Mail Order Monsters
|Mail Order Monsters|
|Developer(s)||Paul Reiche III|
|Designer(s)||Paul Reiche III|
|Platform(s)||Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit family|
Mail Order Monsters is a 1985 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 and Atari 8-bit family home computers. Players create monsters, which they can use to battle multiplayer or against computer-controlled opponents.
Gameplay and design
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.
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 forced them to use a more whimsical style.
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. Writing in Vintage Games, Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton identify it as a precursor to the Pokémon series. 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.
- Buchanan, Levi (2009-01-23). "Fond Memories: Mail Order Monsters". IGN. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
- Barton, Matt (2013). Honoring the Code: Conversations with Great Game Designers. CRC Press. p. 210. ISBN 9781466567542.
- Katz, Arnie (November 1985). "Call to Adventure / Role-Playing Software for the Commodore 64". Ahoy!. p. 49. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- 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.