Holey Moley

Holey Moley
Company: Atari
Model #:
Bob Polaro
Year: 1983

Port of the 1982 Rollertron Corp. 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 called Mole Attack by Rollertron Corp..  Rollertron licensed the game to TAI (Thomas Automatics, Inc.) for release in the US who decided to change the name of the game to Holey Moley in order to make a bad pun. 


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 video game.  This may be the reason Holey Moley got shelved.


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.


Version Cart Text Description
2/29/84 Holey Moley 2-29 Final version


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