Preppie! (video game)
|Developer(s)||Star Systems Software|
|Genre(s)||Overhead view action|
Preppie! is an action video game written by Russ Wetmore for the Atari 8-bit family and published by Adventure International in 1982. A variant of Frogger starring a preppy instead of an amphibian, at the time of its release it was considered to have some of the best visuals and audio for the Atari computers.
Preppie! was followed by Preppie! II, also by Wetmore, in 1983. The sequel is a maze game. In January 2016, Wetmore released the source code for Preppie!, and Preppie! II to the public via the Internet Archive.
Preppie!'s gameplay follows the design established by Frogger: cross lanes of traffic, then maneuver across water by jumping on floating objects. The frog is recast as a preppy, and the setting moved to a country club where traffic consists of golf carts and reel mower-pushing groundskeepers, and canoes occupy the water (in addition to alligators and logs).
Instead of simply crossing from one side to the other, as in Frogger, the goal is to retrieve a golf ball from the top of the screen, then return it to the bottom of the screen. When all golf balls have been collected, the level is over. There are ten levels in all.
In a 1982 review for Antic, Robert DeWitt concluded "Al has a real winner here, even if the 'cover' concept is only remotely related to the game." In a subsequent issue, Preppie! was one of ten games chosen by Antic to be "among the most popular, interesting, and valuable programs yet written for your amusement."
Bill Kunkel of Electronic Games wrote in 1983, "Sure it sounds familiar, but what elevates Preppie! from the score of Frogger-clones on the software market is the enchanting four-part harmony sound effects and the stunning graphics." John J. Anderson of Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games stated that although gameplay was not original "the implementation is gorgeous". A COMPUTE! review also lauded the graphics and stated, "this program easily ranks among the best games to appear for the Atari computer to date." The Addison-Wesley Book of Atari Software 1983 gave an overall rating of "B-" writing, "Animation and graphics are very good" and "I can't say it's very original in design; but, like Frogger, it is lots of fun."
Released in 1983, Preppie! II is a similarly-themed maze game where the object is to paint the maze pink by moving over it. Elements of the original return as obstacles, including giant frogs, golf carts, and lawn mowers. The joystick button activates a time-limited cloak ability which allows the player to pass through the other occupants of the maze.
Wetmore mentioned a possible third game in the series when interviewed by Electronic Games in 1983, giving the tentative title as Preppies in Space. He was asked about this in 2005, and his response was posted to the AtariAge forums:
Some conceptual work was done on Preppie 3, but nothing ever came of it. When I was interviewed for Electronic Games (the only place I ever mentioned P3) I was in New York for an awards ceremony and had just come from a brainstorming session to come up with some talking points for the press. The interview was more to generate buzz than to promote future products, and when the bottom fell out of the games market in the coming months, I gave up game writing to focus on other types of software, notably HomePak.
- Pacific Coast Highway (1982), another Atari 8-bit Frogger clone
- Mr. F. Lea (1982), arcade game which includes a Frogger segment with lawnmowers
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