Earl Green has chosen an arcade title to demonstrate as well as discuss today that until a couple years back was a complete mystery to me. Up front as I say pretty much all the time on the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast – I am in no way an expert when it comes to classic video games – definitely not like Earl. So a few years back when having dinner with my Family at the local Red Robin, I spent some time playing the multicade cabinet they had set up in the foyer. To be fair there was actually a pretty good selection of classic arcade titles to choose from on this particular cabinet, such as Dig-Dug, Frogger, Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, and Defender to point out a few of the highlights. But also on this multicade were a few games I had never heard before like the 1985 beat ’em up Shao-Lin’s Road, 1981’s Dambusters, and Crush Roller – which I would later learn was the original title for 1981’s Make Trax. I was fascinated by this bizarre multi-level but incredibly fun maze game – where I was tasked with guiding a paint brush in attempt to not only paint the entirety of said maze… but avoid two enemy fishes?
I have mentioned in the past that the ‘anything goes’ attitude to the early years of video game design is something I am continuously being amazed by. I mean at what point in the development of Make Trax did the developers think that a yellow and blue fish would make the perfect antagonists? You also have to contend with the likes of a mouse, a cat, a runaway tire, a bird, and even an invisible man messing up your fresh paint with footprints and other animal excrement – making you revisit areas to paint back over their tracks. As Earl points out himself in his video for Make Trax, this 1981 arcade title was most assuredly influenced by the popularity of 1980’s Pac-man – but in truth has managed to become a game that stands on its own.
I think I have given you enough of taste of what to expect from Earl’s Phosphor Dot Fossils video for Make Trax – now take a few minutes out of your busy schedule 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 best and longest running sites for all your retro needs.