We love games made for unlikely hardware, and PETSCII Bros. fits that bill like a duck’s dentures. Like we explained in the post about that PET demo from a while ago, the PET didn’t have changeable graphics characters and no bitmap mode at all, and so it wasn’t what we’d consider a games machine. But it did come with a set of interesting graphics characters that, among other things, had a set of 16 characters that let programmers use the screen as a super-low-res 80×50 pixel display.
PETSCII Bros is a PET action game that uses those characters (long called “PETSCII” as a cheeky reference to ASCII) for an actual game, that plays similarly to Nintendo’s classic Mario Bros. arcade game. Of course you’ll need a PET, or an emulator (such as the one that comes with VICE) to play it. Or if you’re just passing interested, you could watch this video to see how it works:
We love weird old game commercials from before (or in this case during) the crash, before games and game ads began skew quite so much towards the stereotypical tastes of teenage males, and before companies like Nintendo became such jealous guardians of their products.
And just look at all the effort that must have gone into this commercial! This isn’t just people sitting in front of a TV raving about a game, these actors are wearing costumes and running from puppet creatures on an actual set! And this may well be the first human actor to ever portray Luigi in front of a camera (he may look like Mario with his color scheme, but his hat says Luigi, and he’s calling Mario for help). It even calls back to the theme song of Car 54 Where Are You. It’s a shame that the game couldn’t possibly have moved enough units to justify this production.
It’s a great article! It starts out covering the classic-era games everyone remembers, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario Bros., and then slowly gets less and less well-known. It even mentions the two Gottlieb pinball games!