Babies of the Dirt: Entech’s Dirty Secret?

November 27th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

Entech's Babies of the Dirt

Wayne A. Lee, a VC&G reader, recently wrote me about an odd game title that has been haunting him for years.

It was [your Retro Scan of the Week column] that brought to mind an ad I saw way back in the 80s in Compute! magazine for a Commodore 64 game called “Babies of the Dirt.” I’d never seen the game itself, but the game’s bizarre title has remained stuck in my head for decades. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the game was never released, but a few years ago I found the ad, and I scanned it (it’s from the December 1983 issue of Compute!).

Entech Advertisement - Compute Dec 1983

Do you know anything about Entech, or this game? I wonder if any of your readers would. Googling the exact phrase “Babies of the Dirt” turns up nothing, and no one I’ve ever asked has ever heard of it.

Unfortunately, I know nothing about either Entech or the mysterious Babies of the Dirt for the Commodore 64, but the game sure sounds dramatic. Here’s the description from the ad:

An earthquake sucks you to the center of the earth. To escape you must battle the BABIES OF THE DIRT. But, don’t miss or its doomsday! Watch out for their mother.

You have to admit that Babies in the Dirt serves as a very compelling title. I’d love to see the game in action — if, in fact, it ever existed. It probably reached prototype form but never went on sale. Coming from what was likely a one-programmer software company at the time, such scenarios of “lost” computer games are not unusual these days.

Entech LogoEntech appears to have been one of many hundreds of indie home computer game developers in the early 1980s. Ads for similar software houses littered the pages of home computer magazines like Compute! at the time. I don’t have the December ’83 issue of Compute!, so I couldn’t find the ad for Babies myself. I did look through the October and November 1983 issues of Compute!, but I found no other ads for Entech. It makes sense — this one ad probably blew their whole advertising budget for a year.

Does anybody out there know anything about Entech, a southern California software company, or Babies of the Dirt? If so, please leave a comment below. Perhaps the programmer of Babies will step forward some day to claim responsibility for this bizarre title. Until then, we’ll probably still be in the dark.

UPDATE (11/27/2007): I’ve been scanning through more issues of Compute! magazine and I found this ad in the June 1983 issue which mentions Babies of the Dirt. The ad’s design is similar to the one above, leading me to believe that the ads were designed by the same local company (A-V Graphics). However, the company listed in this ad, “House of Software,” sells products by companies other than Entech. Interestingly, House of Software was located near Entech (in/around Los Angeles, CA), so perhaps House of Software was run by a friend/relative of Entech, or perhaps even by the same person behind Entech.

House of Software - Compute - June 1983



11 Responses to “Babies of the Dirt: Entech’s Dirty Secret?”

  1. Merman Says:

    The game isn’t listed in Gamebase64 (www.gb64.com), nor can I find a reference to the company Entech…

  2. Kitsunexus Says:

    Babies of the Dirt would make a KICKASS band name.

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for checking, Merman. I also checked a vintage list of C64 games I inherited from a fanatical C64 game collector (housed in a tattered three-ring notebook), but alas, he had no record of copying Babies of the Dirt.

    Just as another note, I found another small ad (1/4 page) for Entech in the June 1983 issue of Compute! — the same issue in which the “House of Software” ad above appears. No new information though.

  4. Moondog Says:

    Sounds like a forgotten Stephen King novel.

  5. bunnyhero (wayne) Says:

    Benj, thanks again for posting this!

    a friend of mine searched for “entech” “commodore” (i hadn’t thought to do that!), which turns up this person’s bio:

    http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com/bio.html

    he used to work as entech’s PR rep. i wonder if he’d remember anything about babies of the dirt?

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    No problem, bunnyhero. Thanks for the info — I sent Mr. Stern an email asking him about the game.

  7. Matthew Stern Says:

    As I recall, Babies of the Dirt was never released. The music from Babies of the Dirt was included on the Studio 64 demo disk that went out in late 1984. I’ve seen that disk on a number of SID music sites. Hope this helps.

  8. Zoyous Says:

    Never heard of this before this article. Now I’ve GOT to hear that music!

  9. bunnyhero (wayne) Says:

    thanks Mr Stern! like Zoyous, now i have to hear the music too!

  10. Benj Edwards Says:

    Here’s the SID music file for Studio 64. I’m not sure which track is the music from Babies of the Dirt, thought. If you need a SID player, you can find one here, although there are many different players available.

  11. Lawrence Fletcher Says:

    I have one of the boxes for one of Entech products. http://www.iagnol.com/game_art/entech.jpg

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