there ain’t no whales, so we tell tall tales . . .

In Games of our Lives this week, I took a big risk and tackled an incredibly popular coin-op game: Moon Patrol. I sent my editor about 45000 words, which he skillfully cut down into 300-ish good ones.


Gameplay: The moon isn’t very safe, and thanks to budget cuts,
your buggy explodes as readily as a 1972 Pinto. Luckily, you’ve tricked
it out with a dashboard Jesus, lasers, and hydraulic shocks, so you can
blast the rocks and jump over the bottomless craters that get in your

Kids today might not like it because: They can’t pick up a hooker, nail her in the back of their moon buggy, then kick her out, run her over, and take her money.

Kids today might like it because: Moon Patrol is much more realistic than the car-racing games they’re used to playing.

It’s easier to do games that people may not have crystal clear memories of, and passionate attachements to, because if I don’t cover that game exactly the way they want me to, people can get really worked up. When I poked fun at Midnight Magic, some Atari Nerds wished that I would die. Because I wrote a humorous column about a game that is over 20 years old. Uhh . . . yeah.

So I’m a little nervous about the reaction to Moon Patrol, but no matter what happens, I got to sneak in a Futurama joke, (which made me almost as happy as my Obscurity Hall of Fame reference to Jon Byner in Anteater), so I am TEH WINNAR!!11

17 thoughts on “there ain’t no whales, so we tell tall tales . . .”

  1. Ah, EXCELLENT game! Which reminds me: have you ever covered “Lunar Lander”?
    Anyone remember the excellent Lunar Lander-ish game for C-64: “Space Taxi”? It actually had SPEECH in it.
    /hey taxi !!!!11!eleven

  2. I’ve got a Buddy Christ… it sits on our Playstation. Hey… cool, I can see you’re a farker too. (To those that don’t know, it’s not as dirty as it sounds).

  3. How could you not mention the cool music in Moon Patrol? Even to this day, sometimes I use that for bass guitar soloing when I’m jamming with my buddies… MP was my favorite Atari game, right after Yars’ Revenge.

  4. Wil,
    Only because I love and respect you must I point out your grammatical (typo? spelling?) mistake in your new article.
    You say: “…and some of them leave behind craters that you’ll have to hurtle.”
    I think ‘hurtle’ should be ‘hurdle.’
    Oh, and Moon Patrol is my God so damn you for writing this. Damn you!

  5. Oh my, I used to drive a pinto. It really was a great car, ran great up to the last week we had it. We used to joke & call it the “eggmoblie” since it looked like an easter egg on wheels(it was white with 3 fairly small yellow stripes).
    Oh you had asked for comments on that interview. I loved the way you handle the “William Shatner” comment. That was perfect. You really came across as a great guy. But one thing, you said that your wife is a hair dresser – make sure she wears shoes that have great supports in them – my mom didn’t always (dumb dress code) & it really hurt her feet so take care of your wife(anytime you need to get her a great gift think foot massage, trust me on that)

  6. Duuuuuude, I loved Moon Patrol
    They should re-make it for PS/2. I also miss Lode Runner and Big Top – the original 086 versions, naturally.

  7. Lode Runner Rocks! I remember playing that on my friend’s Apple II way back in the mid 80s. I even made my own levels using the level number (i.e., level 1 had a big number “1” in it). Way geeky.
    Never played MP. Most video games I played were on friends’ compys. Didn’t have enough money for a lot of games. I think I had 3 Atari games at the most: Qix, Pacman (natch!) and that thing where the ball breaks the bricks.

  8. Nerds…*shrug* Dont think they will ever be happy.
    I dig your reviews. Informative with out being boring. I would say thats hard to pull off.
    Um. I was reading thru some of your past reviews and the little saying at the bottom of SEPT 14th (Bank Panic) caught my eye. “Wil Wheaton is the author of Just A Geek. He lives in Rock Ridge.”
    Do you write those too?
    I almost spewed Pepsie out my nose when I read that.
    “He rode a blazing saddle, he wore a shiny star. His job to offer battle, to bad men near and far..” I could go on, but but I’ll spare the eardrums of you and my fellow readers here. 😀
    Those little blurbs never fail to make me smile.

  9. I used to own that game.. The stand up. Then I sold it, since I was turning 21 I thought I should leave those childish things behind… Yes, I was a typical dumb 21 year old…
    Wil, you watch Serenity yet?

  10. Wil, Do you like adventure games at all? has an Underground section devoted to small groups or single game creators. Some are great, some just OK (or worse) but they are for the most part FREE, and I just uncovered a truly fun and funny game called Jessica Plunkenstein and the Düsseldorf Conspiracy at
    It had the humor of the old LucasArts games, and I highly recommend it!

  11. MOON PATROL!!!
    god i loved that game. that jaunty little music. jumping over stuff.
    it’s one of my favorite arcade games.

  12. “Kids today might not like it because: They can’t pick up a hooker, nail her in the back of their moon buggy, then kick her out, run her over, and take her money.”
    Dying. Of. Laughter.

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