Port of the 1982 Tai Coin-Op
Remember those old arcade Whack-A-Mole machines? Well
now you can play Whack-A-Mole in the privacy of your own home with
Holey Moley for the Atari 2600. You heard me right, Whack-A-Mole!
But this time without the tickets and crappy prizes (only
1200 more tickets and I can get that nose kazoo!). Although
Holey Moley may look like an original game, it is actually a port
of a very rare and obscure 1982 arcade game by Tai (their only arcade
Back in 1983 Atari decided to start digitalizing all the physical
games and puzzles that were all the rage at the time under the mistaken
impression that any game done on a computer automatically becomes
10 times better. After Atari Video Cube failed to take the
2600 community by storm (being an Atari fan club exclusive didn't
help), Atari probably got skittish about releasing another physical
turned digital videogame. This may be the reason Holey Moley
As I mentioned earlier, Holey Moley is the 2600 equivalent of
Whack-A-Mole, only this time there are a few extras to keep it interesting.
There are three different kinds of Moles to whack in this game,
point values are based on when whack them.
||Standard Mole - These are the normal everyday
Moles that you'll see most often. Whacking them is worth
10 to 40 points.
||King Mole - This little guy is bright red and
wears a crown. He's a little faster than the Standard
Mole and whacking them is worth 30 to 100 points.
||Acorns - Every now and then what looks
like the backside of a Mole will pop up through the holes (it's
really an acorn though). Whacking an acorn will cost you
30 to 50 points.
Thankfully Bob Polaro was thinking ahead when he designed the
controls for this game. Instead of using the joystick to control
the hammer (which would have been slow and awkward), Holey Moley
uses the Kids Controller (or the Keyboard Controller, or even the
Video Touch Pad) to help you whack Moles at lightning speed. Each
button on the controller corresponds to a hole on the screen, pressing
the button will cause the hammer to whack that hole. These
controls are intuitive and very easy to learn.
Each board you are given a set amount of time to
whack as many Moles as you can, trying to score enough points to
meet the 300 point level minimum. After each level you are
given bonus points for every point you score above the level requirement.
Every third round you are treated to a strange sort of bonus
game where the whole screen is filled with Moles, which you can
whack for bonus points. But there's a catch, the controls
are randomized so you must guess which button corresponds to which
hole. After three sets of "Bonus Moles" you move
on to the next level.
Whack-A-M. I mean Holey Moley is a fun and entertaining
game, but it does tend to get old fast. Without the physical
act of picking up that huge padded mallet and smacking some poor
plastic mole over the head, the game loses some of its charm. Still,
Holey Moley is fun in short spurts and probably would have done
ok if released commercially. According to Bob Polaro, Holey
Moley was shelved due to the change in management at Atari. Whatever
the reason for its cancellation, Holey Moley appears to be complete
and fully playable. So if you can't get down to your local
arcade and you have some frustration to work out, try Holey Moley.
You may find that it does the trick.
||Holey Moley 2-29
to 2600 Software