Jetpack - Video Game Flashback

Uploaded by ThisIsTeeKay on 10.07.2012

This is TeeKay and welcome to the first episode of Video Game Flashback: the show where I
dig up memorable games from the past.
Today's game? Jetpack!
Remember that old DOS game where you wore purple track pants with yellow stripes, flew
around collecting trees—or plates of spinach—or whatever it was... and you use that farty
blue-noised stuff to break through blocks, avoid robots, and travel through teleports?
That's Jetpack... and the trees are gems, the blue stuff comes from your phase emitter
and lets you tunnel through bricks, something that anyone who's played Lode Runner will
be familiar with.
Created by Adam Pedersen—a nineteen year old who got a job at Software Creations—Jetpack
was released in 1993. The shareware version limited you to only 10 assorted levels of
the full 100 available if you paid. The ten levels range from relatively easy to seemingly
impossible in no time, because the levels are picked from various stages throughout
the game. For example, level six in the shareware version is actually level 92.
Software Creations is no longer around, so the full game with all 100 levels is now distributed
by Adept Software freeware.
The objective of each level is the same: get to the door. The door will only open, however,
once all emeralds have been collected. Sounds easy? Not quite... plenty of obstacles lie
in your way. Trackbots; Batbots; Steel Balls; Springs; Missiles; Spikes; Flitzers; Homers;
And you can't even kill any of the monsters... only trap them... if you're lucky. Other deathtraps
include icy spikes, spears that are almost invisible, and even blocks, if you manage
to get trapped in them.
Collect treasure to rack up points and earn extra lives. Powerups include tanks of fuel,
spinners that freeze all enemies on the screen, and invincibility. Sometimes, a powerup will
appear randomly on the screen somewhere... but good luck getting over to it in time before
it disappears! Invincibility is only available randomly (unless you're a cheater)!
The game plays a lot like a classic arcade game, and has no music. Music would have been
too expensive to create and work into the game. Jetpack was created on a bare-bones
budget, according to Pedersen, and the only thing budgeted were a few graphical updates.
No big deal, throw on your favourite music and game on. Also, similar to an arcade game,
there is no real ending, and you're just playing for fun and a high score. What happens when
you beat the one hundredth level? You get a Game Over screen.
The graphics are colourful, and the sounds are interesting, but it's the gameplay and
the level editor that really make this game such a memorable classic. Jetpack takes a
lot of skill to master. You have to keep your eyes open, time things out, and fake out enemies
to evade them. The more you play, the more you learn.
Though a lot of the levels are great, well designed, and well balanced... there are a
handful of fluff levels.
The developers did everything they could to get 100 levels, and even resorted to working
in things from their personal lives, like Pedersen's dog, and the actual floor plan
of his grandmother's house. Other levels took inspiration from classic games like Space
Invaders, Pac-man, and Donkey Kong.
Here's a look at the level editor, which was allegedly one of the reasons the game was
such a hit. You can do everything with this level creator, and recreate anything you see
in real levels in the game. One other restriction of the Shareware version was that you could
only save one custom level. The full version lets you save up to a hundred custom levels.
It should be noted, a Christmas themed version of the game was released where you flew around
as Santa Claus picking up presents. The Christmas version had festive graphics, and ten completely
new levels to play through, not available in any other version of the game.
Back to the regular version of Jetpack. After quitting, you're presented with the message
"Look for Jetpack 2 in 2000."
So, what happened? It's well over a decade later and there's still no Jetpack 2! Long
story short, Pedersen went on to develop an ill-fated dating website and worked on a number
of other projects to pay the bills. He's also been struggling with physical issues, and
had successful neck surgery not too long ago.
Despite all these roadblocks, a sequel is finally being made! Development officially
started back in 2008, and Adam Pedersen worked on the game in his spare time. But now, it's
his full-time project. You can play the current beta to see how it's shaping up so far, and
even help fund Jetpack 2, if you're intersted.
So, that's Jetpack... a great platformer game for dos that still holds up today. If you'd
like to play Jetpack, The link is in the description. Let me know what you thought of this inaugural
episode in the comments!
Want to revisit more classic games? There are plenty of episodes planned, so feel free
to Subscribe, and maybe even let me know what game to pick next!
Thanks for watching!