A downloadable game for Windows

No guns. No enemies. Just your cab, gravity, and money to be made. In 16 colours or less. Those were the days of Space Taxi on the Commodore 64. Space Taxi holds my fondest childhood gaming memories, and it has aged far better than others such as Choplifter, Burger Time, and Battle Thru Time. It’s even more fun than Bruce Lee, Aztec Challenge, and Fort Apocalypse!

When I set out to remake the original for the PC, I decided it had to look and play exactly like the original did on the Commodore. Via an emulator on the PC, I copied the original graphics and sounds. I used a stopwatch to calculate gravity, acceleration, and fuel consumption rates for each level. Playing obsessively, I dug for details to match my remake to the original. The “bong” as each part of the giant beanstalk grows. The time between customer spawns. The taxi’s bounce behavior on hard landings.

My remake coincided with a sequel approved by the original game's author, John F. Kutcher. He still has the rights to it, and with a new game coming out there was an obvious problem with me giving away the original for free! However, John generously allowed me to release my work with the first eight levels (the Day Shift) to spur interest in the new game.

Fans of the game will find lots of touches even in those eight levels. You can still fly your taxi just ever-so-slightly above the exit window and off the sides. If you are fast enough on Beanstalk, it’s possible to pick up just the first passenger and be done with the level in a hurry. And if you crash on the teleporting level your cab can still be teleported - even as it’s crashing to the ground in a huge fireball.

There are a couple of differences. The taxi looked absolutely terrible when it wasn’t showing on a television. I think it may have had something to do with the colours Kutcher chose to make the cab have rounded edges. I had to design a new taxi that kept the look/feel of the original. You can see the same effect on the passengers, but I left them alone. I also increased the pixel resolution to three times the original depth. It just didn’t feel right playing with such chunky movement on a modern platform. It wasn’t retro… it was simply awful! I added in mouse support to the menus and put in a check for quit on press of the escape key (though you can turn those options off for authenticity).

I have a few regrets. I never fully captured the behavior of level 8 – Puzzler. Only the biggest fans will spot it, but I would like to go back and improve on it. The game is also lacking in a bit of robustness. It only runs full-screen, and only at 1024×768. If run from a protected folder (or inside the zip file) it will crash and provide no information as to why. This has to do with a 3rd party file packing utility I employed, and I need to give it some attention or strip it out for an alternative.

Space Taxi has aged incredibly well. Something about the gravity, acceleration, pressure for good tips, and the level variety came together in a perfect storm of gaming. Give it a try. It’s possible to break $1000 even from those first eight levels as long as you don’t need too much fuel (or any extra cabs). Have fun, and let me know if you enjoyed it!


SpaceTaxi.zip 2 MB

Install instructions

Extract the game folder from the .zip. If you don't, the game will fail to launch (and not tell you why!)

Then run Space Taxi.exe. That's it!


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Its really a amazing game! It looks and sounds and plays like the C64 version.

I hope to see updates for this, its really a great port from C64 to windows.

Thanks! I really tried to match the original exactly. Maybe I will return to it one day...