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Jawbreaker by John Harris on the Atari 2600

Jawbreaker is a Pac-Man clone programmed by John Harris for the Atari 8-bit family and published by On-Line Systems

General Information

Developer - John Harris

Publisher - Tigervision

Release - 1982

Platform(s) - Atari 2600

Number of Players - 1 player

Genre - Maze

Because of technical limitations, Atari 2600 Jawbreaker is not a Pac-Man clone and is different than the Atari 8-bit game. A rough sketch of the 2600 game was used as the basis for new computer versions from programmers other than Harris. The new game was, confusingly, sold as both Jawbreaker and Jawbreaker II and was not as successful as original.

In 1982, the initial Atari 800 version of Jawbreaker was so faithful to Pac-Man that the game (carelessly leaked by Harris himself) was assumed to be from Atari, Inc. (licensee for Pac-Man's home rights) itself. When one of these early copies found its way to Atari, they reached out to On-Line's Ken Williams. Attempts at a deal fell apart due to culture clashes between Atari and On-Line, particularly Williams and Harris. Williams instructed Harris to alter the artwork for the game to have a dental theme.


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