminiscent of Pressure Cooker or Blueprint. Toyshop Trouble really puts its own spin on the style, though. Quite a challenge, too, and quick decision-making is a must. Always good for several rounds of play, especially around the holidays.
Bryan M Knotts on 12/04/2022 07:08am
This game is an excellent collaborative effort by all involved! Glad to see it was brought back solo. It takes a lot of focus, and concentration. Unfortunately I have never yet come across the easter egg. For any who maybe interested my YouTube channel's review video on the game can be found here:
Jonathan Clark on 03/28/2021 11:29am
Do you have a game that you just can't resist playing? You think "But I own all these other games," and yet you end up playing the same game over again instead? Be warned that if you purchase Toyshop Trouble that it will become THE game you can't resist. So addictive, so simple and yet a perfect challenge every time.
Edladdin on 09/30/2019 01:21am
Not only is this easily my favorite among my small collection of 2600 homebrews, but also this game is in my Hall of Fame for the entire 2600 library. SO addictive! SO fun! SO easy to pickup and play! One of a very few 2600 games that my wife will play over and over. I love it.
Tim Showalter on 11/05/2018 02:31am
Of all the homebrews, this is the best one. It reminds me a little of Pressure Cooker: great sound, time-pressure gameplay, good difficulty ramping, great graphics, and a catchy tune that makes great use of the 2600's limited musical abilities.

I've found some good homebrews, and a few really mediocre ones, but this one keeps me coming back.
Shark (Galactus) on 12/09/2016 06:39am
One of the main reasons I got back into 2600 games is that I saw people were still developing games for the system. Homebrews can be hit or miss, but Toyshop Trouble hits the bullseye. It's so original, and fun, and the music is fantastic.. We have a lot of traditions in my family when it comes to Christmas, and this is now one of them. I think I only have17 homebrews, but this is probably my favorite. I think a sequel is in order.
Danny Vaughn on 01/13/2015 10:27am
I decided to purchase "Toyshop Trouble", because of the highly positive review, awarded by "Ferg", host of the "Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast". This game is every bit as good as Ferg say's it is! I consider "Toyshop Trouble" on par with other 2600 homebrew greats, such as, "Pac-man 4K" and "Fall Down". This will produce real excitement around your home, year round!

I often wonder why Atari didn't create any holiday themed games - they would've sold like mad.
Curtis Mitchell on 05/09/2013 10:33pm
Well here's an interesting one: first off another in a long line of Atari Age Christmas-themed homebrews. Of course, it's fun to play any time of the year as well!

Toyshop Trouble is, in large part, a memory game. Your objective is to paint each toy a certain color and you've got to paint the whole lot in a given time limit. The great thing about Toyshop Trouble is that it has an EXCELLENT difficulty curve. The early levels aren't to difficult and the game slowly breaks you into the harder difficulties. There's an included level skip option as well so once you've gotten familiar with the game you can skip right to the hard parts.

At its most difficult, Toyshop Trouble is a fast-paced and frenetic game that will challenge your memory and your gameplay speed. Plus its got some great Christmas jingles in it too, just the thing for putting you in that holiday mood.

This game came highly recommended from the Atari Age forums and now I highly recommend it in the review. If you buy just one homebrew, this is probably the one to pick up.
brian on 08/08/2011 04:44pm
This game is the most addicting game on the 2600, great game! I have made it as far as january 17. It will be in my rotation of games for a long time to come...
Lucas 'Mr Beefy' Morris on 11/07/2009 01:16am
My only complaint about this game is that it cramped my hand up from playing it so much when I first got it.

I love the graphics, sounds, and gameplay. It might be a holiday cart but its good to pick up and play during anytime of the year!

I like the hidden mini-game as well and is a nice simple addition. Overall a great game!
Midnight Synergy on 01/21/2009 08:11pm
This game is truly wonderful. It has a great new game design that fits the Atari's capabilities perfectly. It has wonderful graphics and sound (the toy graphics, in particular, are among some of Atari's best images), and it plays like a dream. The "trying to make it to Xmas - or beyond" theme makes it quite addictive (I'm only up to December 22). As a single player game, this would probably fit into my top Atari games ever, it's just that brilliant. Highest recommendation to anyone looking to check out a homebrew.
Peter Jalbert on 03/09/2008 02:36pm
Just received TT in the mail and I couldn't wait to try it out! After playing a few rounds (besides my hand cramping up) I have to say this is one of the best games ever made for the VCS! Everything about it is simply fantastic! The music is awesome, especially how the tune goes into a minor key when the game's over. Also, I love the "colored organ" effect on the title screen.

Gameplay is simple, yet VERY challenging. The difficulty ramps up at a nice gradual pace. It's just right, IMO. It plays a lot like pressure cooker (as was mentioned in an earlier post.)

I can't find a single negative thing to say about this game. Kudos to everyone involved with it's creation!

If you are looking for a homebrew to purchase, don't hesitate to pick up Toyshop Trouble. You won't regret it!

