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CRAZY CLIMBER - Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast

The Professor

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The Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast is a weekly podcast that dives deep into Arcade Life and takes a look back at classic coin-op games and arcade memories of yesteryear! The podcast is hosted by The Retroist's Vic Sage along with his arcade co-worker Andy Pickle. 






This week's episode is about Crazy Climber, the 1980 upward-scrolling climbing game developed by Nichibutsu and released to video arcades in North America by Taito America CorporationA precursor to the platform game genre, Crazy Climber was the first video game revolving around climbing, specifically climbing buildings, before Nintendo's 1981 release Donkey Kong. It is one of Nichibutsu's most highly acclaimed video games in its library. Crazy Climber is one of the few video games to use two joysticks and no buttons, and it's possibly the only non-twin-stick shooter to do so.


In Crazy Climber the player assumes the role of a daredevil who is attempting to climb to the top of four skyscrapers. There are a number of obstacles and dangers to avoid including:


  • Windows that open and close (the most common danger)
  • Bald-headed residents (a.k.a. Mad Doctors), who throw objects such as flower pots, buckets of water and fruit in an effort to knock the climber off the building (with larger objects appearing by more aggressive Mad Doctors in later levels)
  • A giant condor, who drops eggs and excrement aimed at the climber (two at a time in the early stages, four in later levels)
  • A giant ape (styled like King Kong), whose punch can prove deadly (he becomes more aggressive in later levels)
  • Falling steel girders and iron dumbbells (more numerous in the later levels).Live wires, which protrude off electric signs
  • Falling 'Crazy Climber' signs.





Some of these dangers appear at every level of the game; others make appearances only in later stages. Should the climber succumb to any one of these dangers, a new climber takes his place at the exact point where he fell; the last major danger is eliminated.


If the climber is able to ascend to the top of a skyscraper and grabs the runner of a waiting helicopter, he earns a bonus and is transported to another skyscraper, which presents more dangers than the past. If the player completes all four skyscrapers, he is taken back to the first skyscraper and the game restarts from the beginning, but the player keeps his score. Musical cues used throughout the game include "Baby Elephant Walk", "The Pink Panther Theme", and "The Entertainer". Some cues were played to announce a danger; others served as 'victory' music. The game also featured an early use of voice emulation. If the climber is not moved for several seconds, a voice says "Go for it!"






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Here's what Vic Sage had to say about the episode:



Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast – Episode 013 – Crazy Climber


View this episode at The Retroist


Welcome friends to the thirteenth episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast! Each show I will not only discuss a particular classic arcade game but share some behind the scenes information of what it’s like to work at a retro arcade. 

For this show I discuss Nichibutsu/Taito’s 1980 arcade classic “Crazy Climber” as well as talk a bit about the first arcade that was in my neck of the woods and some of the fond memories I have of it.


If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page.

























Trivia: Crazy Climber was one of four Atari Club Exclusive Games and was produced in limited quantities. Today the game is considered very rare, and is highly sought after by Atari 2600 collectors, both for its scarcity and for its play value as a conversion of a popular coin-op.

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Yessir!  Thanks for posting.   :)

We had Games People Play in my area too, so maybe that supports the southern chain theory.     Although an arcade called The Gold Mine was where I spent most of my quarters.

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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