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Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Spectravision
Model Number: none
Atari Rarity Guide: 8 Rare+
Year of Release: 1983
Programmer: Mike Schwartz

Let's step into the Time Machine for a minute. Our destination? 1983. Purina was airing a popular commercial for their dog food, featuring a dog who would chase a tiny chuck wagon through the kitchen. Purina decided to have a video game made for a promotion. They of course based it on their most popular commercial. They of course decided to make game for the Atari 2600 (after all Atari was still the king back in '83). They then contacted Spectravision to produce the game. Spectravision quickly produced Chase the Chuckwagon. Purina then started offering the game as a mail order-only promotional item. You could send away for a copy of this game, if you bought enough dog food.

This game is not the "Holy Grail" of Atari games (although some people seem to think that it is). People have also mistakenly called this game "the rarest of all Atari games." That claim is also wrong. It isn't even close to being the rarest game. There are over 100 known copies of this game. But the notoriety of this game has pushed its value to a lot more than most games of this rarity go for. Any truly serious Atari collector will eventually end up purchasing a copy of this game. One small note on the collectibility of this game, the box is worth more than the cartridge; a lot more. There are only a few known copies of the box to this game. Every time one of them is sold, it goes for more than the cartridge.

The game itself is bad, very bad. Not only is this the worst title that Spectravision ever put its name on, it could be considered one of the worst Atari 2600 games ever. But no one is collecting this game for the gameplay. The basic premise is to guide your dog through a simple maze, while chasing after an animated chuck wagon. There is a simple bonus round at the end of each level. It doesn't take very long to get good at this game. But believe me, you don't want to bother. There are Tiger handheld games that are better than this game. Spend your time sleeping, or getting better at Defender. Don't waste it playing this garbage.


Unofficial Instructions
  1. Turn off your Atari 2600 and insert a joystick into the left joystick port.
  2. Insert the Chase the Chuckwagon cartridge in the system.
  3. Turn Atari 2600 on.
  4. To begin play, press the select switch to clear the machine and the game select switch to start.
  5. The object of the first maze screen is to move Chuckie, the dog, through the maze and escape through the opening at the top of the screen directly below the chuck wagon.
  6. If you successfully escape from the maze, you will enter the reward screen.
  7. The reward screen requires you wait until the dog dish is even with Chuckie and then press the joystick fire button to allow Chuckie to move to the dish and eat. This will score an additional 100 points.
  8. If you miss, no points will be awarded and you will simply go ahead to the next maze screen.
  9. In each maze screen, there will be objects appearing on the screen and bouncing from side to side. These should be avoided. If they hit Chuckie, he will be frozen temporarily which will decrease your score.
  10. Also, in each maze, there is a dogcatcher who is chasing Chuckie. If he catches Chuckie, you will lose a life. You have three to start with so be careful.
  11. When the game is over, your score will be displayed on the screen. It will be the total of each maze screen score and the total of each reward screen score.

Pricing

Auction prices vary widely on this title, but you can figure on a price of at least $100. The box is more valuable than the cartridge though (figure at least an extra $150 for the box).

TBBK's note. I found this in random nodes, and I just had to briefly come out of my Atari retirement to do it right.

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