Robbo (video game)

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Robbo
The Adventures of Robbo
Title screen of the 2006 free release of The Adventures of Robbo
Developer(s) XLand (DOS), U-Play Interactive (iOS)
Publisher(s) LK Avalon (Atari 8-bit, C-64, Windows)
Larix (ST)
XLand (DOS)
Distributor(s) Epic MegaGames (DOS)
Monkey Business (DOS)
Designer(s) Janusz Pelc
Composer(s) Bogusław Pezda (DOS)
Platform(s) Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, Windows, iOS
Release date(s) POL 1989

NA 1993

Genre(s) action puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Cassette (Atari 8-bit, C-64)
Floppy disk (Atari 8-bit, ST, C-64, DOS)
Compact disc (Windows)
Digital distribution (DOS, Windows, iOS)

Robbo is an action puzzle video game designed by Janusz Pelc and published by LK Avalon in 1989 for the Atari XL/XE computers. A success on the Polish domestic market,[1] it was later ported to other computer platforms and also released in the United States as The Adventures of Robbo.

Gameplay[edit]

The game's design was partly inspired by Boulder Dash,[2] but with the gravity aspect removed. The player controls the titular little robot through a series of planets (56 in the original Atari version), each being a vertically-scrolling maze filled with various objects and obstacles. The goal of each level is to collect all bolts scattered around, and then reach a capsule that takes the hero to the next planet. On his way Robbo must avoid deadly obstacles that include moving creatures, laser turrets, and large magnets. Various items can be found, including keys that open doors, bullets that kill enemies and destroy impassable walls of rubble, crates that can be pushed, bombs that explode upon being shot, and mirrors that teleport the hero around the level.

Development and release[edit]

Robbo was designed and programmed by Polish programmer Janusz Pelc in 1989 for the Atari XL/XE computers, and was the first product of the company Laboratorium Komputerowe Avalon, which he established together with his school mate Tomasz Pazdan that same year in Rzeszów; both were 19 years old and had just passed the matura.[1][3] A demo version was also published,[2][4] as an advertisement for both the game and the company, that contained 4 unique levels, and listed addresses of Avalon's software distributors that sold Robbo.

The game's initial release announced a contest in the on-screen manual, in which the first five players that finished Robbo and sent description of the ending sequence to Avalon, would receive the company's next game as a prize. By 1991, the company received a few thousand solutions.[2]

The game was a success for the company, with them receiving letters from customers describing amazement that a game of such quality was not of foreign origin but Polish[2][3] and demanding a sequel.[1][3] That success, however, didn't translate into financial gain, as Poland at the time had no law restricting software piracy.[1]

The company didn't produce a sequel to Robbo, although Pelc created a construction kit called Robbo Konstruktor, published by Avalon in 1990 in a bundle with another game Lasermania.[citation needed] The utility allowed to edit level layouts and save them as standalone games, which lead to a large number[citation needed] of different Robbo games being created on the Atari by enthusiasts, with new versions still surfacing as of April 2014.[5]

Pelc left Avalon in 1990,[3] and later joined the newly established company XLand in 1991.[6] For that company, he together with Maciej Miąsik developed Robbo for the PC DOS platform, published in Poland in 1993.[citation needed]. This version had enhanced VGA graphics and digitized sound, included a password system for maintaining game progress, and added four new levels to a total of 60.

Through a deal with Epic Megagames, the XLand version was also distributed in 1993 in the United States by mail-order, under the title The Adventures of Robbo. Customers could also order Epic Puzzle Pack, a compilation of three XLand games including The Adventures of Robbo, Heartlight and Electro Man. The Adventures of Robbo would be later distributed in a box under the "Monkey Business" label by The B&N Companies, Inc. in 1994.[citation needed]

Also in 1993, LK Avalon published a Commodore 64 port of the game, developed by high-school student Sebastian Nowak.[7] This version contained 76 entirely new levels,[8] and some additional types of objects not found in the original.[citation needed]

An Atari ST port followed in 1994, developed by Rafał Janicki, Paweł G. Angerman and Michał Juszczak and published in Poland by Larix in only ca. 80 copies.[9]

On 30 June 2000[10] Avalon published an enhanced remake for Windows titled Robbo Millennium. This game contained all the original Atari levels plus more, totalling at 130, along with updated graphics and sound, and a prerendered 3D intro. As of 2014 the game is available for purchase both as a boxed CD[11] and as digital download.[12]

On 25 June 2006, after obtaining approval from the rights holders, Maciej Miąsik released the three games from Epic Puzzle Pack, including The Adventures of Robbo, through the Classic DOS Games website under the Creative Commons BY-SA 2.5 license.[13][14]

In 2010 the original Robbo game was ported to iOS by U-Play Interactive in close cooperation with Janusz Pelc, and published under the title iRobbo.[15]

A fan-made port of Robbo for Linux was started in 2002 as a GNU GPL-licensed project called GNU Robbo, now available on a variety of platforms.[16] According to the project's documentation, the project has got approval of Janusz Pelc, which holds the rights to the Atari version, while the XLand version is currently owned by LK Avalon.[17]

Reception[edit]

The Epic Puzzle Pack was reviewed in 1994 in Dragon #206 by Sandy Petersen in the "Eye of the Monitor" column. Petersen gave the compilation 3 out of 5 stars.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Pazdan, Tomasz (16 February 2009). "Polska przestała być krajem z filmu "Miś"" [Poland no longer the country depicted in the film "Teddy Bear"]. Wyborcza.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Robbo". Tajemnice Atari (in Polish) (2/91): 15. June 1991. OCLC 839137464. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ożyński, Mateusz (September 1998). "Mała, wielka firma - z wizytą w rzeszowskim LK Avalon" [Little big company - a visit in LK Avalon of Rzeszów]. Secret Service (in Polish) (60): 12. ISSN 1230-7726. 
  4. ^ "[PREV] Robbo". Atarimania.com. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Cora, Marek (3 April 2014). "Tre Robbo 43". AtariOnline.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Miąsik, Maciej (21 February 2012). "20 lat Electro Body" [20 years of Electro Body]. Miasik.net (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Dziubałtowski, Benedykt (9 April 2009). "Rozrywka w stylu retro" [Entertainment retro style]. Chip.pl (in Polish). p. 2. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Michniewicz, Tomek (21 February 2010). "Robbo - jak to działa?" [Robbo - how does it work?]. C64Power (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Ziembik, Krzysztof (23 May 2014). ""Robbo ST" raz jeszcze" ["Robbo ST" revisited]. AtariOnline.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Robbo Millenium (PC)". GRY-Online.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Robbo Millennium wersja pudełkowa" [Robbo Millennium boxed version]. Avalon24.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Robbo Millennium wersja do pobrania" [Robbo Millennium downloadable version]. Avalon24.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Miąsik, Maciej (25 June 2006). "Moje gry dla każdego" [My games for everyone]. Miasik.net (in Polish). Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Adventures of Robbo". RGB Classic Games. 25 June 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "iRobbo: History of the game". UPlayInteractive.com. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "GNU Robbo". Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "/gnurobbo/README". GNU Robbo. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  18. ^ Petersen, Sandy (June 1994). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (206): 57–60. 

External links[edit]