Possible Mission: "May Atari Rot In Hell For Screwing Me For Years Since I
Thought I Sucked at This Game When It Was Really Their Fault"
an article of love and hate by Funkmaster V
Atari didn't seem to care too much about their fans' self esteem back in the day. On Christmas of that year, I was excited to free the
Prosystem from its colorful wrappings along with two games: Pole Position 2 and Karateka! Needless to say, I was blown away by the graphics and
wafting new game smell. Little did I know that Jack Tramiel and the gang were gently spreading my legs apart, giving various game designers the
chance to repeatedly kick me in the junk over and over again.
A slew of "Low Self Esteem Games" spewed forth: Karateka was next to impossible. Pole Position II was a little stiff.
Choplifter! had me squashing poor fools heads with a helicopter repeatedly. Tower Toppler was beautiful but unforgiving. Realsports Baseball
was next to unbeatable. Asteroids, Desert Falcon and Centipede were not for the faint of heart, either. Then came Impossible Mission.
I held it in my hands and my imagination ran wild! A game of mystery! It was like I almost owned a Nintendo! Action! Adventure! A game you
could beat! I was going to kick this Atombender guy's ass! I don't know what he did, but he's going down, OH YEAH!!!! I can't wait! But little
did I know...
You see, Atari didn't care that it released a game with a programming bug that made it impossible to beat. Hell, I guess I was the fool. After
all, it did say it was Impossible right on the box. BUYER BEWARE!!! Hours wasted. An ego smashed. A young boy, turns the video game machine
off to go outside and play. How dreadful.
Flash Forward 2007:
Here, Agent 4125 Looks at the Door Atombender is Behind. Dynamite Would Have Been a Good Thing
to Remember to Bring.
The 7800 experience sharpened my video game skills. Playing untested video games for years
helped me become amazing at several iconic games: Herzog Zwei, Street Fighter 2, Madden, Super Tecmo Bowl, Def Jam, WWF No Mercy, Super Smash
Brothers, Mario Kart. I became a monster, but even though I had dominated my friends and online opponents for years, there was one game that
still pissed me off to this very day: Impossible Mission.
How ironic: Tramiel had it right; computers were the wave of the future. With the internet (thanks Al Gore), emulations, a classic gamer
community, Paypal, the post office, email, electronic funds transfers and the ability to learn that there are other countries besides America...
the unthinkable happed. I ascertained a beatable version of Impossible Mission! Vindication will be mine!!!
What happened hours later after obtaining a copy of the beatable bane of my gaming's existence??? It's time for the Atari to face the FUNK.
Apparently, the game is still pretty damn hard.
I knew I would suck this game, and I was 100% right. Trying to remember things about it... Um... What? The Agent doesn't have a gun? Oh yeah, that would have
made things easier... What the hell does this big checkerboard sign do again? Man this game is weird...
No better. Oh! The pizza is here!
What the heck does this thing do again?
Actually read the manual to see what the checkerboard thing does... Oh it does that? Cool. Too bad each pitch emitted during the checkerboard
screen mini-game feels like a rail road spike being jabbed into my brain. Maybe I need a midol. My wife in the other room hears the modem from
the Agent's pocket computer, "Is that a friggin' modem?" "Shut Up!" I yell back. I immediately die and then blame her.
I found 31 punch cards! HA HA!!! One to go! I go to the Atari Age message board for help. I'm informed that there are 36 punch cards... so I'm
not that close. Here comes the self esteem thing again.
Mitch from Atari7800.org redirects me to a game map he made on his site with all of the locations of password keycard locations. WHAT AN
AMAZING RESOURCE!!! I wish I could send him $1000 check for his kindness. I could, but I won't. I guess I should say I wish I was nice enough
to do that. Then I stole the map from his site and put it on my website. It's OK, I give him credit for
it, MOM! This helps quite a bit because luckily the hardest room in the game on his map doesn't even need to be traversed.
This is a pretty cheap room too. I'm beginning to hate this game again
Attempt #8 I again turn to the Atari Age message board for help. An Atari Age member (and the Highest Scorer of Impossible Mission on my website), Mayhem
UK, gives me some encouragement and advice on stepping over the holes in the floors. This helps me and ole' Agent 4125 defeat the second
hardest room in the game. I mentally send Mayhem UK a check for $1000 fun bucks.
Attempt #9 I GET EVERY PUNCHCARD I NEED EXCEPT FOR ONE. This is like climbing a tall mountain and having a smiling Jack Tramiel appear at the top, only to
step on my fingers as I fall to my death. There now is one punch card left to acquire that is incredibly hard to get to. The location of the
punch card is cheap and simply thinking about this is actually making me mad. After I miss the jump 10 or 12 times, I give up on the game for
awhile. I also could only come up with one letter of the nine letter Password, even though I had enough materials to solve 8 of the puzzles. So
even if I did successfully reach the last punch card, trying to solve 8 the additional puzzles would have driven me into a straight jacket. I am
amazed at how close I am to the line of reason and insanity and decide to stop for now.
Where the Hell have you guys been?
The wind has left the sails, but I must shake it off. I think I will play Pac Man Collection for awhile...
What is amazing to me is that this game gives you quite a mental work out. Using Mitch's online map, I look back and forth between computer screen and the TV set like a ADHD kid simultaneously trying to watch porn and his favorite anime TV show. Combine that with ridiculous platform jumping (which I hate games like Super Mario Brothers and Scrapyard Dog for that reason) and it challenges my hand eye
coordination. There is a time limit, which makes it feel like a test. Aligning the punch card puzzles feels like I'm being psycho analyzed. Playing the
checkerboard tone game aggravates the hell out of me. Beep-Bop-Bip-Beep-Bop-Bip-Bloop. ZAP! Wrong try again.
My low self esteem thing is coming back... time to put on lipstick and suck in my gut and stand in front of a mirror. "I am a pretty princess! I AM a
Damn you Atari.
Flash Forward 2008:
I'm writing this part of the article in 2020 for the new website. Shortly after writing this article for the original website, I beat the game. I had to use the map. I couldn't believe it. And yes, I was thrilled. In 2017, I started doing Atari 7800 challenges for my Youtube channel, and one was seeing if I could beat this game again; my first time playing it in over a decade. Short answer: I did! Here's the video... warning... it's long and boring, although I dress up like a secret agaent in the beginning (It's pretty weird but it was almost Halloween). If you skip to the end, you can see the ending. You are welcome ;)
I would like to thank Mitch Orman for the map, Mayhem, John K Harvey and Trip Cannon for advice, Jaybird3rd for the game and Atari Age for the screenshots.