Hard Hat Mack
|Hard Hat Mack|
Hard Hat Mack is a 1983 Apple II game developed by Michael Abbot and Matthew Alexander. It is one of the first batch of five games published by Electronic Arts, though EA specifically calls it out as "truly EA's first game." It was later ported to the Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, Coleco Adam and as a PC booter.
The player guides a construction worker through a series of goals, making use of open paths, springboards, conveyor belts, and elevators, taking care not to run out of time. Assuming the role of the titular Hard Hat Mack, the player has three lives.
Level One (building framework). The goal is to replace four holes in the floor, and capture a moving jackhammer to secure the plates. At the same time, the player must avoid getting hit by bolts thrown from above, being tagged by a vandal and OSHA representative who circulate through the building, and falling off the edge of the building.
Level Two (construction site). The player guides Hard Hat Mack through a four-level construction site with the goal of collecting five lunchboxes. An OSHA representative blocks the final hurdle, requiring a carefully timed jump.
Level Three (factory). The player collects five boxes and drops each one into a processor. An OSHA representative moves back and forth near one of the boxes, requiring a very careful jump.
At the completion of a round, the game cycles anew with faster gameplay.
Softline stated that the Apple version of Hard Hat Mack "bears a certain similarity to Miner 2049er, but it's a good game in its own right and the animation is a little better". Video also reviewed the Apple version in its "Arcade Alley" column where it was described as "a 'must' buy for Apple arcaders" and "indisputably one of the finest programs ever made for the Apple". Reviewers noted that the game's "look and play" were inferior to the Atari version, but this was attributed to the Apple II's systemic limitations and designers Abbot and Alexander were recommended for a "round of applause" from readers.:30
In 1984 Softline's readers named the game the sixth most-popular Apple program of 1983. Computer Gaming World's reviewer in 1984 called the game "a brand new concept in arcade action", stating that he was unaware of another set in the construction industry. PC Magazine in 1984 gave Hard Hat Mack 10.5 points out of 18. It described the game as "computer game pop art—flashy to the eye, but hollow inside. For all of its nice touches, I quickly became bored."
In late 1983, California state senator Dan McCorquodale, offended by portrayal of OSHA as a villain in the game, sent a complaint letter to an Emporium-Capwell store in Santa Clara, California, accusing the game of being "anti-worker" and of skewing the public perception of the federal government. As a result, six days later the store pulled Hard Hat Mack from the shelves.
- 30th Anniversary of Our First Games Shipped - EA News
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