Pogo Joe

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Pogo Joe
Pogo Joe Screenshot.png
Commodore 64 screenshot
Designer(s)William F. Denman, Jr.
Oliver Steele
Steven Baumrucker
Artist(s)Michael Haire
Platform(s)Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64

Pogo Joe is a game for the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit family written by William F. Denman, Jr. and Oliver Steele and published by Screenplay in 1983. The art is by Michael Haire. Steven Baumrucker wrote the sound and music routines, designed and named the levels, and wrote the music.[citation needed] Pogo Joe is a Q*Bert clone with several extra features.


The player takes the role of the eponymous Pogo Joe, a boy on a pogo stick. The game takes place over 65 different levels, each consisting of a different arrangement of barrels. To complete a level, Pogo Joe must jump on every barrel.

To make Pogo Joe's job harder, several enemies inhabit the levels. They first start out as spherical "eggs" of different colours. Colliding with these "eggs" kills the enemy within them, but if left alone for a few seconds, the "eggs" hatch into different sorts of enemies, contact with which is fatal to Pogo Joe.

The tops of the barrels have different colours depending on their status or functionality:

  • White: The default state.
  • Red: The barrel has been jumped on.
  • Cyan: The barrel has been jumped on twice (required on some levels).
  • Purple: The barrel has been jumped on three times (required on some levels).
  • Green: A "smart bomb" barrel. Jumping on this kills every enemy on screen, and reverts the barrel to white.
  • Black: A teleport. Moves Pogo Joe instantly to another black-topped barrel.

On later levels, some enemies change red barrels back to white when jumping on them.

On some levels, the barrels appear with just their tops, without the body beneath it. Jumping off a barrel makes it disappear, becoming inaccessible for Pogo Joe. Once Pogo Joe becomes trapped and cannot jump anywhere any more, the game advances to the next level. Pogo Joe receives "Shadow Bonus" points if few enough barrels are left on the level. Also, on some levels, the barrels initially appear as invisible, and the player has to guess where the barrels are so Pogo Joe can jump on them.

Most of the level names are clever allusions to 1970s and 1980s popular culture, including references to Frank Zappa, Maxwell Smart, Pee Wee Herman, Baumrucker's friend, Stuart Troutman, and Japanese culture. Baumrucker was in his first year of medical school and the influence is pretty obvious.


Ahoy! wrote of Pogo Joe "Sound like Q*Bert? You bet". It criticized the sluggish controls, but concluded that "excellent" graphics and "the multiple speed variations make it perfect for a home with lots of kids".[1] Describing it as "a creative variation" on Q*Bert-style games, The Commodore 64 Home Companion stated that Pogo Joe "has excellent graphics and music".[2]


  1. ^ Moriarty, Tim (May 1984). "Pogo Joe". Ahoy!. pp. 59–60. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  2. ^ Beekman (1984). "Screenplay Software". The Commodore 64 Home Companion. p. 173. Retrieved August 19, 2016.

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