Thursday, January 28, 2010

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Prototype for Atari 2600

In 1983 a Parker Bros game developer named Larry Gelberg was working on an Atari 2600 game called Star Wars: Ewok Adventures. It was supposed to be a very advanced 2600 game that let you play as an Ewok on a glider as they fought off Stormtroopers, AT-ST's, and Speeder Bikes. Think of it as an Atari 2600 version of the Ewok battle scene in Star Wars Return of the Jedi.

Sadly this game was never released because the Parker Bros game division dissolved.

Luckily for video game collectors, Atari 2600, and Star Wars fans Larry saved a prototype of the game and the prototype has recently surfaced again.

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Atari 2600 Prototype Cartridge

Star Wars Ewok 2600 Prototype
Top view of Ewok Adventures Prototype

Star Wars Atari 2600 Prototype
Side view of Ewok Adventures Cartidge

History of Star Wars Ewok Adventures for Atari 2600

Parker Bros was developing a new Star Wars game for the Atari 2600. In 1983 their game division imploded and none of the games they were working on were released. About 15-20 test cartridges were made so a marketing company could watch kids as they played it behind a one-way mirror and decide if the game was any good.

After the game was cancelled, the developer Larry Gelberg kept a few of these and in his words "I had a couple of copies that I gave away to friends since I knew PB wasn't going to release it."

One of these cartridges was given to a co-worker of Larry's several years later. Who then gave it to his five year old son, John Bennett, because he was "really into video games."

John Bennett decided to share some pictures, gameplay details, and screenshots so game collectors would know more about this elusive game.

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Gameplay

This description comes straight from John Bennett.

"You use the analog stick to control a hang glider flown by an Ewok. You use the button to drop rocks on the "bad guys" to destroy them. These include, Imperial stormtroopers, Speeder Bikes, and AT-STs. If you hit them with a rock, they die in a fiery explosion. The objective of the game is to blow up the Imperial Base.

"On the easier levels you can do this by flying your glider into the middle of the base, but on the more advanced levels, you have to hijack either an Imperial Speeder or AT-ST to destroy the base. In Ewok Adventure, The Atari joystick is used similar to that of flight stick allowing you to change the altitude and pitch of the glider. You have 360 degree control and can even fly side to side and backwards.

"The best way to gain altitude is by flying over an 'air pocket.' This causes your glider to increase its altitude significantly allowing you to easily fly over obstacles and Imperial baddies. If your altitude is too low, you crash and lose a life. The games audio is actually pretty good and it creates a vibrant atmosphere. You hear the whizzing of the glider as it flies over an air pocket and the stomping noise of the AT-ST walkers while playing."

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Screenshots

Ewok 2600 Screenshot
Player controlled Ewok has hijacked an AT-ST and is targeting the Imperial Base

Ewok 2600 Prototype Screen
>Ewok Glider (yellow) with an Imperial AT-ST (pink) and Speeder Bike (black)

Ewok Atari 2600 Screen
Title Scree: With red border (the cartridge has multiple color variations for this screen)

UPDATE: John Bennett has told me he decided to sell Ewok Adventures on ebay. You can bid on the auction yourself or just watch the auction here.


GamesOgre said...

Being both a prototype video game *and* a piece of Star Wars collectible history, I have a feeling this will go for quite a pretty penny. It'll be quite interesting to watch this auction!

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to an original article about my Prototype Ewok Adventure that appeared in the September issue of Atari 2600 Connection. John

Anonymous said...

I am no longer marketing Ewok Adventure on Ebay as "One of a Kind." New information has come to light and required an addendum to the original Ebay listing of Ewok Adventure. John

Star Wars Rick said...

Now, if only it's available via emulator!

Anonymous said...

I bought this copy a few years ago off of ebay. works perfect on the Atari 2600! paid $100

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