|I had a lot of fun writing Getaway!, but it was a lot of work too. It took
me almost a year working on and off in my spare time because it was the
first assembly language programming I had ever done. A lot of the time was
spent creating the character sets and data for the playfield map. I wrote a
BASIC program so I could scroll around and draw the map onscreen then save
it as a disk file, but it still was tedious.
I was proud of the end result, but it definitely had lots of room for improvement. I think the sound effects (apart from the sirens) are really weak. Originally I had some familiar tunes in it with a cops and robbers theme (Dragnet, Adam 12, Car 54 Where Are You?, etc.) Just before I was ready to submit it to Atari they issued a notice that if you used any copyrighted music you had to get permission from the owners. I didn't have the time or inclination to do that so I pulled the music. Not being a musician myself I just inserted some lame stuff at the last minute.
I was amazed when Getaway! won the Atari Star award. At the awards ceremony
an Atari employee told me that they were just finishing up the "ET"
cartridge at the time I sent in Getaway! and it made them pretty nervous
because "ET" looked bad by comparison. Atari had big plans for Getaway!. I
signed an exclusive agreement with them. They made a poster and did some
advertising. They translated the text in it to Spanish and French for
foreign markets. There was even talk about putting it on a cartridge. Then
the bottom fell out of the video game market, APX closed up shop, Warner
sold Atari to Tramiel Technologies, and things were never the same. Oh
well, it was fun while it lasted.