Lost Treasures

December 7, 2015

Episode 15: Smash TV

Interview with Mark Turmell


We have a first for you this week. Our first Lost Treasures of Gaming that features an arcade game.  Our guest this week is Mark Turmell who was the programmer behind the smash arcade hit, Smash TV.  If you were a fan of the game back in the day, you may have triggered a special “warp” that immediately teleported you to another level in the game. Did you ever wonder what you did to trigger that? The answer may surprise you.  We also get the true story behind the infamous Pleasure Dome level of the game and why it was not originally shipped with the game. Again, that answer may surprise you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Although by 1990 there were not as many arcade games being produced as some people would have liked, Williams was definitely still in the game and released SMASH TV to eager audiences in April of 1990.

Designed by Eugene Jarvis (perhaps best known for Defender, Stargate, and Robotron 2084), Smash TV was programmed by Mark Turmell who had previously created games on home computers. Keeping with Robotron’s dual stick move and shoot play mechanic, Smash TV follows a theme borrowed from the Running Man where players are competing in a violent game show set in the future. You move from room to room shooting down enemies to collect weapons and power ups to progress.

The game originally shipped without the bonus level called the Pleasure Dome as the designers ran out of time and weren’t even sure that anyone would ever get to that level, but players did and complained until Williams shipped a version that included the complete game as it was originally designed. [Editor’s Note: Our interview revealed that this wasn’t actually true!]

Smash TV was very popular in the arcade, but at home as well and has received ports for all kinds of systems including the NES, the Super NES, Game Gear, Sega Master System and Sega Genesis. It was available on many home computers by 1992 including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST and even the ZX Spectrum.

Today the game is part of the Midway Arcade Treasures released on the GameCube Xbox and PlayStation 2, and also the 2012 compilation Midway Arcade Origins for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game was once available as a separate download on Xbox Live Arcade but was delisted after Midway dissolved.

If you’re looking for some great action, make sure to check it out!

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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