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Free the Falklands!

How did a game with so much potential end up failing so spectacularly? That's probably the greatest mystery surrounding Free the Falklands!, a game that makes Daikatana seem well-planned and Duke Nukem Forever timely.

Free the Falklands!

Up-and-coming publisher War Gamez had been working on a war game about an island invasion for nearly a year before the Falklands crisis. Early feedback was unanimously positive, and the game featured some of the most advanced graphics available on the 2600. (In fact, industry scuttlebutt says that much of the inspiration for Doom came from FtF!'s never-finished third level, a first-person run through a maze.)

The game was the talk of the 1983 International Game Publisher's Conference (now E3). Rumors swirled that Time planned to use a screenshot from the game on its cover. People mobbed the War Gamez booth, desperate to play the demo, a top-down air attack. By the end of the conference, War Gamez had racked up nearly a thousand pre-orders.

And then...nothing. Months passed, and still no game. War Gamez insiders reported that the entire staff had been fired. Rumors of a second demo tantalized Atari fans, but nothing appeared. (It was later revealed that the demo shown earlier was a re-skinned River Raid, and that Activision was considering a lawsuit.) Finally, the fans lost interest. When the game finally came out in late 1986, few gamers even remembered the Falklands war, and FtF!'s blocky graphics looked primitive. According to Atari Gamer magazine, less than 100 copies of FtF! were sold; the rest remain in a warehouse in Sunnyvale, CA.

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