|Steve Woita (Program)
& Jerome Domurat (Graphics)
|Taz was originally
Taz is a highly original game by Quadrun author Steve Woita
starring that furry eating machine Taz, the Tasmanian Devil.
While most 2600 gamers have at least heard of Taz, many do not
know that this game also played a very important role in Atari
history. Taz was the first game in which the programmer was
actually credited. Atari had a long standing policy of not
letting the public know who programmed it's games, as they were
afraid other companies would hire their programmers away (which
happened anyway as internal phone lists and talkative co-workers
were also a thing). Steve Woita said he was going to quit
unless Atari gave him credit for his game, and luckily for Steve
the gamble paid off. Atari finally relented and started to
put the programmers name on the back of the box starting with Taz.
The concept of Taz is simple. You must move Taz from row
to row eating everything you can while avoiding the sticks of
dynamite. Each level is represented by what type of food Taz
is attempting to eat (hamburgers, root beer, ice cream,
fudgsicles, apple cores, turnips, tomatoes, sundaes), and after
Taz has racked up enough points, the food will change to the next
type. As the levels progress the everything starts moving
faster and faster until the player hits the "Crazed Wave" where
everything speeds up dramatically (this will happen twice over the
course of the game). While this may sound rather repetitive,
there's actually a fair bit of strategy involved. In
addition to being able to up and down, Taz can also move from side
to side in each row. The player needs to decide if they're
going to stay to the center of the screen where they have more
time to see and avoid the dynamite, or if they're going to take
the risk of chasing down food items that are closer to the sides
of the screen. Taz really is the ultimate "twitch" game.
Taz is also known for its famous Easter Egg.
If the player puts in a special code (hit select 22 times before
starting the game), the Crazed Wave will become the Woita Wave
(named after the programmer). The manual also mentioned a
mystery food but didn't say anything about how to find it.
While this isn't a true Easter Egg, it's a hard secret to
find. To see the mystery food (a pie) the player needs to
complete three full courses of food which would happen around
527,500 points. Not only is this extremely difficult to do
(without emulators that is), the player might not even notice the
new food as they're simply concentrating on not dying at that
point. Still, it's a little extra that made the game last
longer than it should.
Since Taz was based off a popular American cartoon,
Atari thought that overseas players might not know who Taz
was. So Taz was changed to Asterix for European
audiences. Asterix is a French cartoon character who was
very popular over in Europe and Atari felt that European players
could identify with him better. The game is exactly except
for the graphics which were changed to match the new cartoon
license. The Crazed Wave was also changed to the Obelix Wave
where you controlled Obelix for a while. Obelix was
Asterix's pal who eventually ended up getting an Atari game of his
own. Because of this Taz was only released in NTSC format.
||No Graphics on the Title Screen
||PAL format! Title screen
||Title screen spelled Tazz.
||Title screen still spelled Tazz
to 2600 Software