Octopussy (1983) - Cancelled
Released: Cancelled (Planned 'Summer 1983')
Publisher: Parker Bros
Atari Video Computer System, Sears Super Video Arcade, Sears Video Arcade,
Intellivision, Intellivision II, Tandyvision
Based on the daring train sequence from the James Bond adventure, "Octopussy." Take
the train ride of your life with Agent 007 in this fast-moving
action video adventure.
A deadly knife-thrower and some trigger
happy gunmen are on your heels as you battle across the
top of a speeding train. Think fast - and act even faster
you try to avoid their attacks without being knocked off
the train. 1 or 2 players.
Left: One of the many full page advertisements that Parker
Bros ran in comics and magazines to promote the game months
ahead of its planned launch. The adverts contained made up
quotes from fake sources.
In late 1982, videogame publisher Parker Bros
was developing a game tie-in for the upcoming James Bond movie "Octopussy",
to be released the following summer. Nobody had created a videogame
alongside a 007 movie before. Unfortunately, it would be another
two years before a different publisher succeeded, as Octopussy
was ultimately deep-sixed.
"James Bond 007 as seen in Octopussy" was a single
screen game based on the train sequence from the film, and would
have seen players battle gunmen and knife throwers, leap between
train carriages and collect Faberge 'gems'.
Despite spending thousands of dollars hyping
the upcoming game in comic books and magazines with full page
with fake quotes), and showing the prototype at CES in Chicago
and the Electronic Fun Expo in New York in early 1983, Parker
Bros played the old bait and switch trick on expectant fans.
Above: Screenshots from the "Octopussy"
For reasons which are unknown,
the "Octopussy" game was shelved and replaced with
another Bond game which was developed in parallel. The released "James
Bond 007" was a terrible side-scrolling "Moon Patrol" rip-off
with only the loosest connections to the Bond canon, and shoe-horned
references to "Diamonds
Are Forever", "The Spy Who Loved Me", "Moonraker" and "For
Your Eyes Only." Only the planned cover art from the game
would survive the switch.
Although no known copy of the "Octopussy" prototype
exists anymore, there are sufficient witnesses who were present
at the 1983 trade shows to confirm its existence, despite suspicions
that the screenshots included in Atari publicity materials were
actually from an Intellivision version.
Atari historians suspect that either Parker Bros were unable
to complete the "Octopussy" game in time for the summer
1983 launch (perhaps as the game was actually being developed
on the Intellivision system), or that marketers play-tested both
games and selected the "Moon Patrol" knock-off as the
superior title. It was common practice in in the early 1980s
for marketers to select which games saw release.
The mysterious legacy of an "Octopussy" game
would not end here, though. Almost ten years later, an unofficial
unlicensed game based on the film was released in Slovakia
for the ZX Spectrum.
Above: Parker Bros catalogue from early 1983 promoting
the "Octopussy" game.