Gameplay: Okay, Peter, there's a ton of junk scattered around your neighborhood, just waiting for you to get your disease-ridden claws on it. You can climb, jump, and crawl your way around your neighborhood as you fill your nest with bottles, rings, watches, and cans.
However, you're a dirty little rat, and you're at the bottom of the Flatbush food chain. Enemies like Scrapper the dog, Clawd the cat, Sticky the spider, and the resident tough guy Riff Rat would love to make you into a nice snack. You can avoid them with deft footwork and judicious use of hidden shortcuts, or attack them by throwing some of your precious junk. If you manage to score a hit, you can turn the tables and ride them around, with the exception of Riff Rat, who isn't anybody's bitch, in spite of what you may have heard around town.
Could be mistaken for: Cheeky Mouse, Bagman, a walk along the Los Angeles River
Anyway, WWdN:iX Reader Larry Hastings (who wants you to know that he is so old skool, he remembers Battlezone when it was on field test as "Future Tank") sent me the following Peter Packrat story, which he's given me permission to reprint here:
Just a personal story about Peter Packrat... a footnote to history.
At one time in my life I was Intergalactic World High Score Champion at Peter Packrat. That's because there was only one--on field test at Merlin's Castle in San Jose right near my house--and I was the main person playing it.
The game is deterministic; you develop patterns which will work every time. I had worked out patterns for, I /think/, the first five levels or so... that was as far as I generally got. One day while playing I discovered a bug: the "spider" in the creepy cavern level would occasionally stray out of its web, and if you conked it on the noggin with bric-a-brac you could stun it and ride it around. Since it wasn't on the "spider web" anymore, the game didn't think it was a spider... so it decided it was a bat! It even made the bat sound effect. This delighted me, and it actually improved my pattern, so I worked it in.
One day I came in to Merlin's Castle and Peter Packrat was out of commission. Some guy had the back open, where I could clearly see... a Commodore 1541 floppy drive, like you'd use with a Commodore 64. After a minute or two of grinding and buzzing, it finished doing what it was doing. He took out the disk and they restored the machine to active service I started playing only to discover that the bug was fixed and my pattern didn't work anymore. I think I mostly gave up on the game after that.
About ten years ago I corresponded a little with Lyle Rains, a now-ex-Atari guy, and mentioned all this. He opined that the animations on Peter Packrat were just fantastic--really cute--and it was an utter shame that Atari botched it as a product.
And a bit of news that is quite exciting for me: Peter Packrat is internally known as "gool#52", which means that I've been writing Games of our Lives for one full year. How much does that rock? The answer is: totally.