Friends, last evening I came across a new video from our friend Willie of Arcade USA – he was tackling a 1981 arcade game that I had never heard of before entitled Thief. I was talking about it with Earl Green and he informed me that he too tackled the game in a Phosphor Dot Fossils video last year – in fact it has been a little over a year as he uploaded it on June 2nd of 2019. Thief was developed and produced by Pacific Novelty which released a handful of arcade titles back in the Golden Age of Video Games – such as Shark Attack, NATO Defense, as well as The Amazing Adventures of Mr. F.Lea and His Friends. Looking up Thief online it would appear that it was by and large the more popular of the games produced by the company – which might have had a little something to do with it being a maze game much like with Namco’s Pac-Man. In all honesty I feel it would be fair to say that Thief places a toe over the line of being a rip-off or at the very least a clone of Pac-Man.
Although as Earl Green points out in his coverage of Thief the game most certainly had a wonderful gimmick that helped it stand out from the other maze games of the day. Pacific Novelty had a memorable novelty installed in their games which in the case of Thief was eight minutes of dialogue – simulating Police scanner chatter that was played on a tape unit capable of auto-reverse within the cabinet itself – courtesy of a leaderless cassette tape. In addition after completing each level the Player’s actions would be given an increasing level of seriousness as to their supposed crimes – starting with Loitering and going all the way to Public Enemy #1.
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.