Category Archives: Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Track & Field

“Multi-discipline athletics” is a subgenre of sports gaming that seems to have mostly fallen by the wayside in recent years.

In the ’80s, however, it was all the rage — and games such as Konami’s Track & Field proved to be the bane of many a joystick throughout the decade.

This Atari 8-bit port of the arcade classic is a surprisingly solid adaptation, wonky scrolling and inadvertent hairpieces aside. If you’ve had a hankering for a wagglin’, well, you can do far worse than this!

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Atari ST A to Z: Ninja Mission

You may recall a little while back that we saw the Atari 8-bit version of Mastertronic’s Ninja. Well, here’s the ST version!

It’s basically the same game at its core, though it runs a little faster and has much nicer graphics. It also has a new theme tune that plays in between fights. It’s a great example of the additional power the ST brings to the table over and above its 8-bit predecessors, even if it’s not the best or most imaginative game out there.

For the unfamiliar, Ninja is an interesting combination of action adventure, beat ’em up and fighting game. You must work your way through a series of screens, beating up anyone in your way in a series of one-on-one fights, and ultimately prove your worth as a ninja master. All in a day’s work, right?

Atari A to Z: Shooting Arcade

Merry Christmas! And what better way to celebrate the festive season than with some fairground-style shooting action?

DataSoft’s Shooting Arcade from 1982 is not an especially complex game, but it has an enjoyably addictive quality to it, brought about through increasingly challenging mechanics and an emphasis on accuracy rather than fast action.

If you need a bit of time away from the family this Christmas, you could do far worse than blast away at a few pink elephants…

Atari ST A to Z: Missile Command

Here on Zardon, we are peaceful, we don’t like to fight. Here on Zardon, we work hard, and try to do what’s right. We would never be the first ones to stage an attack. But when someone shoots at us… we shoot back!

Kudos (and condolences) to you if that means anything to you; it’s from the official vinyl adaptation of Atari’s Missile Command by Kid Stuff in the ’80s — which someone has graciously uploaded to YouTube in its entirety here.

We’re here to take a look at the Atari ST version of Missile Command from 1987, however. This is a port I didn’t know existed until recently, but given Atari also published solid ST ports of Moon Patrol, Asteroids Deluxe and Crystal Castles, it’s not surprising. Is it any good, though…?

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Atari A to Z: Realm of Impossibility

Electronic Arts are pretty widely disliked by much of the gaming community these days, so it’s easy to forget their somewhat humble and interesting roots.

As their name suggests, they favoured releasing titles that were highly interesting and creative — artistic, you might say — rather than just the same old thing we’d seen elsewhere. In many ways, they heralded in one of the earliest eras of the video game “auteur”.

One great example from the early ’80s was Mike Edwards’ Realm of Impossibility, an enhanced and expanded version of Edwards’ earlier game Zombies. This is a non-violent action adventure that tasks you with exploring a variety of isometric dungeons that get increasingly… peculiar in their geometry as the game progresses. Escher would be proud.

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Atari ST A to Z: The Light Corridor

At any point in gaming history, it seems that there’s always one particular territory doomed to be singled out for making “weird” games.

What “weird” actually translates to in most circumstances is “interesting, unconventional, subversive and highly creative”; regrettably, while “weird” is undoubtedly a more concise description, it also carries with it somewhat pejorative connotations.

While today Japan tends to be singled out as the “weird” locale of choice, back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it was France putting out the most creative, unusual and fascinating games on the market, and Infogrames was a leading developer and publisher during this period.

Here’s The Light Corridor, Infogrames’ delightfully abstract 3D take on the traditional “bat and ball” game — an oddly hypnotic experience that, while simple to play, is extremely addictive…

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Atari A to Z: Quasimodo

Dem bells, dem bells, dem… blue bells… wait, I think I’m confusing at least two unrelated things there, aren’t I?

Ahem. Anyway. This is Quasimodo by Synapse Software, brought West by U.S. Gold’s early imprint Synsoft. It’s an unusual platform-action game that involves flinging rocks at Bad People climbing ladders, swinging from bell-ropes, swearing at bats and collecting crystals.

And despite its hunchbacked hero, it most certainly is not a clone of the arcade game Hunchback. Give poor old Quasi the respect he deserves!

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