Oscar's Trash Race 10-20-82



Here’s an interesting oddity.  Although we all assumed that the graphic demo dated 12/3/82 was the earliest version of Oscars Trash Race to exist, it appears that there is an even earlier version.  What could be earlier than a static screen graphics demo you ask?  How about a completely different game?  It appears that much like Snow White, Oscar went through two different designs before it was released.  Although the two versions of OTR aren’t as radically different as the two versions of Snow White, they’re different enough to consider them separate ideas. 

The basic structure of this version is the same as the released one.  The player must select the trash can that shows the correct number of objects on the screen and collect the garbage (represented by blocks in this version instead of actual objects).  This version is simplified by only having to select the middle button of the row on the controller that matches the row the correct trash can is in rather than the actual correct number (so if the correct can is in the second row you would press the 5 key).  However instead of guiding the grouch in the can (is that like elf on the shelf?) back to the starting line before Slimy the worm cross the screen, the player mashes (and I do mean MASHES) the button to toss all that garbage into Oscar’s can at the bottom of the screen (gotta give Don Oscar his cut I guess).  After both players have finished Oscar will pop up briefly and the next round will begin.  In the final version Oscar was delegated to his own separate screen which would add up the number of objects for you.

One interesting thing to point out is that this prototype features a simultaneous competitive two player mode which actually fulfills the promise of a ‘Trash Race’.  In these two player modes each player can ‘tag’ the other before they can feed Oscar causing them to walk off the screen (thus denying them points).  However in this prototype BOTH players walk off the screen so this tactic is somewhat useless.  It’s assumed that this would have been fixed or tweaked in the final version.   The released version of the game has no such feature as the two player modes are played separately.

This prototype appears to still be in the middle stages of programming.  Most of the features seem to be present, but they’re buggy and sometimes don’t work right.  For example there’s no way to continue to the next stage in the two single player variations after feeding Oscar (the game just sits there).  Other bugs include the ‘dual tag’ bug mentioned above, incomplete game variations (some don’t seem to be any different and others whiles others do odd things like having the computer somewhat control the second player).  Sounds and music are also rather sparse consisting only of an opening tune that starts each level.

So why did this version of Oscar get trashed (you knew that joke was coming)?  No one is quite sure.  Although the concept is a different than the released version, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it that would lead one to believe that the end product would be unworkable.  The explanation could be as simple as poor focus group testing results, or something more complex like the programmer leaving the project and the new programmer having different ideas on how the game should look.  Until we find the programmer for this version we won’t know for sure.
Note: For some reason the colors in the emulator are off.  The ground appears brown instead of green and other colors are incorrect.  Here's how the colors should look:

Special thanks to Wickycolumbus for sharing this prototype with the community!


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