Trog © 1991 Midway.
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|Trog was released in February 1991. The word Trog comes from 'Troglodyte', a term that refers to a prehistoric cave-dweller or caveman.|
About the PROTOTYPE REV 4.00: This particular code revision is also referred to in other resources as 'BattleTrog'. This prototype (known in Midway as Trog Proto 4) represents the original concept for the game Trog. The plans called for a strategy game where the player character, a dinosaur, had to be manipulated via placing bones to block his or her path, similar to many home computer games of the time. However, it soon became clear on field tests that players were confused and frustrated by this method of control in an arcade setting, where such strategic thinking was rarely required. Some surveys suggested that many players expected the game to be a simple "Pac-Man"-style affair. Many customers also were concerned/laughed openly at the action buttons labelled 'Bone', the term also being used in American slang for certain 'mature' acts and at least one cabinet panel was defaced to add an 'R' to the end of the word. As a consequence of this disastrous location test, the game was nearly axed entirely. Indeed, it probably would have been had it not been for the stop motion animation created for use as sprites in game - the story is that its high cost resulted in many of the senior employees at Midway demanding that Trog remain a going concern, with a new game mechanic built around the sprites. As it turned out, the game was turned into a "Ms. Pac-Man" clone, the small and large pills replaced with eggs and pineapples. It has been argued by some, including myself, that the use of trackballs instead of joysticks would salvage the original game mechanic, but closer inspection of the hardware through the MAME emulation suggests that 4-player trackball play, or indeed any trackball play could not be included without major complications, or indeed a whole new Midway hardware unit being devised.
About the REV PA6-PAC: This prototype (known in Midway as Trog II Proto 6) represents the first major step towards the final Trog concept. The deviation from the standard naming system (the game would normally be listed as Trog PA6 only) represents the change in the project, the -PAc extension added to make it perfectly clear that this was a "Pac-Man" clone. With the original plans for a strategy game abandoned due to a poor location test, new thinking was required to salvage the project - it is rumoured that too much had been invested in the animation for the project to be canned at this stage. Money became very tight on the Trog II project (Trog I being the abandoned strategy game) and so a total rewrite of the concept was out of the question - they would have to make do with the existing code libraries for the project, with only minor alterations. Pushed for time and funding, the programmers decided to make the game into the Pac-Man clone many expected it to be, as this would require the least recoding, all that would be required would be to make the dinosaurs fully controllable, instead of the guided automatons they were originally. However, it was clear that the Trog AI would make them too good for even the best of players to overcome through clever moves, so a 'Punch' option was added which replaced the 'Bone' function and led to the only new animation added in the project, - a 3 frame jab which looked poor compared to that of the Trogs due to the time pressures on Haeger at the time of animation. With this established, the programmers then altered the level order to provide a more suitable learning curve for the game, however this destroyed the main purpose of the 'Trog's Cave' intermissions screens and meant that the order of Trog's thoughts didn't fully match his actions. Also, although some of the 'thought balloon' animations (created on the fly through the game ROMS) were changed to remove the bone breaking scenes relating to proto 4, the cave drawings (done by professional 2-D animators) could not be altered due to time and money considerations. The original ending of the game was also scrapped, as it was believed to be an anticlimax, so another hastily animated island was added for an extra challenge, purported to be Trog's Cave (Note the use of the intermission style lettering coupled with superimposed text straight from the ROM, again new graphics were out of the question). However, most of the other features remained intact, with a Complex Egg Lay option being added in the release versions to allow owners to change the egg patterns back from the Pac-Man style to the original layouts (it is believed that there may be a version of the game which put the original mechanic back in too, but no evidence of this has been found).
Trog makes appearances in latter Midway titles. As a shootable easter egg in the game "Revolution X". Additionally, the arcade cabinet makes a brief appearance in the 1991 movie "Terminator 2 - Judgment Day"; two girls attend the machine inside a shopping mall arcade as the T-1000 questions them regarding the whereabouts of John Connor. In the horror rail shooter arcade game "CarnEvil", Trog can be found in the Freak Show portion of the game as an attraction in the background. He is frozen in a block of ice and labeled 'Frozen In Time!'. The dino characters also appear as enemies in the Rickety Town level of the game.
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