Grover's Music Maker

Grover's Music Maker

Company: Atari
Model #:
Stephan Keith (Programmer & Graphics) & Laura Scholl (Graphics)
Year: 1983
Originally called Monkey Music

When Atari decided to create a children's series they needed several popular characters to slip into the games, naturally Sesame Street was one of the first places they looked.  Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Ernie, Big Bird, and Grover were all given their own games in the Children's Workshop Series (CCW).  A sixth CCW title called Count's Castle was also planned but never finished.  Interestingly GMM pre-dates Atari's decision to start shoehorning CCW characters into games and originally was called Monkey Music.  As the title suggests, Monkey Music featured a dancing monkey instead of the jumping blue hairball you see today.  Atari also considered having Big Bird be the host of this game before settling on Grover and giving Big Bird the Egg Catch gig.  What do Grover or Big Bird have to do with music you ask?  About as much as a dancing monkey does...


Grover's Music Maker was an attempt by Atari to introduce children to the music through some well known (and some not so well known) children's tunes and the dancing antics of their pal Grover (evil!).  Selecting one of the twenty letters (A - T), will cause Grover to start jumping around like maniac while some music is played in the background.  It may just be me, but for some reason Grover looks like he's in pain as he's jumping around on the stage.  Perhaps he's being shocked by the 2600 and those dancing antics are just involuntary muscle twitches?  Then again maybe not...



Children can also make Grover flail about in pain... err... I mean dance to his own beat (hehe) by pressing the various buttons on the Kids Controller.  I suppose children would have gotten a kick out of this, but adults would have quickly learned where the volume knob on the TV was.  The best part of the game is playing "Name That Tune" with the various snippets of music each letter produces.  Some of these tunes are fairly obvious (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Go Tell Aunt Rhodie, My Hat Has Three Corners, etc.), while others range from the obscure (Sur le pont d'Avignon, Bobby Shafto), to the unknown.  To this day players still haven't been able to figure out exactly what all the tunes are.  This may be due to the fact that the prototype is unfinished (it's still missing U - Z) or just bad 2600 instrumentals.



The known tunes are:

A Old McDonald Had a Farm
B Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
C Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
D Over the River and Through the Woods
E Hush Little Baby
F The Itsy Bitsy Spider
G My Hat Has Three Corners
H Skip To My Lou
I Three Blind Mice
J Hickory Dickory Dock
K Do You Know the Muffin Man?
L A-Tisket, A-Tasket
M Go Tell Aunt Rhodie
N Sur le pont d'Avignon (Over the bridge of Avignon)
O I'm a Little Teapot
P Go In and Out the Window
Q This Old Man
R ?
S ?
T Bobby Shafto



It's unknown why Grover got canned, but it may be due to Atari pulling the plug on the 2600 Children's series after its less than stellar performance.  Other reasons Grover got the axe may have been: poor beta testing results, limited long term playability (just how long can you make Grover jump around like an idiot?), or the fact that Grover is the scariest Muppet ever to grace God's green earth!  No matter what the reason for its cancellation, Grover's Music Maker is an interesting attempt at a genre not covered by any other 2600 game.  Had it been released it probably would have gone on to moderate success, but this was not to be.  Instead Grover was blacklisted, labeled an outcast, and forced to sell his body on the streets to feed his ever-growing drug habit.  Oh What a tangled web Atari weaves.


Prototype Box

Version Cart Text Description

Monkey Music EPROM Cartridge 8-18

Early version of GMM featuring a monkey
10/27/82 Grover 10-27-82  

Grover's Music EPROM Cartridge 21/Nov/82


Grover 12-29-82

Best Electronics version

Grover 1-18-83



Return to 2600 Software