Jawbreaker

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Jawbreaker is a Pac-Man clone programmed by John Harris and released in 1982 for the Atari 8-bit family by On-Line Systems. It was widely lauded by reviewers, and became a major seller. The story of both its creation and Harris's Atari 8-bit implementation of Frogger form a portion of Steven Levy's 1984 book, Hackers.

In 1982 Atari, which licensed the home rights to Pac-Man, unsuccessfully sought an injunction against the sale of Jawbreaker and Gobbler, another On-Line computer game, which Atari claimed unduly resembled Pac-Man. On-Line's Ken Williams denied Atari's claim but was uncertain of the outcome, stating "If this opens the door to other programmers ripping off my software, what happened here was a bad thing".

John Harris also programmed the Apple II port (1981) as well as a version for the Atari 2600 released by Tigervision in 1982. 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.

Release date
Publisher
Sierra Entertainment, On-line Systems, Tigervision
Age rating
Not rated

System requirements for Commodore / Amiga

System requirements for Apple II

System requirements for Atari 8-bit

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Last Modified: Jan 9, 2019