Category Archives: Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Joust

It’s arcade classic time today on Atari ST A to Z, with the game that supposedly popularised the idea of two-player cooperative gameplay.

Joust, originally developed by Williams for the arcade in 1982, was a well-regarded and influential game, and found itself ported to a wide variety of platforms over the years — including numerous Atari systems.

The Atari ST version showed up in 1986 — better late than never — and provided a solid adaptation of the arcade original for those who fancied some classic cooperative action on their 16-bit home computer. 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: Pole Position

You don’t just play Pole Position — you FEEL it!

Thus ran the back-of-box blurb for the official Atari 8-bit conversion of Namco’s classic “vanishing point” racer — one of the most important, influential video games of all time. Said conversion was extremely solid, and a big hit for my whole family back in the day.

See how I get on with the world’s most explosive Formula 1 cars in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Frog Pond

A fair few titles in the early days of gaming were shameless clones of other companies’ work.

Atari’s Frog Pond, a game that ended up not being released because Atari wasn’t willing to spring for a monster 8K cartridge for a “children’s game”, was a clone of Mattel’s Frog Bog for Intellivision (which ended up being ported to 2600 as Frogs and Flies), which in turn was a clone of Sega’s arcade title Frogs.

And they say originality is dead. Well, yes. It appears to have been dead for a very long time indeed! Don’t let that stop you checking out this video, though — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Infestation

The early days of polygonal 3D gaming were gleefully experimental, even though the technology of the time wasn’t quite up to realising the grand vision of many creators.

Infestation from Psygnosis is a particularly interesting example, as it provides a level of interactivity that we don’t tend to see even in a lot of modern games. It was certainly ambitious — though perhaps a little too obtuse for its own good at times.

Get an idea of what it’s all about from my own attempts to stumble about (and get lost in a ventilation system) in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Octopus

Nintendo’s Game & Watch series of LCD gaming handhelds might not be the first things you’d think needed converting to other platforms — but on the occasions when we have seen adaptations of them, they’ve always been a lot of fun.

It helps that their simple gameplay remains somewhat timeless and thus easy to update with slightly fancier presentation without having to make significant changes to the mechanics. So that’s exactly what a group of Polish developers did on 2011: they took on the second of the “Wide Screen” Game & Watch releases, and converted it to Atari 8-bit.

The result is a simple but immaculately presented and enormously addictive little game. I give you Octopus.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Football

FOOTBALL! It’s time to play some FOOTBALL! YEAH!

Those of you who have been following this series for a while will be all to familiar with my general lack of experience with sports games — particularly those focusing on American sports. Despite my wife once referring to American football on camera as “shit rugby”, I hope I have at least given the impression that I am giving these games a chance!

If anything, I find the simpler, vaguer digital interpretations of sports — such as seen here in this very early American football game for Atari 2600 — a lot more palatable and understandable than the more realistic simulations we’ve had since the 16-bit era or so. So you know what? I didn’t have a terrible time playing this.

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Helter Skelter

You ever play a game that you really want to like, but almost everything about it just makes it nigh-impossible to do so?

That was me with The Assembly Line’s Helter Skelter, an unusual platform game in which you control a bouncy ball and attempt to squish enemies in a preset order. Sounds simple, right?

It is very much Not Simple.

Atari A to Z