Mole Squash

Robotronics

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Another of Andrew Rodger’s planned games during the C64’s demise. This was to be released on his own Robotronics label.

Sadly the game was never to be, and apart from a single mention in Commodore Format, there was nothing to ever be seen of the game.

The game was simply described in issue 47 of Commodore Format as “amazing cartoon violence”. For years we tried to get hold of Andrew, but however thanks to Andrew Fisher, we got in touch with Andrew in 2013 and find that sadly the game never really got off the ground.

The game was to be based on the arcade game where you squash moles that pop up with a mallet. Andrew never played the game, but saw a photo in an issue of C&VG and was inspired by it. In Mole Squash, you play a dumb-looking dog that jumps up and down platforms in the style of Capcom’s SonSon game.

Andrew loved the jumping/shooting gameplay, but this game had the dog holding a mallet instead of firing guns. The Bally Midway game Timber was also apparently an influence on the graphics – with a fixed screen approach to each level, with various platform layouts across each. The dog would run around and try and bash the moles before they disappeared. Moles were in several colours – denoting different speed/points.

The game sadly didn’t get too far, but Andrew believes that he still has various sketches for the game and its design around somewhere. Also he may have coded it as far as the dog jumping around platforms. Not much to see, but certainly could be something to preserve! Andrew is hoping to check his disks very soon and see if there is anything to be saved.

Check out the creator speaks section for now, but could potentially be a case closed very soon it seems!

Contributions: Andrew Fisher, Andrew Rodger

Supporting content

Andrew Rodger speaks about work on Mole Squash:

“Mole Squash was based on the mechanical arcade machines where you had a hammer and er, squashed moles. I’d never played one but saw a photo of the cabinet in an issue of Computer & Video Games – it looked fun! In my version, you played a dumb-looking dog that jumped up & down platforms in the style of Capcom’s 1984 coin-op SonSon.

I loved the tight jumping/shooting gameplay of that title and wanted to re-create something similar in Mole Squash, except the dog was wielding a mallet instead of firing projectiles. Bally/Midway’s 1984 game Timber was another major influence on the graphics (again, I’d never played it, but saw a photo of the game in C&VG). It would have been a fixed screen game with different levels and platform layout. Basically the player would jump up & down and run along the platforms trying to bash the moles before they disappeared. Moles would be of several colours, denoting speed or points value.

I can’t remember if there were any other hazards, but I have sketches of the dog and platform layout somewhere (probably buried in a box at my parents’ flat in Scotland). I think I coded as far as getting the dog (or a basic square sprite) to jump up and down the platforms, I may still have it but there’s not much to see.

By 1994, the C64 market was very small. I had tried to get my head around 68000 assembly code on the Amiga but I couldn’t get the hang of it, so the C64 was still the only machine I could program. I guess I convinced myself I could be a big fish in a small pond. With hindsight I should have concentrated on one game instead of three – that’s the danger of getting bored with one idea and starting another, then another and so on – that’s how you end up finishing nothing, which is exactly what happened!”

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