|Release date(s) 1982|
Initial release date 1982
Designer Christian Oberth
Platform Arcade game
Sound Zilog Z80
Publishers Stern, Tago Electronics
|Mode(s) Single player, Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
Display Raster, 224 x 256 pixels, 99 colors
Similar Stern games, Other games
Anteater ("The Anteater" in Britain; "Ameisenbär" in Germany) is an arcade game designed by Chris Oberth and released in 1982 by Tago Electronics. Though the arcade game was not a hit, it spawned a number of direct clones for home computers, some of which became better known than the original.
The player controls an anteater that elongates his tongue through maze-like anthills eating ants. The player can only eat ants with the tip of the anteater's tongue. If an ant bites the tongue at any other location, then the player loses a life. Pressing the second button will quickly retract the anteater's tongue. Worms will not harm the anteater unless eaten head first, in which case the player loses a life. Worms can be safely eaten from behind. Eating queen ants at the very bottom of the nest will temporarily clear all ants and worms from the screen. Once the sun has traveled across the screen and night falls, a spider will appear. The spider climbs down the anteater's tongue, taking a life if it touches the tip. The object is to eat all of the larvae before time runs out, clearing the screen. Each larva is worth 10 points. Each ant is worth 100 points, while eating a worm is worth 200 and multiplies the score from eating ants by 1x (Ex. eating 5 ants +2 worms = 500 x 2 = 1000). Queen ants are worth 1,000.
Between levels, Anteater plays In the Hall of the Mountain King.
At the start of each level, the music played is a short fragment of Ranz des Vaches, the third movement of William Tell Overture.
Ports and clones
The game was ported to the Atari 2600 by Mattel in 1983 but never published. No official ports were released but Datamost's Ardy The Aardvark (1983), which is almost identical, was written for the Apple II by Anteater's creator Chris Oberth. That game was also converted to the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit by Jay Ford.
K-Byte's K-Razy Antiks (1982) for the Atari 8-bit looks similar with an anteater at the top of an anthill maze but in this game, the player takes the role of an ant defending the anthill from enemy ants and occasionally the anteater. A game called Ant Eater (1983) was released by Romox for the VIC-20, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A and Atari 8-bit family but this actually more closely resembles Dig Dug. The Atari 8-bit version was written by Ed Fries.
Other games that more closely resemble Anteater while changing the setting are Sierra's Oil's Well (1983; itself cloned as Oilmania for the Atari ST in 1991) and Blue Ribbon's Diamond Mine II. A more straight forward clone is Bug-Byte's Aardvark (1986).