Bagman: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Valadon Automation, a relatively unknown company in the gaming industry created and produced Bagman in 1982. Bagman is a multiplatform game that was published by Stern Electronics in the United States. One sequel, Super Bagman, was released in 1984.

A modified version of ‘Turkey in the Straw,’ by Merry Men is the theme song to Bagman. When ported for home gaming consoles, the name was changed to Gilligan's Gold, likely to help make it to appeal more to North American audiences. Home versions were released in the 1980s on the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other gaming computers.

Bagman is a one or two player game.


Game Play Overview

At first glance, Bagman is simply a multiplatform game, similar to Burger Time and Dig Dug. However, Bagman gives players the ability to pan across a total of three screens that are situated side by side. This makes each stage more expansive and detailed than other games of its kind. In Bagman, players take on the role of a thief that tracks down bags of gold. The gold is located in an underground maze-like cavern, which is connected via a series of paths, elevators, carts and ladders.

There is only one enemy group in Bagman, consisting of two guards. They constantly patrol the cavern, making it more difficult for players to get to certain bags of gold. These enemies can be stopped temporarily, but they can never be totally eliminated from any board.

The goal of Bagman is to collect all bags of gold across all three screens. Travel up and down ladders and elevators to get to different platforms, and use the paths to walk across ledges housing bags of gold. On some boards, there are also hidden items that you can use pick axes to get to. Chipping away at a wall will allow you to get to the hidden items, but you will have to be mindful of the time meter as well as foes.

Another way to travel across paths and screens in Bagman is to use the cart. These carts can only move on fixed tracks. You can only carry a single bag of gold at a time, and you will only score points if you put it in the wheelbarrow which is situated at the top of the board. This wheelbarrow can also be moved from screen to screen.

In order to reach the next level, every bag of gold will need to be carried to the wheelbarrow. Losing a life will cause you to start the same level over, but any bags of gold previously collected will still be credited to you. Guards can be hit with bags of gold and pickaxes. Pickaxes are only effective when you are standing on a ledge, while bags of gold can only be dropped when you are standing directly above a guard. Bags of gold are most effective when traveling up a ladder.

Special Features

Blue bags give players a point bonus, but they are somewhat difficult to reach. There will be a limited number of pickaxes on each stage. Use the pickaxe to chisel away cavern walls, and reveal blue bags for extra points.


Thief – The cavorting thief dressed in a signature red and white striped outfit is the main character in Bagman.

Guards – Two guards will follow the thief on each and every level. They cannot be killed and they are quite persistent.

Wheelbarrow –The wheelbarrow is where all bags of gold are stored. Move the wheelbarrow across the three screens in order to make finishing each level easier.

Bags of gold – Bags of gold can be identified by the dollar sign symbol emblazoned on the side. Collect them all to move on.

Pickaxes – Pickaxes are placed randomly on each board. They can help the thief to stop guards temporarily as well as collect special bags.

Elevators – Move from platform to platform by traveling on the elevator. Elevators move slow, but they can help you to clear out gold bags more efficiently.

Ladders – Ladders are the most convenient mode of travel in Bagman, but they are only placed on certain ledges. Be careful of guards traveling up and down ladders in pursuit of the thief.

Carts – Use carts to go to adjacent screens, but key an eye on the tracks. When the tracks stop, jump off of the cart quickly.

Special bags of gold – Special bags of gold are blue in color and well hidden. You will need a pickaxe in order to get to them.

How to Play Bagman
The thief is controlled with the up, down, left and right direction keys. When you want to collect a bag of gold, you will need to select the action key. Normally, the guards mode at the same speed as the thief, but he slows down considerably when transporting gold. For this reason, players are most vulnerable when carrying bags of gold to the wheelbarrow.

In order to pick up a gold bag, you will need to hit the action key. Hitting the action key while carrying a bag of gold, will cause you to drop it. If you drop a bag of gold while traveling on a ladder, it will fall to the bottom platform. Remember that you need to collect all bags of gold in order to move on, so be careful about stunning guards.

Although pickaxes are the most effective weapon that players can use against guards, they are also the most limited. As soon as you pick up an axe, time will start ticking. After a few moments, the pick axe will disappear.

Remember that you have a fixed amount of time to clear all three screens on each board. If you are not quick, you will automatically lose a life. Instead of clearing the screens one by one, you will need to pan across them and target the most convenient bags of gold first. This will ensure that you never run out of time and get a high score in Bagman.

Hints and Tips
Only select pickaxes when you intend on using them. Since pickaxes are only good for seconds, you do not want to waste them.

- Never risk losing a turn in order to collect a special bag. The extra points can add to your score, but additional lives are more valuable.


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