MANUFACTURER: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS
PRODUCT NUMBER: PHM 3229
.PROGRAMMERS: JOHN M. PHILLIPS / MIKE ARCHULETA
RETAIL PRICE: $29.95
| TOUCAN'S TRIVIA: Many people incorrectly
think Hopper is a Frogger or Q*Bert clone
without ever playing
the game (since its name sounds like the title of a Frogger or
Q*Bert knock-off), however it's actually a clone of the
(as mentioned below by John Phillips, the programmer of Hopper).
| TOUCAN'S TRIVIA: Here's a story that John
Phillips, the famous TI-99/4A programmer, provided on how Hopper came
"While I was working on Moon Mine, my wife was working in the documentation group for TI (she wrote part of the Moon Mine manual). There she met a man by the name of Mike Archuleta, who was a Supervisor in the QA group. We all went to a party together and she introduced me to Mike. Mike was brilliant and really wanted to do some programming. He came up with the idea of doing a game together, since he needed the technical guidance.
We went out to an arcade and found a coin operated game called, "Pengo." It had a penguin who pushed big ice blocks around the screen. We liked the concept and decided to use it. Instead of a penguin, we chose a Kangaroo. Instead of ice blocks, we chose crates. We did a storyboard on the game and divided up the programming. We also chose the TI Mini Memory cartridge as our intended platform, since there were no quality games that would fit in the 3.5K of RAM it contained.
We coded for weeks and spent several late, late nights cutting code and optimizing code to get it to fit into the Mini Memory [cartridge]. Eventually, we did. I remember calling my parents at 4:00am because I was so excited that we had finished it. We submitted to TI and they accepted it as a Class A submission. They liked the game so much, though, that they asked us to add more to it because they wanted to produce a standalone cartridge of the game. So, we added title screens, two players, more levels, a surprise level, etc. Hopper was produced and released just before TI announced they were killing the 99/4A and both Mike and I received royalty payments for about a year and a half."
| TOUCAN'S TRIVIA: Secret Code
with the other games John Phillips worked on, there is a Cheat
Mode which can be accessed from the game's title screen. Pressing the
"*" button will bring up the option to select which round you would
like to begin on (from 0-9). Seems like John decided not to make it too
easy for the player to cheat, since usually there is also an option for
the number of lives you wish to start with...Therefore, you better be
quick with the joystick since your lives are bound to be used up fast
on the higher levels!
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