Starwombat was released for the Atari 2600 in March 1978 but was withdrawn very soon afterwards owing to two mistakes with its production run.
The first issue was that the back story to the game – that of the fictional history of the titular Starwombat, its role in future space warfare, and the honour and responsibility of the people tasked with caring for these magnificent creatures from birth to death – was sadly missing; the story, originally written in Japan, was shipped across to America for translation but lost at sea (along with several thousand cartridges of the game) when the ship it was sent on disappeared. When those games that had already been distributed to America and Europe were released anyway without much in the way of explanation as to what to do the result was a confusing experience for everyone.
The second issue was the now infamous Game 18, the Starwombat Vaccination game, the purpose of which was to administer a series of vaccinations through the creature’s thick pelt. Sadly, without an adequate description the game more closely resembled an early porn game as one player tried to ram a long spike into the opening of the creature controlled by player two. This led to a raft of complaints and a rapid withdrawal of the game from circulation.
The Atari 2600 video game cartridge Starwombat is highly sought after by fans of the console. In 2011 a cartridge sold on eBay for over £2000.