Category Archives: Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Zombi

One of the most interesting things about looking back over really old games is reminding yourself just how long certain companies have been around.

Today’s Atari ST game, Zombi, was actually Ubi Soft’s first ever game in its original Amstrad CPC incarnation. The ST version followed a little while later, but it was still early days for this up-and-coming French publisher at the time.

As for the game itself? It’s a first-person action adventure that gives you very little feedback on the actions you take, making it rather hard to work out what you’re supposed to be doing, even if you’ve read the woefully inadequate manual! Cool music, though…

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

Atari A to Z: Elektra Glide

Pretty much everyone who plays games can probably name at least one title that they respect, but absolutely can’t abide the thought of playing ever again.

For me, one of those games is Elektra Glide, an incredibly popular title developed by Adam Billyard and published by English Software. It’s a technical tour-de-force for the Atari 8-bit, for sure, featuring spectacularly speedy 3D-style graphics, parallax scrolling, wonderful use of colour and an incredibly memorable soundtrack.

I also despise playing it with almost every fibre of my being; I’d thought returning to it some thirty-two years after its original release might have caused my opinions to mellow on it somewhat, but nope! Still, it sure is pretty…

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Dominos

Dominos, another black and white title from Atari’s early days, surprised me by not at all being what I expected.

I was anticipating a fairly faithful adaptation of the tabletop game Dominoes — which wouldn’t have been altogether difficult to put together even with the rudimentary technology of the time — but instead I got a rather enjoyable, addictive two-player game in the vein of what we now know as the Snake genre.

While most people are familiar with Snake from its late-’90s Nokia phone incarnation, the idea of one or more players moving around a field and leaving an impassable trail behind them has been around since the earliest days of video games. Dominos was a very early example, following the genre progenitor Blockade by just a year. As such, it’s very simple in execution… but that doesn’t stop it being fun, particularly alongside a friend.

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

Atari ST A to Z: Yolanda

Remakes and remixes of existing video games have been around for some time now, with some dating right back to the early days of home computer gaming.

One interesting example is 1990’s Yolanda from Millennium, a game that reimagines the well-regarded but atrociously presented 1984 Commodore 64 title Hercules for a slightly more modern audience. Well, in fact, it outright recreates Hercules with better graphics and sound, and puts a hot girl in the lead role instead of a badly drawn approximation of one of Greek mythology’s most famous figures.

Dubbed “the fastest and most difficult platform game ever” in advertising from the time, it’s… well, it’s quite something, for all the wrong reasons. Take a look.

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

Atari A to Z: Diamonds

I do enjoy a good “dirt and boulders” game. And Simon Hunt’s Diamonds, published by English Software in 1983, is certainly a good “dirt and boulders” game.

Casting players in the role of Digger Dan, part-time member of Blue Man group and long-time precious stones enthusiast, it’s up to you to gather the titular diamonds while avoiding the unwanted attentions of Brian the Blob, Philip the Filler, The Fireflies, The Eyes, Simon the Snake and The Demon. Brian also wants diamonds; the others just want you dead. Which isn’t very nice.

This is a longstanding personal favourite of mine from the Atari 8-bit era, and a game I still like returning to today quite often! Check it out when you get the opportunity.

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Destroyer

As we’ve previously seen with Canyon Bomber, sometimes all you need to make an addictive, enjoyable game is a simple concept… and perhaps some gimmicky controls.

Such is the case with Destroyer, a game that featured some satisfyingly clunky physical controls on its original arcade release, which are obviously lost somewhat in this home translation. Interestingly, this never got a home port of its own prior to the release in Atari Flashback Classics; it was instead incorporated into the Atari 2600 port of Canyon Bomber, which was developed by David “Pitfall” Crane.

It’s a simple idea, but an effective one… and one that really does not like being captured at 30fps, so if you can’t see the depth charges for part of this video… uh, sorry! Such are the limitations of my hardware!

Atari ST A to Z: Xenon

The Bitmap Brothers were a force to be reckoned with in the 16-bit computer era.

Across a wide variety of different game styles, they demonstrated their absolute mastery over not only the technical aspects of programming for these popular home computers, but also how to make a thoroughly enjoyable game, too.

Although relatively straightforward by modern standards, the original Xenon remains a great time, and is absolutely worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic vertically scrolling shoot ’em ups.

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