The Commodore 64 version of Jumpman
|Developer(s)||Epyx, Commodore Gaming|
|Publisher(s)||Epyx, Commodore Gaming|
Jumpman is a platform game written by Randy Glover and released by Epyx in 1983. Originally developed for the Atari 400/800, versions were also released for the Commodore 64, Apple II, IBM PC, and ColecoVision.
The object of the game is to defuse all bombs in a platform-filled screen. Jumpman defuses a bomb by touching it. According to the story, these are placed on Jupiter by terrorists. Jumpman can climb up and down ladders, and of course jump, and there are two kinds of rope each allowing a single direction of climbing only. Hazards include falling "smart darts" (small bullets that fly slowly across the screen, but when orthogonally lined up with Jumpman, greatly speed up and shoot straight in his direction) and other hazards that are unique to a certain level.
Points are awarded for each bomb defused, with bonus points available for completing a level quickly. Jumpman's game run-speed can be chosen by the player, with faster speeds being riskier but providing greater opportunity to earn bonus points.
"Jumpman" was Mario's original name in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong, which featured several elements that appear in Jumpman. Randy Glover has stated that Donkey Kong was the original inspiration for Jumpman. It is not clear whether the naming commonality is anything other than a coincidence.
Sequels, ports, and other versions
Randy Glover developed the initial prototype of the game in early 1983 for the Atari 400. He then sought a publisher for it and signed with Apex Computer Simulations (soon to change their name to Epyx). Afterwards, he developed a finished version on the Atari and soon began working on a port to the Commodore 64. Epyx also ported Jumpman to the Apple II, and a year later contracted Mirror Images Software for an IBM PC/PCjr port. The Atari and Commodore versions were released on disk and cassette tape, the Apple and IBM versions only on disk. Jumpman became a best-seller[quantify] for Epyx, who sold all versions of the game until 1987.
The original Atari version of Jumpman includes a number of graphics effects designed around that computer's hardware features such as its Display List interrupts. Because of this, they were omitted from the other releases of the game.
After developing the original game, Randy Glover then produced Jumpman Jr, a cartridge title with only 12 levels. He stated that it wasn't really a sequel to Jumpman, but more of a "lite" version for Atari and Commodore users who didn't have disk drives. Jumpman Jr was ported to the Colecovision, but there were no Apple II or IBM releases of the game.
Much like the original, Jumpman Jr was designed around the Atari 8-bit family's hardware and Randy Glover had to modify it for the Commodore 64. Two of its levels (Dumbwaiter and Electroshock Traps) were turned into Sreddal (Ladders backwards) and Fire! Fire! on the latter (the Colecovision version used the Commodore levels)
In 1991, Jumpman Lives!, written by Dave Sharpless, was released by Apogee Software. In typical Apogee formula, the game consists of four "episodes", each with twelve levels—the first being free, the rest for sale. The game contains levels from Jumpman and Jumpman Jr., and a number of new levels. The game also includes an editor. Apogee was forced to withdraw the game soon after release at the request of Epyx, who still owned the rights to Jumpman (they reverted to Randy Glover in 1993).
In 1994, an unofficial PC port of Jumpman, missing the level "Freeze", was released by Ingenieurbüro Franke. An updated version which included Freeze was released in 2001.
In 1998, Randy Glover became aware of the many fans of Jumpman and started working on Jumpman II, keeping a development diary at jumpman2.com (now defunct and just serving ads). The last recorded diary entry was made in 2001
In 2001, Dave Campbell released Jumpman Zero, an original freeware game, for the Palm OS. A Windows beta version was released in 2003. The Windows version contains twenty-eight levels: the first level was from the original game, and all others were new, including several parodies other games. In spirit with the older games, each level has a unique hazard. Jumpman has the ability to dive and roll, and several levels are larger than the screen and scroll. The game uses an unusual graphics style that consists of 3-D renderings of pixelated graphics. The game engine allows new levels to be added in the form of DLLs, but this is only possible for experienced programmers.
In 2003, the first version of The Jumpman Project, a port of the original PC game to modern computers, was released. The project is ongoing. The most recent version is 1.0.001, released in 2006.
Also in 2003, Chris Leathley developed Jumpman — Under Construction. Development updates ceased for the general public in December 2003, though regulars on the related (now defunct) web-board were given access to some newer versions. The game contains most of the levels from the original Jumpman and an editor. It has created "prototypes" for all special elements, and thus in new levels it only allows for special elements similar to those already found in existing levels. Jumpman's original programmer, Randy Glover, released a level for this Jumpman construction kit. It was the first Jumpman level he had released since Jumpman Jr.
In 2004, Jumpman Jr. was re-released on the C64 Direct-to-TV.
In 2005, Raptisoft released Hap Hazard, described as a tribute to Jumpman.
In 2010, an effort to port Jumpman to the Texas Instruments TI-89 graphing calculator began.
In 2014, Midnight Ryder Technologies shipped Jumpman Forever for the OUYA micro-console, with planned releases for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. Originally titled Jumpman: 2049, the game is considered to be an official sequel based on rights given to Midnight Ryder Technologies  back in 2000 by Randy Glover.
Softline in 1983 liked Jumpman, calling it "wonderfully addicting" and stating that it was as high-quality as Epyx's Dunjonquest games. The magazine cited its large number of levels ("Not one screen faster and harder each time; not ten screens three times; but thirty screens, one at a time"), and concluded that "it's bound to be a hit". In 1984 readers named the game the seventh most-popular Atari program of 1983.
- Mario Bros, released in 1983 by Nintendo
- Ultimate Wizard, released in 1984 by Electronic Arts
- Jetpack, released in 1993 by Software Creations
- "I talked to Randy Glover about Jumpman.". Archived from the original on 15 January 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2007.
- "DAVE SHARPLESS INTERVIEW". Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2007.
- Classic Jumpman
- "OLD NEWS". Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 10 April 3 June 2007.
- Jumpman Zero official website
- The Jumpman Project
- Jumpman — Under Construction website
- Hap Hazard page on Raptisoft website
- Kickstarter-based Jumpman Forever Ships This Week on Wichita Business Journal website
- The History of Jumpman (and Jumpman Forever) On JumpmanForever.com
- Yuen, Matt (May–Jun 1983). "Jumpman". Softline. p. 45. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "The Best and the Rest". St.Game. Mar–Apr 1984. p. 49. Retrieved 28 July 2014.