Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Alchemist on the Road

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Having taken a high-level look at Atelier Sophie’s place in the series and its overall game structure, it’s time to look more specifically at the way it does certain things.

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’re going to take a look at what Sophie gets up to when she leaves the safety of her hometown Kirchen Bell and heads out into the big, wide world. As we’ve seen elsewhere in the Atelier series, exploring and gathering ingredients is an important part of an alchemist’s lifestyle — and Sophie’s life as depicted in Atelier Sophie is certainly no exception in that regard.

So empty that Basket and throw on those gathering gloves — it’s time to hit the road!

Continue reading Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Alchemist on the Road

Atari A to Z Flashback: Star Strike

Mattel’s M Network label was set up so that Mattel, makers of the Intellivision, could have a piece of the Atari pie while also working on their own console.

Star Strike, released through the programme, is a port of one of the Intellivision’s most successful games; the original version sold around 800,000 copies in a single year, which is a huge amount for the time. Sadly, the 2600 version is… well, let’s just say it’s not quite as good as the source material.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Jupiter’s Masterdrive

While Ubi Soft is regarded as one of the big corporate publishers these days, with much of their work consisting of annualised, creatively bankrupt titles, back in their early days they were beloved for their creative releases.

Jupiter’s Masterdrive for Atari ST is a great example. It takes the top-down racing game and adds a futuristic spin — and the result is a highly playable game that is a lot of fun to challenge, even today. Just watch out for those boats — they’re tricky to handle!

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: Pitstop

Early takes on the racing game genre often seem quite primitive by today’s standards — but some of them still had some ambitious ideas.

Epyx’s Pitstop for Atari 8-bit is a good example. While its game structure is fundamentally flawed if playing solo and its racing action is nothing special, it was the first game to not only incorporate pit stops as part of a race, but also to allow you to take control of your pit crew and actually perform the pit stop yourself.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Getting Into Role

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What, exactly, is an “RPG” anyway? The term covers such a broad spectrum of different game types these days that it’s fast becoming less useful than it once was — and yet it’s still understood by many people to mean a few things.

Growth in power over the duration of the story; strength, competence and other things that can grow (and shrink!) represented as numerical values; abstract mechanics that represent things which would be difficult to simulate “realistically”. All of these are pretty constant, regardless of what type of RPG you’re playing.

But the approach to story — and indeed the main “point” of the experience — varies wildly from game to game. And with Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, we see a game with a noticeably different feel to many of the titles that have come before in the Atelier series.

Continue reading Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Getting Into Role

Atari A to Z Flashback: Star Ship

Before Star Raiders, there was Star Ship. And it’s… umm… not quite as good.

That said, when you consider this came out in 1977 — a time when no-one really knew what a “video game” was, let alone what a “first-person perspective space combat simulator” might look like — then they didn’t do all that bad of a job considering the limitations of the hardware.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: IK+

Despite it being one of the most legendarily enjoyable games on the Atari ST, I must admit that I never played International Karate+, better known simply as IK+, back in the day.

Well, it’s time to correct that longstanding oversight, because it’s time for “I” on Atari ST A to Z once again — and IK+ has been staring me down for several goes around the alphabet to date. Let’s fight! And don’t forget to press “T” for Trousers.

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: Ocean Detox

As we’ve seen a few previous times on this series, the development scene for the Atari 8-bit is, like with many other ’80s home computers, alive and well.

Ocean Detox, the game we’re looking at today, was the winner of an annual software competition run by the Atari Bit Byter User Club, or ABBUC. This competition attracts some of the most talented Atari 8-bit developers from across the world every year, and everything produced for it is always both high quality and well worth your time.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – First Steps in a Mysterious New World

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After how beloved the Dusk subseries of Atelier has become over the years, how could Gust possibly follow that up?

By doing what they’ve always done, of course: completely reinventing the series and kicking off a whole new set of games. Doing so doesn’t stop the Dusk series from existing, after all — and it also prevents the series from stagnating. Not that it was ever at any risk of doing that anyway, given how much we’ve seen it varies between individual installments!

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’ll be taking a high-level look at the first game in the Mysterious trilogy, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. Where did this game come from, what was the thinking behind certain aspects of its design — and what do we have to look forward to?

Continue reading Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – First Steps in a Mysterious New World

Atari A to Z Flashback: Star Raiders

After the relative disappointment of the Atari 2600 version of Star Raiders, it’s time to take on the proper version.

More accurately, it’s time to take on the Atari 5200 version, which tweaks a few things about the original Atari 8-bit version and adds proper analogue control, which is nice. It’s still an all-time classic, though, and if you can get your head around the controls in the Atari Flashback Classics port, there’s hours of fun ahead.

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

Atari A to Z

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