A surprise finding on the disks of Darren Melbourne, with an unofficial and early Mario game from 1983 which has been lost for some time!
At the moment , we do not know for sure if this game actually got released – but Jeremy Thorne’s other game – Mario’s Brewery was released in 1983, without official Nintendo endorsement.
Thanks to a blog post here, we learn from the comments that Jeremy was just 14 when he wrote the game, and was part of a series of three titles, including Mario’s Brewery and Pubjumper Mario. They were written for 4K cartridges, hence were very simple affairs!
Firefighter Mario is a Vanguard clone, with Mario in a firetruck – having to put out fireball enemies, and then destroy a large flame on top of a building. The game scrolls in a variety of directions, just like Vanguard. It’s not the best game in the world, but for 1983 and 4K, you cannot really complain!
Hopefully Jeremy will get in touch some day – sadly Pubjumper Mario is still missing, but at least one more of the trio is now safe!
Contributions: Darren Melbourne
Jeremy Thorne speaks about his games via this blog post:
“Jeremy Thorne here. I definitely owe the C64 community an explanation for this awful game.
I was 14 in 1983, in high school and working in my spare time for a 2% royalty: I wrote cartridge games (in raw machine code) for a local shop with no QA or scruples. They wanted to capitalize very early on the lack of software for the C64 by churning out arcade knockoff cartridge games as quickly as they could manage. It worked. They sold several thousand of these!
FYI, on one other site some users complained about not knowing how to get to the next level. Jump on the switch. There are only two levels, though, since I was only given a 4K ROM to work with for the cartridge! So I was actually working not so much on a C-64 as a C-4.
I also wrote Pubjumper Mario (A “Popeye” knockoff, featuring a large bouncer in Bluto’s role) and Firefighter Mario (A “Vanguard” knockoff with Mario in a fire truck spraying water to put out fireball enemies.) I don’t know if anyone managed to save those. They were marginally better games, which isn’t saying much. I wonder if I have copies of those old cartridges sitting around anywhere…”
Update to this as I’d completely forgotten about it until recently. There is a Vic20 version of this game and that WAS released, I’ve seen the genuine cartridge for it. Whether the C64 version ever got physical is another matter. I live in hope.
Now that’s quite something. Excellent! The cartridges were released by OEM aka Mr Computer Products operating out of Fort Pierce in Florida, and were some of the very first cartridges released for the C64. Most of them are very hard to find in general, especially complete, mostly because they are terrible games. I would heartily dispute Jeremy’s assertion about them selling thousands, because you’d expect to see most, if not all of them turn up over the space of 20 years.
Unless they were so bad, as said, people destroyed them instead of keeping them!
Most of the “missing” MCP titles listed in GB64 have been cribbed from catalogs that were published and/or included into the game boxes. I’ve got some info about OEM and a sister company Machine Language Games floating around in my emails somewhere.
I thought you might like this one Mat, as I saw your forum thread recently talking about the game. It seems from the developer that the Popeye clone with Mario does actually exist, so that is another to look out for. I’m not entirely sure how Darren came to have this just randomly on his copied games disks. It suggest that maybe the other of Jeremy’s games could be found in similar circumstances. I may have a quick search through past archives that i’ve done.