Garfield Atari 2600


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Garfield Atari 2600

Garfield is an unfinished video game prototype that was developed for the Atari 2600. The game was never officially released due to the videogame crash of 1983. It is based on the popular comic strip of the same name.

The game revolves around Garfield trying to find Nermal while avoiding Odie. In the game, Garfield starts by hopping around the fence and eating burgers. Next, he ducks as flowerpots are thrown at him while he is on the fence. Then, he must cross the top of the roof to get to the other side of the yard, but he must watch out for Odie who likes to sneak up on the cat unaware. He must jump on top of a dog pound of Odies eating burgers and avoiding flowerpots. Finally, he has to rescue Nermal who is hanging on the edge of the roof. Due to the game being unfinished, the game starts over with the screens in a different order.


1984 wasn’t a good year for Atari or the video game industry in general. In fact Atari was doing so poorly it was losing almost a million dollars a day! Because of this Atari decided to stop developing games that it didn’t think would sell in large numbers. Once Atari was sold to the Tramiels they took a look at Garfield and decided they didn’t want to pay the high royalties to Jim Davis and Steve Woita, so the game was canceled. When Steve heard this he didn’t take the news very well, but he had little time to protest as most of Atari’s staff was laid off. To make a long story short, Garfield was never finished.

While Atari may have thought Garfield had limited appeal, its obvious they didn’t take the time to play the game.  Had they actually taken a close look at Garfield they would have discovered that while it may feature a well-known cartoon cat, it was actually a great side scrolling platform game (something the 2600 library was sorely lacking).  Even in its unfinished state, Garfield proves that the 2600 could do a multi-screened side scrolling game (and all this after only 2 months of programming!).  Too bad Atari didn’t agree.


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