Company: Atari
Model #:
Year: 1983
Muppet-Go-Round was released by CBS as Letter-Go-Round for the Atari 8-bit computers


Muppet Go-Round (along with Astro Grover and Big Bird’s Hide and Seek) was part of Atari’s planned children’s line of games for the Atari 5200.  These titles would have utilized the 5200 Kid’s Controller, which was actually just a giant keypad that would have easy for children with small hands to use.  However, while the 2600 children’s line was released (featuring completely different games), the 5200 games and controller never saw the light of day.  The games were however eventually released by CBS on the Atari 8-bit computers, although some were slightly retooled.


As you may have guessed, Muppet-Go-Round is an an education game aimed at kids involving some sort or rotating device (in this case a ferris wheel).   However instead of starring the Muppets as the title suggests, this game really stars the characters from Sesame Street instead.  Why the discrepancy is anyone's guess, but the game was renamed to the more generic Letter-Go-Round when it hit the Atari 8-bit computers a year later.  It is assumed that the game actually did star the Muppets at one point in its development and was switched over to the Sesame Street characters sometime early in its development.  Like Astro Grover, Muppet-Go-Round consists of a series of educational mini-games.


Upper Case Matching

As the title suggest, this mini-game involves matching upper case letters.  After selecting your character (Cookie Monster, Grover, or Barkley) you will see a large ferris wheel with a bunch of letters on it.  The character you selected will scoot across the screen with a letter than you must match.  Each character has their own mode of transportation: Cookie Monster is in a bathtub?!?, Grover is on a skateboard (sort of), and Barkley, being the boring dog he, just runs across the screen.  After being presented with the letter you must stop the ferris wheel when the letter that matches the one presented is directly above it.  While this isn't difficult for adults, it might be considered challenging for small children since there's an element of speed involved in the game that is lacking from other CCW developed kids games.  After getting three correct answers a 'test your strength' style meter is constructed and all the Sesame Street characters come out to do some very creepy looking cheerleading (shudder).


Lower Case Matching

This mini-game is similar to the Upper Case Matching mini-game but, you guessed it, involves matching lower case letters.  You're so clever...


Mixed Case Matching

In this mini-game you must match upper case to lower case letters and vice-versa.  Due to the limited graphics of the 5200 this can be a bit more difficult than it should be.


One Little Word

Another spelling style mini-game.  In this game you must match the letters that spell out the word listed below the ferris wheel.  So for example if the word MAT was shown below the ferris wheel you would have to stop the wheel when the M, A, and T were above the word.  This game seems sort of pointless to me, but then again I'm not a 5 year old (well at least not in the eyes of the law anyway).


What’s Missing?

Similar to the One Little Word mini-game, here you must figure out which letter is missing from the word.  So if the letters M _ Y were displayed you would have to stop the ferris wheel when the A was over the word.  This one could be a bit tricky for youngsters who aren't up on their spelling yet.


Spell The Secret Word

The last of the six mini-games, this one is the most difficult of them all (which isn't saying much).  Here you must guess what the secret word is Hangman style.  Since you only have six letters to choose from and infinite guesses, this isn't too hard, but it might give a younger child some trouble.  There's also an interesting issue where perfectly acceptable words aren't accepted because they're not the secret word the computer is looking for (such as FIG instead of FIT).  Then again, the most common word is the right answer, so this isn't likely to be a problem for kids.


Muppet-Go-Round is an amusing educational game, and was all but finished before Atari canceled it (only missing sound and music).  Since the 5200 was being touted as the Personal Arcade Machine (PAM was the 5200’s code name), it was decided that there was no room for children’s titles on it.  Why Atari ever considered making children’s games for the 5200 in the first place is anyone’s guess, but they may have simply decided to change strategies after seeing how the market was shaping up.  All this work did not go to waste however as Muppet-Go-Round and the rest of the CCW developed titles were released on the Atari 8-bit computers by CBS. 


Atari 5200 Kids Controller Prototype picture #1 (courtesy of AGH)

Atari 5200 Kids Controller Prototype picture #2 (courtesy of AGH)


Version Cart Text Description
?/??/83 Muppet Go Round Missing Sound


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