Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Thief (c) 12/1981 Pacific Novelty.

This title plays a lot like "Pac-Man", except the maze is more detailed. You drive you car around the maze, picking up the money that is laying around everywhere (just like the dots in "Pac-Man"). Now to avoid being any more like" Pac-Man", the designer decided to give you four enemies, who each move around the maze with a distinct personality (but they are cars, not ghosts). In a final attempt to make this game different from "Pac-man", the designer then added dollar signs in each corner of the screen, running over these allows you to chase after your foes, and run over them (not at all like "Pac-Man"). In later levels these dollar signs may be in places other than the corners (finally, something that actually is different than "Pac-Man"). Each level is finished by clearing all the dollars bills from the board (the game will also rate you with a new 'Crime Level' everytime you complete a screen).


Main CPU : Z80 (@ 4 Mhz)

Sound Chips : (2x) AY8910 (@ 1 Mhz), Samples (@ 1 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 256 x 256 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz

Palette Colors : 16

Players : 2

Control : 4-way joystick


Thief was not a new idea, it was a simple automotive maze game, but is memorable for having some truly horrible graphics. The kind of graphics that are so bad that you can tell a lot of effort was put into them. This was actually a common problem with a lot of lesser known early 80s arcade titles. The programmers would try and push the limits of their hardware, and end up with a true monstrousity.

The game is still fun, despite the "crashed Nintendo" look of the background scenes and explosions.

Thief machines are of an interesting design. They are bright red, and have a very 'top heavy' look to them, this is due to the laid back monitor, and oversized marquee. These machines have a simple 'Thief' logo as sideart (it is a sticker), and use chrome t-molding. The oversized marquee is yellow, and has an image of a 1920s paddy wagon, and a prisoner wearing a classic black and white striped prison suit. The control panel overlay and monitor bezel are yellow as well, and are covered in similar images to the one on the marquee. The control panel itself has only a 4-Way joystick with a red ball on top, and Start buttons for each player located on the right side of the panel.

The machine also has a cassette player mounted inside that plays an eight minute loop tape of actual police radio announcements from many years ago. If you last long enough, you will hear a voice break through the announcements to tell you 'Hey, good play!'. Last even longer, and the voice breaks through with a couple more comments about your play, each one less and less nice.


Each 'Bill' collected : 10 points.

Hitting first car : 100 points.

Hitting second car : 500 points.

Hitting third car : 1000 points.

Hitting fourth car : 2000 points.


Executive producer : Brian D. Senler

Screenplay by : Philip Lieberman

Directed by : Bernie Stolar

Stunts performed by : Bill Cravens

Cinematography by : Robert Meacher