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
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