Category Archives: Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Necromancer

I love weird games. Scratch that; I don’t really like using the term “weird”, because what people inevitably mean when they say “weird” in the context of a creative work is “highly creative, unusual and original”. I love highly creative, unusual and original games.

Synapse Software’s Necromancer certainly qualifies as all of those things. It’s pretty much a manifestation of the sort of things old-school heavy metal groups sing about; the sort of thing that sounds like a fever dream, but which you can’t help but get drawn into within moments of starting to play.

With its unconventional control scheme, extremely disparate mechanics between its various stages and its formidable level of difficulty, Necromancer is a classic from the Atari 8-bit’s library with good reason!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

Dave Theuer’s Missile Command is an absolute classic of the “golden age” of arcade games, and still puts up a formidable challenge today!

Embodying the paranoia many people were feeling towards the Cold War and potential nuclear conflict in the early ’80s, Missile Command is a relentless, frantic affair. Despite that, it’s more important than anything to stay calm and take careful, strategic shots rather than just blasting away in a mad panic.

I am bad at Missile Command, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy playing it! So let’s get on and do just that, shall we?

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

Atari ST A to Z: HeroQuest

I absolutely loved MB and Games Workshop’s HeroQuest as a kid, but I rarely got the opportunity to play it on the tabletop with real people.

Imagine my delight, then, when Gremlin announced that they were developing a computerised adaptation of the board game I’d come to love so much. And imagine my even greater delight when it turned out to be a very good game indeed — although arguably perhaps a little too true to the original board game for a computer version!

This is a game that still holds up pretty well today in both its tabletop and electronic formats. Gather a party of friends — or go it alone — and see how far you can get in the substantial campaign!

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

Atari A to Z: Master of the Lamps

Once upon a time, Activision was not the bloated mess of a money-hungry corporate behemoth it is now. Well, it was slightly less of one, anyway.

The key difference between the Activision of now and the Activision of then is that the latter was much more willing to take significant risks on games that were as much a work of art as they were a piece of interactive entertainment.

One of the best examples of this practice — and one of Activision’s best games, full stop — is Master of the Lamps, one of the earliest ever music games and a spectacular example of what the Atari 8-bit was capable of in the hands of talented programmers.

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Millipede

Legend has it that in the Davison household, the usually entirely justified righteous fury of our matriarchal figure towards yet another example of silly men and boys doing silly men and boys’ things could only be quelled by one thing: Millipede.

And for sure, Millipede makes for a great stress-reliever, with its frantic, non-stop blasting action not really leaving you any time to be annoyed about who dribbled wee on the floor, didn’t load the dishwasher or failed to tidy their room when requested.

Of course, if you’re not already stressed, its defining characteristics are also a pretty good means of elevating your own anxiety levels somewhat, too… so please bear in mind that this is not in any way intended to be clinical advice!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Gilbert – Escape from Drill

The ’90s were an era of “attitude”, not just in video games, but in popular culture at large — and especially in children’s TV.

One largely forgotten attempt at an edgy mascot was Gilbert, the snot-encrusted alien who first appeared as part of the Saturday morning show Get Fresh, and subsequently found success in his own right.

Naturally, he also had his own video game that allowed you to take control of the dribbling snot monster himself as he attempted to track down the parts of his spaceship that his jealous countrymen had hidden from him. Clearly, the only solution is to play lots of arcade games!

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

Atari A to Z: Laser Hawk

Horizontally scrolling shooters are perhaps most commonly associated with the 16-bit Japanese consoles, but there were some great ones on offer on earlier home computers.

One such example was Laser Hawk from Red Rat Software, developed by Kiwi programmer Andrew Bradfield with graphics by Harvey Kong Tin. This was an enjoyable, speedy, helicopter-based horizontal scroller with a cheeky line in fanboy-baiting — the structures you had to destroy at the end of each level all bore an uncanny resemblance to rival, non-Atari computer manufacturers’ logos!

It’s a game that I greatly enjoyed revisiting, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover still plays rather well today. Give it a shot!

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