Category Archives: Videos

Final Fantasy Marathon: The Search for the Black Mask – Final Fantasy II #7

With Fynn safely back under the control of the Wild Rose forces, the time has come to take the fight to the Empire. To do that, we’ll need some firepower.

Minwu set off for Mysidia a while back in an attempt to track down the Ultima tome, but no-one’s heard from him for a while. Firion and company decide to set off in search of him… but not before they stop by the Tropical Island to track down the Black Mask they’ll need to find what they’re searching for. Which, of course, begs the question why Minwu didn’t take it with him… but we’re not supposed to think about that.

Today’s episode is a bit shorter than previous ones; we’ll probably go back to about this length from hereon, as it’s a little more practical for me to record. It’ll mean the series as a whole takes a bit longer to get through… but these games aren’t going anywhere!

Atari ST A to Z: Thunderbirds

As we’ve previously talked about a few times, licensed games on 8- and 16-bit home computers tended to follow a particular formula.

That’s why when games like Thunderbirds came along and tried to do things a little different from the usual “platform game that doesn’t have much to do with the show or movie” approach, it was worth taking notice. Okay, so Thunderbirds in particular manages to create a lot of its own problems by taking this approach… but it’s got ambition, I’ll certainly give it that.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that when this was released, a lot of conventions that we take for granted in gaming today were still being established and figured out. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself as I had to restart that first mission over and over and over again…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Warriors Wednesday: A Light Worth Protecting

Now we’re making good progress through the plot, it’s clear we’re starting to move towards one of the various conclusions to Warriors All-Stars.

For those unfamiliar, Warriors All-Stars features numerous endings based on the choices you make throughout the game. These aren’t visual novel-style binary choices, however; they mostly relate to which characters you recruit and which specific battles you choose to participate in.

Thankfully, there’s a handy menu in the game that shows you which battles unlock which paths. For now though, we’ll just have to see where this all ends up…

Atari A to Z: Zybex

We made it to Z once again, folks, and it’s time for an all-time classic shoot ’em up for the Atari 8-bit: it’s Zybex, from Zeppelin Games.

Zeppelin began their life as a company specialising in budget-priced titles on cassette; the first time I came across them was when they released today’s game Zybex and motorcycle racer Speed Ace for £2.99 each. Speed Ace was fairly decent, from what I recall — though at the time of writing it’s not one we’ve revisited as yet — but Zybex was something truly special.

Featuring frantic shoot ’em up action for one or two players, Zybex truly brought the arcade-style scrolling shoot ’em up home in style — and it still holds up pretty well today.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Codebreaker

With the digital revolution, many classic tabletop experiences have fallen by the wayside. But back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, you could count on most households having a copy of Mastermind.

Mastermind was a code-breaking game developed by an Israeli telecommunications expert named Mordecai Meirowitz, and it was based on an earlier pen-and-paper game named Bulls and Cows. The concept is simple: one player develops a code consisting of four coloured pegs, and the other player has to guess this code in as few steps as possible, making use of the codemaker’s feedback.

Codebreaker is essentially a digital adaptation of this game, making use of numbers rather than coloured pegs. It also features an adaptation of the ancient mathematical game Nim, for those who enjoy taking the last chocolate in the box. As a complete game package, it might look a bit limited from a modern perspective, but there’s fun to be had here.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Final Fantasy Marathon: The Liberation of Fynn – Final Fantasy II #6

The time has come for the Wild Rose rebellion to take back what is rightfully theirs: the city of Fynn and its castle!

Well, before that there’s the small matter of extracting Princess Hilda from Palamecia, but surely such a straightforward task won’t prove a problem for Firion and company after all their training to date!

Today’s episode is a good example of how Final Fantasy II makes a strong effort with worldbuilding and a sense of narrative progression, bringing back characters you encountered earlier in the game and showing you places in different contexts. Besides its unusual progression system, this side of things is probably the most noteworthy thing about the game in the context of the series as a whole.

Atari ST A to Z: Slaygon

There was a time when we couldn’t take first-person adventures for granted; a dark time when you could only turn by 90 degrees and move by 5 feet at a time.

Okay, we still have games like that, but at least we have a choice these days. Back when Slaygon was released for Atari ST, it’s pretty much all we had if we wanted to infiltrate some sort of complicated installation… such as a futuristic tech company looking to unleash a deadly virus into the atmosphere for… some reason!

Slaygon put an interesting twist on the dungeon crawler formula by putting you in control of a futuristic cybertank with all manner of fancy systems for you to use. It was still all about finding the right keys for the right doors though…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.