Kickman was an arcade title that was originally released to the wilds of the arcades of our youth back in 1981. By a little gaming company known as Midway, the same folks who handled the North American release of Space Invaders three years earlier – as well as the little known video game Pac-Man in 1980. In fact the popularity of that iconic character led Midway to – well – some would say overstep their licensing agreement when in an effort to meet demand for a new game they produced the originally unauthorized Ms. Pac-Man in 1982. When the arcade game was first released it was known under a much simpler title, that was Kick before being changed to Kick Man. In this latest Phosphor Dot Fossils video, Earl does explain why the name change took place – I will admit I never knew the answer to the reason for the altering of the name until today. It picked up the more common Kickman spelling I suppose when a port of the arcade title was released to the Commodore 64 in 1982 – an exceptional port and was my very first cartridge game for that beloved home computer. Just yesterday though Earl Green released a brand new Phosphor Dot Fossils video for something that is a little mind-blowing… Kickman was supposed to have been released for the Atari 2600 in 1983. There had been talk of this game in the past years and even some screenshots of the game in action but until earlier this week the game had not been made available for video game historians and enthusiasts to play themselves!
Alex Leavens it turns out was the programmer responsible for this port of Kickman and as Earl points out in the video – Alex was also responsible for the port of Midway’s 1981 arcade classic Gorf for the 2600. In addition he programmed the Crazy Climber port which was only made available as an exclusive Atari Fan Club cartridge – a rare game to say the very least. While Gorf (a fantastic game in my personal opinion) was released by CBS Electronics – Kickman was sadly not – since it was 1983 it probably had a little to do with the Video Game Crash of that year. We have Thomas Jentzsch to thank for getting this Atari 2600 version of Kickman up and running – this link to the AtariAge forum will explain what magic he worked to make it playable!
I think I have given you enough of taste of what to expect from Earl’s Phosphor Dot Fossils video for Kickman – now grab your favorite beverage and snack and enjoy the show. For even more pop culture related goodness by Earl – make sure to check out his own website, the Logbook.Com – absolutely one of the longest running sites for all your retro needs.