Characters like Mario, Pac-Man, and Mr. Do! were passé by the mid-'80s, and Atari, drunk on the success of games like Paperboy and Marble Madness, gave kids everywhere a chance to assume the role they were all waiting to play: Peter Packrat, a happy little junk-collecting rodent with a penchant for taking shiny crap back to his rat-hole.
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
Kids today might not like it because: It's just a little too cute when Peter does his end-of-level "Happy Snoopy" dance.
Kids today might like it because: They can see how many repetitions it takes to run the phrase "You dirty rat!" into the ground. (Answer: two.)
Enduring contribution to gaming history: Peter Packrat was a conversion for Atari's System I cabinet, but it never found the same success as other System I games like RoadBlasters and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Only 500 units were ever sold.
Wil Wheaton knew right from the beginning that you would end up winning.