In Tax Avoiders for Atari 2600, you play as John Q, a character seeking to amass a fortune of $1,000,000 within a year while minimizing tax liabilities. The game consists of two main screens: the income screen and the investment/tax shelter screen.
On the income screen, your goal is to collect dollar signs representing money while avoiding red snakes symbolizing governmental red tape. Each second in the game represents a day, and time moves quickly. You have four visits to the investment/tax shelter screen, one for each season of the year.
In the investment/tax shelter screen, you must collect an investment icon and then grab your portfolio (briefcase). Each investment has a 50/50 chance of making or losing money. On this screen, you’ll also encounter a character whose color changes, determining their role:
- Black: Eggie, the IRS agent. If he catches you, he’ll audit you, and you’ll always lose. You’ll be taxed at 50% of your income and sent back to the income screen.
- Pink: Waggie, the CPA. If he catches you or you go to him, he’ll charge you $1,000 but will put you in a better tax-sheltered investment.
- Green: Toodles, the registered investment adviser. If you two meet, he’ll put you in the best tax-sheltered investment available, maximizing your profit.
After each season, you’ll be taxed based on your current tax shelter. The objective of Tax Avoiders is to have a net worth of $1,000,000 at the end of the year after taxes.