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Video Game Vintage Title APB: All Points Bulletin

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APB: All Points Bulletin

APB: All Points Bulletin

APB is a 1987 arcade video game by Atari Games. In the game, the player assumes the role of "Officer Bob," a rookie police officer. As Bob, players drive around the city, ticketing motorists for minor infractions and pulling over more serious offenders. Eventually, players must apprehend criminals for which an all points bulletin has been called.

The game was noted at the time of release for its presentation. The arcade cabinet was created to look like a police car, with a gas pedal, steering wheel and a siren button, complete with flashing lights atop the unit. The game's cartoonish visuals and sense of humor gained it positive reviews. However, the game was slightly criticized for its difficulty; the game's developers later admitted that a long development cycle had resulted in the gameplay growing more complicated than originally planned.

Versions of the game were released for various computer systems, as well as the handheld Atari Lynx. An emulated version of the game was made available as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 2, Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition, and Midway Arcade Origins.

APB: All Points Bulletin Plot


APB: All Points Bulletin Gameplay

The object of the game is to meet (or exceed) the daily quota of citing or arresting various types of law-breakers within a time limit for the day. The player is given an overhead view of Officer Bob's patrol car, number 54. The player controls the car with a gas pedal and a steering wheel. The player receives demerits for collisions with the siren off and failing to make quota. Bonuses are awarded for a "perfect day" and each arrest over the quota. Picking up donuts extends the time limit for a day. Driving through filling stations refuels the patrol car. Driving through the garage daily upgrades the patrol car with brakes, guns, armor, radar, etc.

The game begins by having the player ticket common misdemeanor infractions (such as littering) by pulling up behind them, pushing the siren button and having them pull over. Eventually, the game gives the player the task of arresting fugitive felons, including murderers. Every other day, starting on the third day, the player can go after an A.P.B. ("All Points Bulletin"). When a fugitive is caught and returned to the station, the player must violently shake the suspect to get a confession before the Chief enters the room. This is done by filling the "Confess-O-Meter" by tapping alternatively on the "fire" and "siren" buttons. After Day 16, no other petty violators are introduced. The daily quota will be a combination of those above, with a few "Helps"(stranded motorists) thrown in.

The game ends when the player reaches his demerit maximum. When the demerit limit is reached, the game shows the player being pulled over, cuffed by other officers, and then thrown into a trash can with the message "TOO MANY DEMERITS. YOU ARE FIRED."

The game cabinet is generally a standard upright. The main controls consist of a steering wheel, a siren button, a "fire" button for the gun and an accelerator pedal. The cabinet has two lights on top, red and blue, which flash when the player presses the siren button. Units feature a detachable seat which can be used to convert the cabinet into a sit-down game.

The game enjoyed moderate success in the marketplace, as most Atari games did. Its high-resolution graphics and novel cabinet design, with the flashing lights atop, added to its initial appeal. The game was noted for its increasing difficulty, with The Games Machine calling it at times "utterly frustrating." However, the game's cartoonish graphics and sound along with its humor were well-received, with Your Sinclair calling it "one of the funniest games of the year" and Computer and Video Games calling it "hilarious." The unique gameplay was also lauded; The Games Machine called it "like a breath of fresh air." and Crash said the game was "refreshingly different from the usual mass of bash-or-blast'em ups".

In a retrospective review for Allgame, Paul Biondich wrote that the gameplay "stood the test of time" and that the arcade cabinet's unique design set the game apart in arcades. He also wrote that ten years after its release, the game was still graphically impressive. In addition, he complimented the game's depth, difficulty curve and replay value.

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