Company: Atari
Model #:
Scott Smith (Programmer), Mimi Nyden (Graphics), and Robert Vieria (Sound)
Year: 1984
Gremlins was codenamed Gargoyle


Gremlins is one few examples of where the Atari 2600 version of a game was totally different than its 8-bit counterpart.  While the 5200 version was a action game where Billy walked around smacking the hell out of Gremlins with a big stick, the 2600 version was a strange Kaboom type game with an equally strange shooting screen thrown in.  Not bad, just different...

Help! It's Raining Mogwai and Gremlins!  This line in the manual just about sums up the object game.  For some strange reason Mogwai are jumping off the roof in an attempt to dive bomb a few hamburgers.  You control Billy who must catch these suicidal Mogwai before they hit the ground.  Miss eight Mogwai and you'll end up at the Gremlin shooting stage.  During this stage you must shoot all the Gremlins (that's right, blow 'em away) coming from the top of the screen.  If things get out of hand you can use one of your three flashcubes to temporarily blind the slimy buggers.  In later levels there are puddles of water than will cause the Gremlins to multiply, but it never really increases the difficulty significantly.  Once you've wiped out the Gremlin horde its back to catching suicidal Mogwai again. 


Graphically Gremlins is a nice looking game, except for some reason Billy has turned into a middle-aged man with large pink bald head.  If I had onecomplaint it would have to be in the gameplay, there's just not enough excitement to keep the game going for very long (as is often the problem in movie based games).  If they had expanded on the shooting stage and nixed the Mogwai catching level, Atari might have had something going here.  Unfortunately programmer Scott Smith was was new to 2600 programming and was under a tight schedule to get the game done in time (you'd think after the E.T. fiasco Atari would have learned not to rush the programmers).  In all fairness it would be nearly impossible to port the 5200 version to the 2600, but I'm still trying to figure out what the roof diving Mogwai have to do with the movie.  Call it artistic license I guess.



Version Cart Text Description

Gargoyle 3/12/84

Very different colors

Gremlins 4-23-84

Final Version


Return to 2600 Software