Tooth Protectors

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Tooth Protectors
Tooth Protectors title screenshot.png
Developer(s) DSD/Camelot[1]
Publisher(s) Johnson & Johnson
Platform(s) Atari 2600
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single player

Tooth Protectors is a rare video game for the Atari 2600 video game console. It was released exclusively via mail order in 1983 by American pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

Background[edit]

Released in 1983, Tooth Protectors is one of the earliest "advergames" or "promogames" – games with overt tie-ins to retail products – and one of several released that year for the Atari 2600 platform (others included M Network's Kool-Aid Man and Purina's Chase the Chuck Wagon.)[2][3][4] Commissioned by Johnson & Johnson and developed by DSD/Camelot, it was the only game released for the Atari 2600 by either company.[1]

The game was never given a traditional retail release, but was instead available exclusively to Johnson & Johnson customers who mailed in proof of purchase stamps to the company.[5] Today it is considered rare and valuable;[4] the game received a rating of 9 ("Extremely Rare") from the Atari Age rarity guide.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay screenshot

The gameplay is similar to that of Activision's Kaboom!, in which the player must prevent objects dropping from the top of the screen from reaching the bottom by positioning their character directly under the falling objects. In Tooth Protectors, the objects are small "snack" squares dropped by the "Snack Attacker", a menacing-looking face that moves horizontally along the top of the screen. The player's character is a small smiling face carrying a strand of dental floss above its head. The player must prevent the snack squares from reaching the row of white teeth along the bottom of the screen; repeated hits by the snacks cause the teeth to blink and disappear from tooth decay.[3][6]

Occasionally the Snack Attacker will dive from the top of the screen in an attempt to grab the player; the player loses a turn if the Snack Attacker succeeds. If teeth begin to decay, the player can press the joystick's fire button to call in the "Tooth Protectors": an orange toothbrush, green box of dental floss and purple dental rinse bottle move across the teeth, brushing, flossing and rinsing them.[3][7]

The instruction manual included with the game ends by presenting "The Real Tooth Protectors": advertisements for Johnson & Johnson-branded toothbrushes, dental floss and dental rinse.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Yarusso, Al. "AtariAge - Companies - DSD/Camelot". AtariAge. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Bogost, Ian (August 5, 2011). How to Do Things with Videogames (Electronic Mediations). University of Minnesota Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-8166-7647-7. 
  3. ^ a b c Edery, David; Mollick, Ethan (October 7, 2008). Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business. FT Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-13-235781-X. 
  4. ^ a b Atwood, Brett (March 30, 1996). "PC Users Gobble Up Pac-Man, Classic Games". Billboard 108 (13): 124. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  5. ^ Bogost, Ian; Montfort, Nick (2009). Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. MIT Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-262-01257-X. 
  6. ^ a b Johnson & Johnson presents TOOTH PROTECTORS Video Game Instructions. Johnson & Johnson. 1983. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ Weiss, Brett (July 6, 2007). Classic home video games, 1972-1984: a complete reference guide. McFarland. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7864-3226-4.