C64 Games: Crossroads

From Compute! Magazine

An ode to this type-in classic.

Growing up, my family collected dozens and dozens (and dozens) of Commodore-64 games throughout the years including plenty developed by the AAA studios of the time. And yet, when I reflect, the game I perhaps miss the most is Crossroads. Yes, I I know I can Google up a ROM at any old time, but it’s never the same without the old crunchy joysticks and the long boot-times. I’ll also admit that I like keeping some things in the past. Sometimes the old magic just isn’t there anymore.

So, in general, ROMs are just not for me–especially with plenty of new games to be played.

Anyway, Crossroads was a type-in game rather than a piece of software you bought in a box. I had thought it was published in Info magazine, but my brief blast of internet research suggests it was actually found in Compute!

What I remember is this: my dad and me trading turns typing the program into the C64 line-by-line, checking carefully, but still getting some of it wrong and having to figure out where. I don’t remember ever finally getting it working, but I do recall years and years of my brother and I trading turns at the game. And it was a blast!

Crossroads is a classic run-and-gun through a single-screen maze. On paper, this is nothing special, but what made Crossroads such fun were all the enemies with great names like Purple Rubberhead, Blue Flea, and Cyan Mashed Potato, each with distinctive attributes. I remember one of these baddies (the Purple Rubberhead, maybe?) being especially hard to get.

There was a sequel as well… Crossroads: Pandemonium, but I don’t recall all the typing and compile errors or even how the gameplay differed. I’m pretty sure we had it. Maybe my dad typed it all in solo that time. Maybe I was too distracted by puberty to enjoy the sequel to the same degree.

The original Crossroads is a largely unknown gem of the Commodore years and one very much worth playing, but I’m not sure the experience will be quite the same without having to type it in line-by-line-by-line.