THE MUSIC MACHINE - ATARI 2600 VCS
This game was only sold in
religious bookstores. Its based on a line of The Music
Machine products that also included LPs sold by Sparrow.
Music Machine is listed as a rarity of 10 "Unbelievably Rare" on AtariAge: "These games are almost impossible to find in the wild. Even collectors who have been at it for years may never run across one of these, and they often make up the showcase of an individual's collection. These rarely show up even on Ebay, and if they do there will most likely be a bidding war."
FRONT AND BACK
Symbols representing character-building qualities (the Fruit of the Spirit) are raining down from above. Stevie and Nancy need your help to collect the symbols and avoid the mischievous pudgeons... and with each gift of Love you collect, the symbols rain heavier... and faster! The gameplay is similar to Kaboom!
You can play the game on line by clicking here.
WHAT IS THE MUSIC MACHINE?
Music Machine Video on YouTube
The Music Machine
System: Atari 2600
Model #: GCG 1001T
Year of Release: 1983
Media Type: Cartridge
Number of Players: 1 - 2
Controller: Atari Paddles
This is in its original shrink wrap. The box is in great condition! There is slight "L" shaped damage on the right hand side of the back where cartridge inside pushed into the cardboard. Being sealed, I can't attest to the condition of the cartridge or the instructions, but you can see the cartridge through the peg holes in the box.
I've never seen it myself, but you can see pictures of it here.
HISTORY OF THIS SPECIFIC GAME
I was a game developer at Epyx where I worked on Summer Games, Winter Games, California Games for the 2600. When Epyx folded, it was bought out by Bridgestone Media Group. I went with that purchase. Bridgestone had some video projects with the Agapeland people who made the Music Machine songs and such. I was creating educational software using Agapeland intellectual property (specifically the mouse characters from the Amazing Book). I discovered an old box of sample items from Agapeland including a child's bowl, cup, organizer, stuffed animals, and the Music Machine cartridge. When I eventually left the company, I was allowed to keep these items as memorabilia. That was 10-11 years ago. I guess I've kept it (aside from my natural pack-rat tendencies) because it has historical value aside from its rarity. It's the world's first religious video game. I several years ago I took pictures before and posted them on the net (you can see them on AtariAge in the rarity section). Back then it still had a store sticker on it that read: "For Display Only" That sticker has since fallen off and been lost. I'm not sure why I never opened the box. Mostly because I had heard about the value of "unopened" and I was able to download an emulator ROM that astified my curiosity about the game. I guess that's a moral about how emulation can help preserve history: it keeps historical items from getting used up.
How it surfaced now: I'm in the process of moving, and we've been going though our stuff looking for what to get rid of. My teenage son went on eBay and Google to see what we could get for some of our old video games, and discovered the information here at AtariAge (Thanks!). Needless to say we were pretty excited! However, we couldn't find it! No matter how we searched, it was nowhere to be found. We searched literally every box in every closet and still couldn't find it. We has almost come to the conclusion that it had been thrown away. We were looking through the boxes under my bed one more time, when I asked my son Andrew if he could see any other boxes under the bed. He said yes! There was one small box that had been pushed back behind the others that we had never searched. He pulled it out and there it was! Our treasure!
Compare GCG 1001T with GCG 100T. These numbers do not match. It's apparent that this got past the proofreaders.
THE KABOOM CONTROVERSY
There has been speculation
that this game uses code directly stolen from Kaboom! While the
game concept was obviously based on Kaboom!, there are some real
1. In Music Machine, there are two things dropping stuff: the Music Machine (which drops gifts of the Spirit), and Mr. Pims (who drops Pudgeons). Kaboom has one criminal.
2. In Music Machine, you have to discern between the gifts and the Pudgeons, rather than just catching bombs.
3. In Music Machine, there are a variety of objects to catch, not just the single bomb object.
4. In Music Machine, there are Stevie and Nancy holding a basket, while Kaboom! has a catcher that apparently changes during the game.
5. In Music Machine, there is a number of lives indicator, while Kaboom! has the word Activision.
6. In Music Machine, you get a higher score by catching the heart (love).
7. The background color changes are different between the games: 4 changes for Music Machine, 2 for Kaboom!
8. Music Machine has black bars on the sides of the screen, while Kaboom! has color changes going all the way across.
9. The active screen is shorter in Music Machine.
So, while The Music Machine owes a lot to Kaboom!, if code was taken from Kaboom then the bulk of it would be useless. As a 2600 programmer myself, I will say the the screen "kernel" would be dramatically different between the games. In 2600 programming, there's no such thing as just plugging in new art. While an artist may be involved, the programmer codes the art dynamically as the scanline draws the screen from top to bottom, and any difference at all represents significant code change.