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Sunday, September 30, 2018

M.U.L.E. - Atari 800/XL/XE [001] Playthru

Title Screen
This game was part of the first batch of games from Electronic Arts, and one of my all time favorite games.  It is hard to be objective for a game that might easily be in the top ten of my favorite all time games!

Electronic Arts was a much different company, having only recently been founded by Trip Hawkins when this game was released.  I would go even further and say the 'Arts' in their name was much truer then, than now.  Just look at the M.U.L.E. packaging, and other titles released in the same early time span!

This title was first developed on the Atari.  One of the main features utilized in M.U.L.E. was the four controller ports on these first two systems in the 8-bit line from Atari.  Too bad M.U.L.E. was released when Atari was eliminating those ports from the 1200XL, 600XL, and 800XL.  The utilization of the joysticks for the selection of land plots and in the auctions just works well.  Granted, I don't think I ever played with 4 people, but I did play a bunch of games with 3 players (plus the computer).

For the uninitiated, M.U.L.E. is sort of a colonization strategy game with very simple graphics.  In this game we are colonizing planet Irata.  The main goal is to colonize the planet Irata and become the richest. Try to reach the top of the leaderboard out of 4 total players, be they human or computer.

Box Cover
Gameplay is broken into three main action phases.  First is selecting a plot of land for development, with the possibility of auctions of additional plots after that initial selection.  Next is outfitting the land selection to mine/develop one of three or four types of commodities, along with the opportunity to check lots for a mineral, sell a lot of land, hunt the wampus (yes, I did say hunt the wampus), and finally close out at the pub.  At this phase, players can then get good or bad news from an event.

Box Back
After each player has developed their lot, there is a collection phase in which an additional event occurs, sometimes before collection, sometimes after, which typically affects the whole colony, but sometimes just a single player.

From there is the auction phase, buying and/or selling, while making sure to have what is needed to continue developing.  After the auction phase, the game shows the leaderboard, and then begins the next turn.  Depending on the difficulty selection, a game will last from 6 to 12 months or cycles.  A typical game lasts from about 30 minutes to an hour from my experience.

And, what does M.U.L.E. stand for?  Multiple Use Labor Element, which is used to develop land.  And it looks like an AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back!

I think this is definitely a fun game to check out!

Capture info -

This gameplay was captured on April 22, 2018.

Game was played on a heavily modified Atari 1200XL with SuperVideo upgrade, captured over SVideo with the output being captured by a Startech USB3HDCAP.

Video was edited with Shotcut.
Inside Folder
Inside Folder

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