Peter Pack-Rat © 1984 Atari Games.
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|Peter Pack Rat was released in July 1985 (even if titlescreen says 1984).|
Although only 160 Peter Pack Rat units were produced from the US factory, many arcade owners purchased the conversion kit (538 produced) which was marketed and readily available from Atari at a lower price than a new system.
Peter Pack Rat, as with all the Atari System 1 games, was a very distracting game in the arcade. It would constantly play the background music when no one was playing it. The Atari System 1 speaker system had a great acoustic arrangement. Players would be immersed in a sea of sound allowing them to really get into the game play. Unfortunately for others, they could hear the same thing on the other side of the room!
Many arcade owners, not wanting to mess with accessing the setup menu of the game, would just unplug the cabinet after receiving numerous noise complaints. The game wasn't much of a money-maker so it probably saved money in energy costs by being off.
Peter Pack Rat had a rather unique control panel configuration. Throw buttons were on both the left and right sides of the joystick and could be used interchangeably. They also doubled as the 1 Start and 2 Start buttons. The joystick was an 8-way handle with a small button on top which was the jump button. The joystick was notorious for breaking. To make matters worse, Atari didn't make it easy to get repair parts for it and charged a great deal for them. Peter Pack Rat was down quite often.
In all scenes there are placeholders for the shiny objects Peter must collect. Some of these placeholders do not match the object that goes in them. It is surmised that Atari may have thought some of the objects were inappropriate and changed them at the last minute. The Atari developers did not have enough time to rewrite the background code before the game went into production. If you look closely you can make out a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and a stop sign. There are other mismatches but the placeholders are too generic-looking to identify the original object.
Jeff Peters holds the official record for this game with 910,875 points. Note : Jeff Peters may hold the official record but the world's best Peter Pack Rat player is Curtis Sneddon. He has achieved a score of over 1,600,000 points and played the arcade version until it crashes at level 58. The level before it crashes has no enemies and the levels leading up to that point have fewer and fewer enemies making the final levels of the game extremely easy. The last level ends with Peter Pack Rat's normal victory dance then the game resets to the introduction screen.
Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (That's Atari Music : G.S.M. Atari Games 1 - PCCB-00066) on 21/07/1991.
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