Dung Beetles (video game)

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Dung Beetles
Developer(s) Datasoft
Publisher(s) Datasoft
Designer(s) Bob Bishop
Platform(s) Apple II
Atari 8-bit
Release date(s) 1982
Genre(s) Maze
Mode(s) Single player

Dung Beetles is an Apple II computer game by Bob Bishop,[1] released in 1982 by Datasoft. The game was ported to Atari 8-bit computers, and also to the TRS-80 Color Computer, where it was distributed by Tandy. On the Color Computer, it was renamed Mega-Bug; however, some copies were sold as Dung Beetles. Later versions for both the Apple II and Atari were named Tumble Bugs; also the Atari version was renamed Magneto Bugs for the 1983 re-release by Gentry Software. In Australia, the game was re-branded Bug Attack.


The game concept and gameplay are based on Pac-Man, but features a much larger maze and a moving "magnifying rectangle" which makes it easier to see graphic detail of the main character and the opponents, but also obscures a small area of the map near the main character, making short- to medium-range navigation more difficult. In addition, whenever the main character passes through a part of the maze, it leaves a trail of dung. When a dung beetle finds this dung, it eats it and follows the trail; however, if the trail branches, or it encounters a point along the trail, it picks at random which branch to follow, thereby giving the player anywhere from a 50% to 66⅔% chance of losing the pursuer. The player can back-track over his own trail (often necessary as the map can contain dead ends) creating false leads for his pursuers.


Whenever the player was caught, the game plays a digitized voice saying, "We Gotcha!" This is the only use of voice in the game, and was a novelty, as the Apple II speaker is only able to emit a click. Programmers clicked the speaker rapidly to produce any sound — the typical Apple II game made only monotone beeps and clicks. Programming the game to play back an audio sample, using only a clicking speaker, was an interesting technical accomplishment, shared with another 1982 Apple II game, Sea Dragon, as well as 1981's Castle Wolfenstein and 1984's Beyond Castle Wolfenstein.


Softline called Tumblebugs '​ magifying glass "an impressive programming feat", and concluded that it was "a solid game ... It could stand some more variety, but it certainly does not lack challenge".[2]


  1. ^ http://bob-bishop.awardspace.com/softlist.html List of software by Bob Bishop
  2. ^ Durkee, David (1982-05). "Tumblebugs". Softline. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 15 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

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