Bumpomov's Dogs

Bumpomov's Dogs video demo
Watch demo on YouTube

Game Description

Each player controls a dog. You pick up dog biscuits that are scattered throughout the maze and carry them back to your doghouse for storage. You can also pick up one of three bones floating through the maze. When you launch a bone, it flies through the maze for a few seconds. If it hits your opponent, he is "bumped" around the maze and drops any dog biscuits being carried. The first dog to save 100 biscuits is the winner. 

You can carry no more than 30 biscuits and no more than two bones at any given time. If you lean against a wall when you launch a bone, the bone follows along that wall, turning around corners where necessary to stay along the wall. These are called "wallhugger" bones. 

To download and play the game, go to my Atari 800 Emulator page. 

Game Reviews

I consider this my best game. It has the right mix of simplicity and exciting interaction between the players. I was inspired by some other games, including Pac-Man and an Atari 2600-VCS game called Slot Racers by Warren Robinett. I combined different features of these other games, along with some of my own ideas, into a single interactive game. 

The truly innovative and (then) unique feature of this game is the scrolling, splitting, recombining screen. This was entirely my own invention. When the two dogs are fairly close together, they are displayed together in a single scrolling screen. But when they become too far apart to fit in the same screen, the single screen smoothy splits into two independently scrolling screens. When the dogs come back together, the two screens smoothly recombine into a single screen. Nowadays this game feature is called dynamic split screen. I believe that Bumpomov's Dogs is the very first game to have this feature.

When I completed Bumpomov's Dogs in 1983, it was already past the peak of the computer game boom, so my marketing efforts were futile. I submitted Bumpomov's Dogs to several mainstream software companies. Most of them threw away my submission, but at least I got a cordial reply from Broderbund Software. Since no one else would accept it, I offered the game for sale through the Atari Program Exchange (APX). It was the very last title they offered (catalog number 20272) before the collapse of Atari. I was never paid any royalties for the game.  

West Coast Computer Faire

APX set up a booth at the Ninth West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco with a Bumpomov's Dogs demo running, and they gave away promotional helium balloons with "Bumpomov's Dogs" and the APX logo. When I got to the show, the APX guy told there were some recent changes at APX. It was the big collapse. They had laid off bunch of people and most of the ones I knew had lost their jobs, but the company had already paid for this trade show, so they still went through with it. But it was disappointing to learn that this was happening.

APX Bumopomov's Dogs display 1984 West Coast Computer Faire, Bumpomov's balloon 1984 West Coast Computer Faire entrance

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Bumpomov's Dogs 1983 Gray Chang
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