Pogo Joe

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Pogo Joe
Pogo Joe Screenshot.png
Commodore 64 screenshot
Publisher(s) Screenplay
Designer(s) William F. Denman, Jr.
Oliver Steele
Platform(s) Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64
Release 1983
Genre(s) Platform game
Mode(s) Single-player

Pogo Joe is a computer game for the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit family, written by William F. Denman, Jr. and Oliver Steele. Michael Haire did the artwork, and Steven Baumrucker wrote the sound and music subroutines, designed and named the levels, and wrote the music. It was published by Screenplay in 1983. 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:

The default state.
The barrel has been jumped on.
The barrel has been jumped on twice (required on some levels).
The barrel has been jumped on three times (required on some levels).
A "smart bomb" barrel. Jumping on this kills every enemy on screen, and reverts the barrel to white.
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.

This was one of the first software projects that used a "team" approach, with game designers, programmers, musicians, and artists coming together to make the software work. Today this is the norm, but in 1983 this was a novelty.


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]


  1. ^ Moriarty, Tim (May 1984). "Pogo Joe". Ahoy!. pp. 59–60. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 

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