Category Archives: Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Atomino

First released in 1985, Atari’s ST range of 16-bit computers were the official follow-ups to the 8-Bit range.

Over their eight years on the market, they saw a variety of weird and wonderful games, as developers were provided with greater graphical fidelity and faster processing speeds… even if the ST’s Yamaha YM2149 PSG sound chip was technically inferior to the POKEY chip of the 8-bit range!

Let’s kick off our exploration of the ST’s extensive and varied library with Atomino, a 1990 release developed by Blue Byte and published by Psygnosis. This is a science-themed puzzle game in which you build molecules from atoms in increasingly complicated circumstances!

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Atari A to Z: Final Legacy

One of my favourite things about early computer games is the sheer creativity a lot of developers showed within the technological limitations of the time.

Today we look at 1984’s Final Legacy, a rather ambitious action-strategy naval combat game in which you command a formidable warship in an attempt to destroy the totally-not-Russian missile bases pointed threateningly at your cities. Rather than a dry, abstract affair, Final Legacy brings us a cool bit of very visual interactive speculative fiction about how warfare might work in the year 2051.

Initially unfolding from an overview map, you’ll use an electric beam to destroy enemy missile silos, lasers to shoot down incoming missiles and torpedos to destroy enemy ships. It’s a ton of fun.

Don’t forget you can now follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site — and watch out this Thursday for a brand new Atari-related video series to complement this one!

Atari A to Z: Encounter!

The Atari 8-Bit played host to some great games, many of which drew fairly unashamed inspiration from popular arcade games at the time.

In some cases, these “derivatives” provided an interesting twist on their inspiration’s formula — or in some cases improved upon it. Such is the case with Encounter! by the late Paul Woakes, an enormously talented (and mostly solo) British programmer who developed some of the most technically impressive games of the 8- and 16-bit era.

Encounter! wears its Battlezone inspirations on its sleeve, but it mixes things up with much faster-paced gameplay and a challenging “hyperspace” sequence between stages. Watch me fail at the latter aspect in particular below.

Atari A to Z: Dandy

For the retro gaming and retro computer enthusiasts among you, here’s the continuation of my ongoing project to explore the library of the Atari 8-Bit.

Released through the Atari Program Exchange (or APX), an initiative by Atari that allowed amateur and professional programmers alike the opportunity to get their projects distributed commercially, Dandy by John Howard Palevich turned out to be a rather influential game.

Originally intended as a multiplayer networked adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons before being simplified and refined into the four-player action dungeon crawler it ultimately became, Dandy would be a defining influence on Atari’s later arcade hit Gauntlet… and it’s not hard to see why.

Atari A to Z: Caverns of Mars

Happy Tuesday! While I prepare something more substantial for your reading pleasure later this evening, I invite you to enjoy the latest installment in my retro gaming side project.

The Atari 8-Bit is the first computer I used growing up, and it’s a platform I still very much enjoy busting out today. It’s somewhat lesser known than its contemporaries, the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum, but it has a great library of games and software.

Today we take a look at a classic (and influential) vertically scrolling shoot ’em up, Caverns of Mars. Enjoy!

Atari A to Z: Bruce Lee

My retro gaming side project delving back into the Atari 8-Bit computers’ extensive catalogue of games continues with this title from Datasoft.

Bruce Lee was an interesting game that included elements of the beat ’em up, platform game and action adventure genres, creating an altogether unique experience at the time that is still fondly regarded today.

I have very fond memories of this game, despite not being all that good at it when I was a kid. Rather than it being fast, chaotic action, it actually rewards somewhat strategic play; taking your time getting through the screens is usually your best bet, and defeating the enemies is also a case of waiting for a good opening to attack them rather than flailing wildly.

The game was developed as an Atari 8-Bit title originally before being ported to a number of other platforms, including Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and MSX. The Atari version is obviously the best, of course, not that I’m biased at all in this regard.

Atari A to Z: Aztec Challenge

Despite technically being “on holiday” I’ve managed to fill today up completely to such a degree that I haven’t had time to finish a full article for MoeGamer as yet, and I’m about to go out for the evening. Consequently, you can expect an article later (late!) tonight when I get back.

In the meantime, please enjoy the beginning of this new side project exploring the library of the Atari 8-bit line of computers from A to Z and back again. New episodes are coming every Tuesday, so watch out for them either here or over on YouTube.

This isn’t technically part of MoeGamer’s remit, such as it is, but it is nonetheless a retro gaming project I have been working on, so I thought I’d share it here in case anyone is interested!