Nostalgia: Shufflepuck Cafe



For those of you who remember the good old days of the Error Bomb and the SE-30, you may remember the old Broderbund game Shufflepuck Café. You were thrust into rough and tumble space bar, clearly the outsider, forced to prove yourself in a true game of wits and agility: computer air hockey. It was a simple game for simple times: a handful of wacky alien characters, mild nudity, and an animated screen crack when your opponent scored. Ah to go back for one more round.

But you’d need a vintage Mac for that, and you threw yours out with your velour leisure suit years ago. Fret not! There are a few free possibilities for a quick match on OS X! None line up perfectly with the original, and for that I am exploring the avenues of emulation, but in a pinch these will do.

TuxPuck is perhaps the most reminiscent of the original, with a character closely resembling Princess Bejin. It is, however, limited in the characters you can play against and might need a bit of massaging to get it to play.

Shufflepuck REVOLUTION provides a bit more variety in the way of characters, including Woz and Jobs as opponents, but it’s also updated the system with 3D graphics. Unlike TuxPuck, Shufflepuck REVOLUTION insists on playing in fullscreen, which is a bit off-putting if you don’t know that right away.

The quest for the perfect OS X Shufflepuck match continues!

12 responses to “Nostalgia: Shufflepuck Cafe”

  1. Thibaut says:

    Everything I can do with a mouse, I learned it at a dear age while playing shufflepuck café. I still have the app in my app folder, even though it is not working anymore.

  2. Craig Grannell says:

    I’ve tried both Mac OS X Shufflepuck Café equivalents, and they’re both utterly dreadful. However, the original game runs pretty much flawlessly under Mini vMac, and so that’s an avenue for anyone who wants to play this excellent game. Also, whoever currently owns the rights to Brøderbund’s back catalogue or this game specifically (perhaps even Chris Gross) really needs to get this on iPhone.

    <img height=”444″ src=”” width=”592″>

  3. Dean Putney says:

    You’re right, just saying that they don’t match the original obviously isn’t the right way to put it. They are there though, and playable at the very least. I’m going to look into Mini vMac and a couple other virtualization programs to see how quick they are to set up.

    Would anyone care that much if someone ported it to the iPhone?

  4. Craig Grannell says:

    I think Mini vMac took me a few minutes at most to get running, and it works with OS files Apple makes (or at least made at one point—no idea if it still does) freely downloadable. I can’t imagine it’d be tricky for any remotely adept Mac user, although I do admit to being an emulation nut/retro-game fiend (hence my writing for Retro Gamer in the UK, including, in fact, a piece on Shufflepuck Café many moons ago).

    As for iPhone, I doubt the game has the pulling power of a Tetris, but it’s a great game with great characters; I suspect if it showed up on the App Store for a quid or so it’d fly off the virtual shelves—well, if it was a good conversion, obviously.

  5. Torley says:

    OMG! So glad you wrote about this. Shufflepuck Cafe was one of my fave games on the Amiga. Unlike the Mac version, it had rich, 32-color (hee) graphics.

    I don’t have an iPhone so I wonder how agile the controls are, because some of the characters had some pretty wild, rapid styles — definitely a game that needs to be smooth and slick to play.

    They could even make an “educational” version of SC for this new age which, infact, rewards you for learning mouse gestures. ;D

  6. Craig Grannell says:

    I imagine the game could work nicely in vertical orientation, with the puck literally sitting under your finger. As for the Amiga version, it was quite a nice conversion, but I still prefer the Mac original. The opponents just seem to have far more character.

    If you want to see a real car crash, check out the NES version, which is almost beyond belief in terms of utter dreadfulness.