Electric Eggplant

Rescue on Fractalus!
video from 1984 press conference

After the Lucasfilm Games logo,
there will be black screen and SOUND ONLY for one minute 20 seconds.

This video was first shown at the Lucasfilm Games press conference on May 9, 1984 to introduce their first two games, Rescue on Fractalus! and Ballblazer.

Feel free to watch this video, but please do not download or re-distribute it.

© 1984-2014 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. All rights reserved.
COURTESY OF LUCASARTS, a division of LUCASFILM ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LTD.

About the Game

Rescue on Fractalus! is an action game played from a 3D first person point of view originally developed for the Atari 800 and 5200. Your mission is to rescue stranded pilots on the planet of Fractalus.

Rescue on Fractalus! mother ship

You begin each mission from the mother ship, and when your quota of pilots has been rescued you must return there so you can move on to the next level. (Thank you Ray Hardgrit for the animated gifs!)

Rescue on Fractalus! launch sequence

To help locate the pilots and navigate the tricky terrain, your spaceship is equipped with various instruments, such as a compass, altimeter, and scanner. Your enemy, the J’hagga Ri Kachatki (better known as the Jaggies), have numerous forces on this planet and will be attempting to stop you. Gun emplacements, flying saucers, and the Jaggi themselves are all capable of destroying your ship if you don’t destroy them first.

Rescue on Fractalus! Jaggi Monster

To defend yourself from these threats, your ship is equipped with torpedoes. As the levels progress, the Jaggi defenses become more aggressive, and you will even need to fly some night missions where visibility is limited!

The Making of Rescue on Fractalus!

There’s a fantastic article about how Rescue was created. It was in issue 44 of Retro Gamer Magazine, written by Michael Bevan. You can download the PDF of the article here.

Credits

The Lucasfilm Games GroupFrom the game manual: Rescue on Fractalus! was created by the Lucasfilm Computer Division Games Group. David Fox directed the project and created the concept, transition scenes, animation, and documentation. Loren Carpenter of the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project did the 3-D fractal landscape image generation and co-created the concept. Charlie Kellner was responsible for animation, music, sound, and flight dynamics; Gary Winnick provided animation; David Levine provided support; and Peter Langston, the Games Group Leader, contributed to the concept and designed night flying, music, and sound. Special thanks to George Lucas.

Additional Links

About the Video

At the press conference in 1984 where this video was first shown, the idea was to present only imagery captured directly from the game. We felt our first two games were breathrough enough that we didn’t need any special effects, and indeed, we were concerned that if anything on the screen was created outside the game, people might think everything was. That’s why we chose to show a blank screen for the first minute and twenty seconds rather than creating any non-game imagery.

Sound was a different matter, though. While all the sound effects and music were from the games, personal computers of the early 1980s were not powerful enough to do voice (other than maybe a word or two).

To prepare this video, first a script was written with all the dialog and scene descriptions. Dialog was recorded at Robert Berke Sound in San Francisco using professional voice-over actors. Then the video was captured to tape directly from an Atari 800 computer. The video and the voice were then edited together, and a few video transitions added between scenes. The only part of the video that was not from the Atari is the end sequence.

Video Director: Laurie Bauman Arnold
Encoded for the Web: David Fox
Audio Recording Engineer/Mixer: Mark Escott
Video Voice Talent:
    Commander – Rick Cimino
    Fox Leader, Announcer – William T. Hall
    Wolf Leader – ??

Technical Problems

Are you having trouble streaming the video? Here are some things to try:

  • If there’s only a black screen after the Lucasfilm Logo plays in the beginning, that’s ok. The first minute and 20 seconds uses only a black screen and sound. This is how the original video was created to avoid confusing the audience by adding non-game originated imagery.

Contact Information

  David Fox - www.ElectricEggplant.com
  LucasArts - www.LucasArts.com