Mail Order Monsters

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Mail Order Monsters
Mail Order Monsters cover.jpg
Developer(s)Paul Reiche III
Evan Robinson
Nicky Robinson
Designer(s)Paul Reiche III
Platform(s)Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit
Release1985: C64
1986: Atari
Genre(s)Action, strategy
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Mail Order Monsters is an action-strategy computer game created by Paul Reiche III, Evan Robinson, and Nicky Robinson. It was published by Electronic Arts (Ariolasoft in Europe) for the Commodore 64 in 1985, then released for Atari 8-bit family in 1986.[1] Players create monsters which they can use to battle multiplayer or against computer-controlled opponents.


Customizing a monster

The players create a variety of monsters and equip them with futuristic and modern weapons to do battle. Monsters can be further customized through buying special abilities, such as adding tentacles to use advanced weaponry. Two players can fight against each other, play capture the flag, or compete for a high score against a computer-controlled horde. In single-player mode, the computer controls an opponent to fight. Battles take place on various different maps that can have tactical effects, such as mountains for agile monsters to hide behind during combat. Monsters can be stored on diskette and can be upgraded by victories against other monsters or computer opponents.[1]


Reiche had previously worked with designers Jon Freeman and Anne Westfall of Free Fall Associates on the game Archon for EA. The game was originally envisioned as dark and gritty, but Electronic Arts demanded a more whimsical style.[2] During this development, Reiche became fascinated with his friend Greg Johnson's development on Starflight, and spent a few weeks consulting on it before he realized he was "supposed to be working on Mail Order Monsters".[3]


Ahoy! stated that Mail Order Monsters was a "very good game" that did not reach "true excellence" because of insufficient combat tactics, and suggested that it was best for younger players.[4] Writing in Vintage Games, Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton identify it as a precursor to the Pokémon series.[5]

In a retrospective, Levi Buchanan of IGN said that although he would love to see a remake, any new version, updated to suit modern gamers, would necessarily have to diverge from what made the game unique in 1985.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Buchanan, Levi (2009-01-23). "Fond Memories: Mail Order Monsters". IGN. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  2. ^ Barton, Matt (2013). Honoring the Code: Conversations with Great Game Designers. CRC Press. p. 210. ISBN 9781466567542.
  3. ^ Fred Ford & Paul Reiche III (2015-06-30). "Classic Game Postmortem: Star Control". Game Developers Conference.
  4. ^ Katz, Arnie (November 1985). "Call to Adventure / Role-Playing Software for the Commodore 64". Ahoy!. p. 49. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  5. ^ Loguidice, Bill; Barton, Matt (2012). Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time. CRC Press. p. 326. ISBN 9781136137587.

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