Coke Wins: The True Story
by Joe Santulli & John Hardie


Digital Press recently caught up with Christopher Omarzu at the Game Developerís Conference in San Jose, CA.

As we typically do, the probing began early and often. We knew Chris was involved with Atari but were not sure which games he had been responsible for developing. Interestingly enough, Chris gave us a list of familiar Atari titles as well as one that didnít quite match our lists:

"Good Luck, Charlie Brown"
"Oscar's Trash Race"
"Big Bird's Egg Catch"
"Pepsi Invaders"

PEPSI Invaders? That got us especially interested. This had become more than just a ďmatch the designer to the gameĒ project. It seemed as if we were onto something here.

As it turns out, Pepsi Invaders was written for a 1983 Coca-Cola Sales Convention. The convention was attended by all the top Coke Executives. Each exec got a complete Atari 2600 game system and a bunch of games including... Pepsi Invaders! This was the title originally given to the game. How it became Coke Wins is a mystery to everyone including Chris. Itís quite obvious that the ďinvadersĒ spell the word PEPSI.

And for those of you who own the game, REJOICE! There were only 125 of these made. Itís even more rare than we had imagined.

Hereís another interesting tid-bit Chris shared with us: Big Bird's Egg Catch was originally called "Grover's Egg Catch" and likewise Grover was originally called "Big Bird's Music Maker". The programmers were talking one day and they asked themselves, "Why would Grover be catching eggs? Thatís Big Birdís job, isnít it?" They decided to swap characters and that's how they ended up.

Special thanks to our own John Hardie for this exclusive detective work.

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