Atari A to Z Flashback: Yars’ Revenge

This is it! The final game in Atari Flashback Classics — and it just happens to be one of the most legendary games for the Atari 2600. It’s Howard Scott Warshaw’s all-time classic Yars’ Revenge!

This was one of the all-time best-selling games for the Atari 2600, and with good reason: it was original, it was enjoyable, it was fun and interesting to play. No, it might not look like much today — and indeed looked a bit like something was going horribly wrong with your console even back when it was current — but it’s got that special fun factor where it counts.

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Boom Blox

When we first heard that Steven Spielberg was making a game, I think the last thing anyone expected was a physics puzzler for Wii. And once that had been revealed, I think the last thing anyone expected was for it to be really good.

But Boom Blox is both of those things — and I’d go so far to say it’s an essential part of any Wii library today. Offering a wealth of fun and exciting things to do for both solo players and groups of friends, this is physics puzzling done right — and not a sodding Angry Bird in sight.

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

Atari ST A to Z: John Lowe’s Ultimate Darts

Darts! One game, one hundred yen. I’ll try it once. Except it wasn’t one hundred yen, it was twenty quid, and it offered quite a variety of different darts-related experiences for your money.

Darts video games have never really taken off, aside from as minigames inside other games (hence the Shenmue reference above) but for a while a number of developers tried to make them work. John Lowe’s Ultimate Darts for Atari ST, brought to us by Gremlin Graphics, was a solid effort — and presents far less risk of accidentally impaling the cat or puncturing a loved one than real at-home darts.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Quarxon

The Atari Program Exchange label played host to some really interesting, creative games — as well as some useful pieces of software. At least, they were useful pieces of software back in the day; for the most part, APX games have held up a bit better!

Quarxon is a great example of what this label really offered. By focusing on user-submitted programs rather than corporate mandated projects, we got a whole host of weird and wonderful things to experience — including this neato competitive shoot ’em up with a rather interesting ruleset!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Yars’ Return

For the various Atari Flashback consoles over the years, Atari included a number of “hacks” of its classic games that were decent enough to be considered full sequels.

One such example is Yars’ Return, a follow-up to Howard Scott Warshaw’s classic Yars’ Revenge. This first appeared on an Atari Flashback console in 2005 and has continued to be distributed on Flashback consoles and in compilations like Atari Flashback Classics — complete with a bug that developer Dennis Debro fixed about a decade ago — ever since. You can even buy a cart copy from Atari’s “Atari XP” initiative now, too.

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Blast Works

Kenta Cho’s shoot ’em ups can be a bit of an acquired taste, but let yourself get wrapped up in them and you’ll have a whole lot of fun.

A great way to do that is to have a play around with Wii title Blast Works, which is an adaptation of Cho’s game Tumiki Fighters — and also includes several of Cho’s games as unlockable extras. It’s a satisfying game with some thoroughly unusual mechanics in its own right — then once you’ve mastered it you can build your own with some of the most comprehensive editing tools you’ll ever see on console!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Impossamole

The Monty Mole series from Gremlin is most commonly associated with the 8-bit home computer platforms, but it did actually get a 16-bit outing with Impossamole, developed by the one and only Core Design.

While superficially resembling the developer’s notorious “masocore” platformer Rick Dangerous, Impossamole is a rather more fair and enjoyable experience with plenty of variety — you can even tackle the initial stages in whatever order you please. While some argue that Monty’s earlier 8-bit adventures were better, it’s certainly a fairly respectable showing here on the Atari ST!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Phobos

Did you like Caverns of Mars? Then I recommend you play its sequel! No, not Caverns of Mars II, though I rather like that too — I’m talking about Phobos, its much less well-known follow-up.

Phobos takes the vertically scrolling formula of Caverns of Mars and builds atop it with a variety of interesting new mechanics — including significant chunks of level where you descend at your own pace rather than at a constant speed. It’s a ton of fun — and a game that will very much set you on edge while you play!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Xari Arena

Old games consoles are, as a rule, pretty good at making your ears bleed, but Xari Arena for Atari 5200 takes things to a whole other level by being one of the noisiest games you’ll ever come across.

Don’t let that put you off, though, because what we have here is a highly creative and unusual game that, sadly, never saw an official release back in the day. And that’s a real shame, because as a genuine Atari 5200 exclusive, Xari Arena stands out as an enjoyable and original game that is highly enjoyable for both solo players and pairs.

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Kororinpa

There’s a lot of really good games on the Wii, many of which are completely forgotten in the mistaken assumption that the platform’s library is “all shovelware”.

Launch title Kororinpa is a good example of this. It’s an excellent example of how the platform’s iconic motion controls can be used to make a really rather compelling physics puzzler — and a game that deserved to do a whole lot better than it actually did! Oh well. At least we can appreciate it now.

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

The best of overlooked and underappreciated computer and video games, from yesterday and today