written by Matthew Reed

Author:Philip Oliver
Publisher:Cornsoft Group
Compatibility:Model I and III, disk and tape
Cornsoft Group advertisement

Cornsoft Group advertisement from December 1982 issue of 80 Micro

Scarfman was based on the arcade game Pac-Man, which was released by Namco in 1980. It was written by Philip Oliver and distributed by the Cornsoft Group. The Cornsoft Group also released a version of Scarfman for the Color Computer.

The game starts with you (the “Scarfman”) at the bottom of the screen. Like Pac-Man, the goal of Scarfman is to eat all of the dots on the screen. You earn points for every dot eaten.

Five monsters start out at the top of the screen, initially with their eyes up. When in the eyes up state, monsters move quickly and chase you. You lose a life if one touches the Scarfman.

Scarfman title screen

Animated title screen

Start of game

Start of game

But if you eat one of the pluses scattered through the screen, all of the monsters lower their eyes. When in the eyes down state, monsters move more slowly, run away from you, and are vulnerable to being caught. If you catch a monster, it returns to the top of the screen with its eyes up again. The eyes down state doesn’t last for long; all of the monsters revert to the eyes up state after only a short time. The monsters shimmer just before they revert, giving you a bit of warning.

Clearing a screen by eating all of the dots and pluses moves you to a new screen. The difficulty level becomes significantly greater with each new screen. The monsters become smarter and the amount of time it takes for them to revert to the eyes up state becomes shorter.

Screen is mostly cleared

Screen is mostly cleared

Scarfman high score entry

High score entry screen

The Model III cassette version of Scarfman came with an extra instruction sheet listing the two BASIC commands needed to enable the Model III expansion bus. TRS-80 joysticks, such as the TRISSTICK, used the expansion bus but it wasn’t automatically enabled by the cassette version of Scarfman. This wasn’t a problem for the disk version.

Scarfman is one of my favorite TRS-80 games. It has a nice feel, with very fluid movement that works well with a joystick. It uses minimal, but appropriate sound effects. I think it is the best of the Pac-Man games for the TRS-80.

Categories: Arcade Games, Software


Cheri Schneider says:

I worked at a computer store in 1980. I was the first to open the box from Cornsoft for the store. I have an original t-shirt of SCARFMAN. It is light blue with all the print in brown; a picture of a monster going after the SCARFMAN, a diagram of the playing grid and the name “THE CORNSOFT GROUP” on the bottom. I did wear it, for advertizing purpose, but it still in great shape and the print in very easy to see and read. I’m not a computer user, much, just looked up for info after seeing my T-shirt again. I just wanted someone else to know this information, that liked the game. Thank You, Cheri Schneider

Dale says:

I remember playing this game for hours. There was a weird glitch that we discovered in the game about a year into playing it. If you toggled ScarfMan back and forth several times whilst in the pass-through on the sides of the screen, ScarfMan would “jump the track” and you would start to eat the walls. You would still rack up points and the monsters wouldn’t be able to touch you.