All posts by Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.

Retro Select: Pooyan

Supposedly, “pooyan” is a Japanese word that means “little pigs”, but I am yet to find a more authoritative source for this piece of information online than some random blog that said this was the case with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

Regardless, Pooyan is indeed a game about little pigs, and an unusual twist on the fixed shooter formula. It’s a game that I used to find oddly unsettling as a child, also — and as an adult, I find the more you play it and the more you think about it, the more unsettling it becomes once again. Fun, though!

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

Atari ST A to Z: LED Storm

LED Storm is not an arcade game I played back in the day, but after spending some time with the Atari ST version here, I’m kind of curious to.

If you like Data East’s classic Bump ‘n’ Jump, you’ll probably get along with LED Storm, since it’s a similar sort of idea: drive fast car from top-down perspective, hop over obstacles and onto the heads of enemies, yell at the inherently and deliberately unfair design of ’80s and ’90s arcade games.

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: Screaming Wings

The Atari ST version of Screaming Wings is, as we’ve seen elsewhere on this series, kind of poop. The Atari 8-bit version, meanwhile, is a superb shoot ’em up with just a couple of annoying little features here and there.

Based heavily on Capcom’s classic 1942, Screaming Wings puts you in the pilot’s seat of a Lockheed Lightning over the Pacific as you attempt to blast down a variety of enemies who want nothing more than to sink you into the briny ocean in a flaming ball of death.

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

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Endless Ocean

Sometimes it’s nice to have a chill-out game that doesn’t make any particularly difficult demands on you. And the Wii is a great console on which to explore that sort of experience.

One of the best games in the Wii’s library in this regard is the delightfully unusual fish-poking simulator Endless Ocean, which tasks you with exploring the deep blue sea in search of the aforementioned fish, sunken treasure and all manner of other goodies. It’s a thoroughly pleasant time!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Kwik Snax

The Dizzy games are great, and one of the best things about them is that they don’t get too stuck in a formula. Sure, the best known games are the arcade adventure installments — but there’s plenty of other interesting Dizzy games, too.

One of my all-time favourites is Kwik Snax, which combines elements of Bomb Jack and Pengo to create an arcade-style experience with its own distinct feel that I’m very fond of.

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: Red Max

Red Max! It’s nothing to do with Blue Max, if you were wondering, though I was always curious about that back in the day.

Nope, instead Red Max is a top-down sci-fi motorbike adventure in which you drive around a spaceship in an attempt to defuse mines, fix reactors and wake up hibernating crew members. It’s very hard, but it has great music, a beautifully rendered dashboard panel and a tiny view window.

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’ 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