Switchblade: Living on a Knife Edge

The 8- and 16-bit home computer eras played host to some fantastic games — but when we’re talking about gaming history, most people tend to focus on the home consoles of the era.

This means that a lot of interesting games tend to fall by the wayside and run the risk of being forgotten. One inventive way to address this, then, is to take one of those beloved 8- or 16-bit home computer games and produce a modern port for a classic console system. Problem solved! Kinda.

Well, either way, that’s what happened with Switchblade, a game that began life as an Atari ST game in 1989, and which ended up ported to Sega Mega Drive a full thirty years later. And now you can enjoy the latter version as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system!

Continue reading Switchblade: Living on a Knife Edge

Atari A to Z Flashback: Haunted House

It’s time to once again enter the world of survival horror with one of the earliest examples of the genre: Atari’s Haunted House.

Haunted House can be seen as an evolution of the Adventure formula in that it involves navigating a preset map, manipulating objects and avoiding enemies. The twist this time around is that you’re in a spooky old mansion full of locked doors, tarantulas and a rather annoyed old ghost. Oh, and it’s dark. Very dark. Except on the first difficulty level, but only babies play Game 1 on Haunted House.

Check out the action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Back to School

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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After the Atelier Iris subseries marked a period of dabbling with a more “traditional” RPG-style structure, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis demonstrated a clearly defined shift back towards Atelier’s roots. And Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy continues that trend.

Indeed, while the three Atelier Iris games are largely unrelated to one another — aside from some long-term lore connections between Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana and Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny — Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy returns to the series’ original model of installments in the same subseries standing by themselves as self-contained narratives, but unfolding in the same world about 5-10 years later.

As the title suggests, time has not been especially kind to the world of Mana Khemia, but that’s part of what makes what’s going on here so interesting. Let’s take a first look!

Continue reading Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Back to School

Final Fantasy Marathon: That Bit Everyone Hates – Final Fantasy III #4

How many games have you come across where the reputation of a notoriously annoying or difficult section has put you off exploring further?

For Final Fantasy III, that section is featured in today’s episode: it’s a dungeon and boss fight where you’re forced to inflict the status effect Mini on your entire party for the duration, and as such it makes melee characters almost entirely useless.

Still, the mages can probably save the day, right? Find out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari ST A to Z: No Second Prize

It was an exciting time when racing games moved from sprite-based “fake 3D” visuals to full polygonal 3D — and one gets the distinct impression that a lot of developers found the changeover a blessing, too.

For one, we started to see lots more attempts to simulate the experience of racing things other than cars; and many of these developers elected to explore a more “sim-like” approach, too, taking some cues from the well-established flight simulation genre.

One fine example that I hadn’t come across previously is No Second Prize, an impressively speedy motorcycle racing game. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Multidude: One-Player Co-Op

Have you found it difficult to get together with friends lately, perhaps due to a global virus pandemic? Are you missing the joy of cooperating with your fellow dudes, and open to an electronic surrogate? Then do I have the game for you.

Multidude is a short puzzle adventure by Russian developer RetroSouls. It was originally released for ZX Spectrum in 2014, then subsequently ported to NES the following year, at which point it was picked up by Mega Cat Studios for a packaged release.

It’s also part of the Mega Cat Studios Collection 1 for the Evercade retro gaming system, and that’s the version we’ll be looking at today. Bring on the dudes!

Continue reading Multidude: One-Player Co-Op

Waifu Wednesday: Ulrika Mulberry

With Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis done and dusted, this week we’re turning our attention to its direct sequel, Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy.

And where better to begin taking a look at this game than with an appreciation of the main female protagonist, one Ulrika Mulberry? After all, we’ve had four Atelier games in a row with a male lead, so it’s about time we let the ladies take the spotlight once again.

Okay, yes, Mana Khemia 2 also has male protagonist Raze, but we’re all about Ulrika today. Hit the jump to find out more!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Ulrika Mulberry

short;Play: Dungeon of the Endless

Amplitude Studios first came to my attention a good few years back with the release of Endless Space, a 4X strategy game that I didn’t completely suck at.

Since that first game, they’ve expanded the Endless universe considerably with several other games. Probably my favourite of them all is Dungeon of the Endless, a curious hybrid of roguelike, board game, tower defense and all manner of other goodness. And it’s out now for Nintendo Switch! You can get it in a box and everything.

Having not actually played it for a while, I decided to see how I got on with my rusty skills. The answer is “not well”, but I hope at least you can see why this game is so enjoyable if you take the time to learn it!

If you enjoyed the video, don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

The Adventures of Rad Gravity: Creative Vision

We talk quite a lot about “video game auteurs” these days, and how modern technology allows game designers to realise their visions like never before.

This sort of thing has been going on for quite some time, however — and in some respects, it’s even more impressive when a developer clearly expresses their creativity through a work from the earlier days of gaming.

Such is the case with The Adventures of Rad Gravity, a 1990 release for NES developed by Interplay, designed by Brian Fargo (of Bard’s Tale and Wasteland fame) and published by Activision. Oh, and no need to brave the second-hand market to find a copy any more, either — it’s part of the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

Continue reading The Adventures of Rad Gravity: Creative Vision

Atari A to Z: Typo Attack

Want to practice your typing skills? There were a bunch of different ways to do that back in the Atari 8-bit era, with one of the most fun being Typo Attack.

Typo Attack is one of several success stories that stemmed from the Atari Program Exchange, where independent, amateur developers could submit their work to Atari, who would publish and distribute it and pay the creators royalties. In several cases, the creators of APX titles went on to become full-time Atari employees — or, at the very least, their games became “official” releases.

Typo Attack is an example of the latter. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

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