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Overflow 2021 - A new 8-bit and 5200 game released by A/W/A


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Overflow 2021 is the latest assembly language game release from the Anschuetz/Weisgerber/Anschuetz team.   This month, we are releasing this game as both an 8-bit .xex file as well as an Atari 5200 .rom file!   Overflow is a fun and addictive game where you play the role of a plumber and try to hold back 10 horizontal pipes full of liquids flowing toward a central vertical pipe by throwing plungers at the approaching liquid.   Joystick up and down moves the plumber up and down the ladder.  Joystick left and right throws the plungers left or right.  Additional instructions are on the score screen of the game.  The music is from the Atari arcade game Toobin.




The original BASIC Overflow game was published in the July 1985 edition of Antic.   The game was extremely efficiently written by John Weisgberber and made use of some tricks to reuse the same screen memory for each row of pipes.   The game was initially sent to Compute!.  Compute! rejected the game without explanation, so we sent it to Antic.  I have attached the original rejection letters from Compute! and Antic.  The Antic rejection said that the game was too difficult, so we made it a little easier and resubmitted and it was accepted.  I have also attached a scan of the original published page.


We hope you like this one!

Eric and Robert Anschuetz

John Weisgerber




The following description of the gameplay was written by the A/W/A Team to be submitted to a computer magazine along with the game.


In Overflow, you’re a plumber trapped in the central conduit of a network of pipes.  Water is advancing relentlessly toward you through the secondary pipes.  If the water gets far enough, it will flood the main pipe, drowning you and ending your game.  This is a situation you (as a devout plumber) obviously want to avoid.   Luckily, you can temporarily reverse the flow of water in a pipe by hurling your plunger down the pipe at the onrushing column of water.  Scoring is based on the fact that when the plunger makes contact, in addition to making the water recede, you earn ten points.  Controlling the flow of water is simply a matter of moving up and down in the main pipe and throwing your plunger down the pipes closest to the point of overflowing.  Unfortunately, even if you manage to gain control of the situation, at five-hundred points the width of the main pipe doubles, making your job all the more difficult.  Movement is controlled from a stick in port one.  To move up and down in the central pipe, push the stick forward and back.  To throw your plunger, push the stick left and right.


The following gameplay instructions for Overflow were published in Antic Magazine.


Dear Miss Goodmanners:

Is there a correct way to stem a rising tide of bathroom back-ups while entertaining distinguished guests in my 49-room mansion?


Dear Concerned:

Miss Goodmanners prefers the term water closet... Sadly, overflow problems are part of our modern age and must be dealt with firmly and quickly. Miss Goodmanners would never commit the faux pas of embarrassing guests during a sumptuous banquet by confronting them with a mass of raw sewage.

Miss Goodmanners would award you credit for decisively hurling your plumber's helper at each of the overflowing water closets, while tactfully running between pipelines without scaring the guests. Of course, sewage problems tend to get worse as a party wears on-especially if guests discover that the duck pate has disagreed with them.

With apologies to our favorite etiquette columnist, this program uses players for the plumber, plunger and central pipe.   All vertical motion is produced using a string printed at the correct place in memory.  The main graphics mode is ANTIC 5.  An unusual technique here is the use of basically the same memory address for every line of the playfield graphics. Each line has its own LMS and the high byte on every one is set to the same page. The water is moved back and forth by incrementing the low byte on each LMS. The increment for each line is held in a one-dimensional array.  If a column of sewage is hit by the plunger, the increment's sign is simply reversed.



Overflow Compute reject.jpg

Overflow Antic reject.jpg

Overflow Antic accept.jpg

Overflow - Antic July 1985.jpg


Overflow 2021.xex Overflow 2021.rom

Edited by rra
Replaced executables with .v2
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Awesome to see again, and lot's of fun at the time.


I'll be adding this to the list of things to re play once I'm settled back in.


As for the controls, if I recall... the later levels required them to be be sensitive... so I'll enjoy re visting the game and the remake!

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Based on the comments above, I've updated the game to slow the plumber down as it moves up and down the ladder.  I played it a couple times and does play a lot better, so thanks for the comments.


Is there a way I can edit my original post so that I can replace the executables in the original and add a note that they were updated?

Overflow 2021.xex Overflow 2021.rom

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1 hour ago, rra said:

Based on the comments above, I've updated the game to slow the plumber down as it moves up and down the ladder.  I played it a couple times and does play a lot better, so thanks for the comments.


Is there a way I can edit my original post so that I can replace the executables in the original and add a note that they were updated?

Overflow 2021.xex 28.22 kB · 9 downloads Overflow 2021.rom 32 kB · 4 downloads

I just saved them as 2021b so I can try all versions at a later time...

put in for first post edit privs, hopefully you have them now...

Edited by _The Doctor__
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Thank you for this, I just added it to the Atari Flashback 9/X pack of games. We recently made some quick box art for these games for the flashback menu, but if there is better or more official box art, I would love to have it.





Edited by Draxxon
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Here's an idea for a visual enhancement: since the playfield is rendered using Antic 5, it should be possible to provide a wavy animation for the sewage with a custom charset.  Define a few animation frames of the sewage with a wavy surface, and swap the character cells every so often to create the animation.

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