Hard Hat Mack (Apple II)

Hard Hat Mack Apple II Title screen


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Written by  :  ETJB (450)
Written on  :  Nov 18, 2012
Platform  :  Apple II
Rating  :  3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
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Fun, But Tough

The Good

Hard Hat Mack is fun, albeit not too original, take on classic Donkey Kong format.

As the title's blue collar character you have to successfully complete three, fast paced construction-themed levels while avoiding various obstacles. The three levels are well constructed and amazingly fast paced.

The difficult levels progresses so that only a seasoned gamer is likely going to complete all three levels, much less survive too long when the game repeats, with increased difficulty.

The Bad

Game play mechanics, while simple, oftentimes can become painfully frustrating. Oftentimes you have to make very precise jumps in the game, or else die.

The primary reason this can be insanely frustrating is the simple fact that (in the 1980s) computer game joysticks were simply not made like home console joysticks.

Fast paced, action platformers were common in the arcades and the home console systems, but (in the 1980s) the big market for computer games was largely focused on graphic adventure games, role playing games, educational software, strategy/simulation games.

In the 1990s, the marketed for computer games became much more similar to the home console video game market and better computer joysticks came around.

Yet, in the 1980s the control problems with computer games like Hard Hat Mack were not that uncommon and were difficult to actually fix.

Lastly, the game also features an OSHA representative as rather annoying villain.

For those of you that do not know, OSHA handles much of the health/safety regulations within the American workplace. I am not going to say that it's perfect, but it certainly does a lot of very good and very important work.

The game's depiction generated some press back in the day because it might have meant that the programmers or publisher of the game were anti-worker.

I am not sure if a right-wing political message was intended or not, but it was rather strange to have a OSHA agents working with vandals.

The Bottom Line

Hard Hat Mack is a fast paced and fun, early 1980s Apple II, platforming game with obvious Donkey Kong (or Burger Time) influences.

If you can get a handle on the controls, then most folks will probably be able to complete the first two levels with some practice. Leaving the third level and beyond for the more seasoned gamer.