Now, I'm off to try to find the easter egg(s).
Raul Torres on 01/27/2008 02:08am
Of all the Holiday carts Toyshop ranks right up there with another holiday fav, Holiday Qb.

This is one well thought out game. It is tons of fun to play and has that required "comeback to play" ingredient. The graphics are great, but if I had to nit pick it would be that the elf could have been rendered a bit better.

Overall, if you could only afford one Homebrew available and this is still in the Atariage store, it would be one fine choice.
Darrell Spice on 12/23/2007 12:26pm
It's Christmas Time once again at Atari Age, but this year instead of playing Santa you get to be one of the elves frantically dashing around the production floor of Santa's Workshop painting toys.

Toyshop Trouble is the Atari Age Holiday Cart for 2006. This was the fourth year of what's become an annual tradition here at Atari Age. Don't fret if you missed out as Toyshop Trouble is now available as a regular non-numbered homebrew.

When you power on the game, you're presented with a really slick title screen with some nice holiday inspired music, falling snow and a Holiday Light Show similar to those fancy light kits that flash the lights in sync with music.

Start the game by hitting RESET or FIRE and you're presented with the production floor were once the shift whistle blows you have to paint a bunch of fire engines red as they glide along the 5 conveyor belts. An intermission screen then shows up with instructions for the next toy to be added to the mix. Hit FIRE once you've reviewed the painting instructions to advance to the next round(this also makes for handy pause feature between rounds). I did find it odd that the first toy had no instruction screen to let you know to paint fire engine red, but when you run over a toy the status area at the top of the screen will let you know the proper color(s) to paint a toy.

The first bunch of toys are pretty straight forward to paint as each are a single color. The next bunch of toys required 2 colors each, and toys after that require the 2 colors to be painted in a specific order! When a toy is finished it's rendered with exquisite multicolored detail. Unfinished toys are a single color, which makes it easy to tell which toys are done or painted the wrong color.

Controls are straightforward and responsive, with the fire button being used to make you run instead of walk. And you'll need to do a lot of running to paint all the toys in time for Santa's departure!

Besides the afore mentioned title screen music, the in-game sound is very good. There's a shift change horn and specific distinct sounds for when you've applied a proper color, finished painting a toy, or screwed up and applied the wrong color to a toy.

Your character is rendered with different animated shapes for left/right/up/down and even all the diagonals and the graphics for the toys are phenomenal, with lots of colors for everything. I'm really impressed that John was able to pull this off. Nathan Strum did an excellent job in designing graphics that could take advantage of this.

The really nice manual and label were once again done by David Exton.
Nathan Strum on 12/20/2007 02:10pm
In Toyshop Trouble, you're an elf with a mission. A mission to paint toys in Santa's workshop, in time for his big Christmas Eve delivery. But there are a lot of toys, a lot of colors, and each toy must be painted correctly. If that weren't enough, you've got a limited amount of time to meet your quota each day, and every day you have more toys to paint. You'd better be fast - but accuracy counts too! Santa won't accept any toys that are painted the wrong color. Miss your quota, and it's game over.

The screen shows an overview of a toyshop with several conveyor belts on which toys appear. Before each level, you're shown any new toy to be painted, and how to paint it. Once the level starts, you move the elf around with the joystick, pressing the fire button to run at full speed and apply paint that you've selected from one of several paint buckets. Paint all of the toys in the required time, and you move onto the next level.

Toyshop Trouble is an excellent action game that requires quite a bit of strategy and a good memory. Once you have a dozen different toys on screen at the same time, it's challenging to remember which toy is which color, and to figure how to paint them most efficiently. As you progress further in the game, the action is relentless, and you'll find that even miss-painting a single toy can cost you the game. The graphics are colorful and detailed (I may be a little biased since I designed most of them), and programmer John Payson did an amazing job getting the 2600 to display so many colorful objects all at once, with no flicker. The music is also very well done, with several variations on an original song that sounds like a mix between "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Jingle Bells".

Also included on the cart is a hidden mini-game. I won't tell you how to find it, but it is a nice bonus, and a fun game in its own right. If I had any complaints about Toyshop Trouble, is that the game doesn't end after December 24th. Since the story is that you're helping Santa prepare for his annual trip on Christmas Eve, it doesn't make a lot of sense for the game to continue after that point, starting back up in January at a harder level, and eventually becoming unplayable. In hindsight, when December 24th was cleared, perhaps it would have been better to move from Toyshop Trouble straight into the mini-game (which is a natural follow-up to the main game). As it is, once you've gotten past December 24th, there's not a lot of incentive to keep playing - there are no more goals to achieve, and nothing new to see.

Minor quibbles aside, Toyshop Trouble is an excellent game, which looks and sounds great throughout. The controls are smooth and responsive, and the gameplay is action-packed and highly unique. Released as a limited-edition in 2006, if you have the chance to get a copy, be sure and pick it up.

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