Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Shire. Baggins."

Wow...where did this cartridge come from? As you can tell from the box art it was based on the Ralph Bakshi movie back in 1978. So what happened? Why didn't I play this as a fresh faced youth in 1983?

Well, it was never released is the short answer. In fact it seems that people who called Parker Brothers inquiring about it were told it had sold out, though like previously stated it hadn't been available in the first place.

The prototype box above was sold in 2001 on Ebay. It's official title in the advertised game manuals was Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell.

But the game is available now thanks to the kind folks at Atariage and a former employee of Parker Brothers, Mark Lesser, who gave the site the original cartridge he used to program the game.
Mark Lesser was also the programmer of Frogger II: Threedeep! but more importantly he programmed all of those old Mattel Electronics handheld sports and racing games.
The two screen shots above are of course from the Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell, I like the one with the charging Ringwraith and though its hard to make out the image, Frodo, is a little to the left of the road.
Characters that pop up in the game besides Frodo are Samwise, Aragorn, Gandalf, Tom Bombadil (really?), and Glorfindel.


Lightbulb Detective Agency said...

woah, that's crazy! the cover is neat.

Vic Sage said...

I'm just amazed that the orginal programmer would gift Atariage with the orginal program cartridge. Men like that should be well rewarded for their love of their unfinished dreams/projects.

Dax said...

I like that the game apparently keeps count of your wounds.

I had two of those handheld Mattel sports games (I eventually ended up taking them apart for fun...I went through that kind of phase one summer)...a football one and a basketball one. The football one confounded me, and probably was responsible for my inability to ever understand that sport.