The Rumor Mill
Our "Research and Detective work" section

Subject name What we know and/or why it is significant

Pac-man lawsuit

As reported in a major magazine of the time, Atari most definitely DID put legal pressure on Commodore, for their "Jelly Monsters" clone of the arcade game "Pac-Man". This is of serious interest to gaming historians, as knowing this for sure, along with a date, lets us begin to work out some cause-and-effect scenarios, throughout the industry. (Thanks to Timo Raito, for typing in this major text.)

Commodore's four missing cart part numbers.

If you look at the cart rarity list, you may notice that Commodore's 19xx part number series has four "holes" in it. We know CBM had plans, but not what those plans were. We can pretty much cross off three of the four, now. Brent Santin of Ontario recently found some interesting catalogs from September of 1982. These were listings by a retailer in Nova Scotia. They imply that CBM must have just told its retail clients they were releasing various titles soon. It seems that "Wizard of Wor" and "Dog Patch" were planned, along with what appears to be a clone of the award-winning arcade game "Phoenix". (We still have no idea what Vic-1903 was going to be, however?)

Space Vultures

Atari bought the rights to "Phoenix" from its owner, Centuri, at some unknown point in 1982. It appears that most companies had wanted a home port of "Phoenix". Atari most likely bought the *exclusive* rights to the game, to cut all of its competitors off at the pass, and to boost sales of its Atari 2600 VCS unit and upcoming 5200 system.

Note the timing; Atari's threatened legal action against Commodore (Aug 1982) had begun just as Commodore was announcing that they planned to release more games (Aug or Sep 1982). Note also that Commodore had just announced the release of their new C64 computer, earlier that summer. Note also that at about this time, Commodore had already made some sort of licensing deal with "Bally / Midway" to release various of its older arcade games.

With hardware that would be much better than its competitors, and pre-existing licensing deals to work with, Commodore probably decided just to let the Vic20 die off, at this point, and to push the C64 system hard. The entire industry was fighting hard, in fact, and every advantage counted. It made sense to switch over, not to fight.

However, note this; if Commodore was talking about making games like "Space Vultures" available soon, CBM was most likely working on them. The planned releases may or may not have been made commercially available, after Atari's threats. But protos may exist?

In early 1983, Atari again made news, by sueing Imagic, alleging that their Intellivision version of "Demon Attack" was essentially Phoenix. It may not be related, but some time in 1982 Emerson released a game called "Space Vultures" for their Arcadia 2001 home system.

This section just recently added. We'll flesh it out
whenever we locate new information to add here.

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