MANUFACTURER: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS
PRODUCT NUMBER: PHM 3052
PROGRAMMER: JOHN PLASTER
RETAIL PRICE: $39.95
Tombstone City Theme
Aliens / Loss of Life
| TOUCAN'S TRIVIA: Some great game
development stories were provided by John Plaster during an interview
back in early 1982 with "99er Magazine". The interview was about his
latest game, Tombstone City: 21st
Century, and excerpts from it are provided below. Be warned,
there is an explosive amount of interesting information contained here!
How about specifics of the game...how did these develop?
It was really what you'd consider spontaneous. I started putting the game together in April and got a working version of it in May. There really wasn't a whole lot of forethought to it. I started putting it on the screen as fast as I thought of it. So, from the conception of the idea, to the completion of the basics, we're talking about a four-week period.
Did the basic game scenario change any as the programming evolved?
First of all, there wasn't any real scenario at the beginning. It was just a capture-type game: monsters attack ships, and ships shoot monsters. When the game was just about completed, a full scenario was developed to fit the game elements. Management really had some problems rationalizing my Western-type background with a space theme. At first, my scenario consisted of an old ghost town being taken over by the government for a nuclear power site, with the inevitable nuclear accident occurring that causes the monsters to be generated...Somewhere along the line, management got upset by the idea of anything nuclear happening-especially a nuclear accident-so that scenario was completely thrown out, and eventually settled on the present Tombstone City: 21st Century [in which players find themselves in the 21st Century in an Old West ghost town threatened by an invading hoard of green alien monsters-villainous creatures called morgs who live on tumbleweeds and people].
How did you feel letting the game go after the final polishing was done?
Overall, I felt pretty good about the game. I was a little upset about a few things. One thing that I guess didn't make a whole lot of difference was the title of the game. They changed it from its original title [Saguaro City] to Tombstone City: 21st Century - the 21st Century to sort of justify the Western-based conflict. The other thing that I had to change was the actual tombstones to saguaro cactus. What are saguaro now were originally old Western-type crosses-with the two sticks forming a cross. That was objected to because of religious reasons. It made a little bit more sense originally when you actually had the tombstones in there. So when the tombstones were taken out and replaced with the saguaro cactus, it didn't make as much sense to me...but I guess it's not a big difference.
What final tips can you offer to players of the game?
The whole key for beginning players is to kill the monsters immediately when they've generated. This also goes for any player regardless of skill. You must know beforehand when the monster is coming out, and exactly where it is coming out from so that you can immediately shoot it to destroy the generating pair. For the more advanced player, keeping the safe area clear is probably the most important thing; you can't afford to kill the monsters next to the safe area. If this happens, try to set it up where you can use your "dragging" tactic to move the cactus away from the safe area.
| TOUCAN'S TRIVIA: As stated in the
interview above, the original name of Tombstone
City: 21st Century was Saguaro City.
Click on the link to the left to see screen shots of the original game.
.1981 Tombstone City Manual
Back to Cartridges T