Tag Archives: 16-bit

Evercade: The Case for Curated Retro Gaming

Blaze’s new retro gaming handheld, the Evercade, officially launches on May 22, 2020, with the company hoping to get units in the hands of everyone who preordered by June 12, 2020 at the latest.

Since I’m planning some extensive coverage of this device and its games as soon as mine arrives — fingers crossed it’s towards the beginning of that release window, but we’ll have to wait and see at the time of writing! — I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a little bit about this new device, why it appeals, and why I hope it ends up being a success.

Plus, if you’ve not yet heard of the Evercade, you can find out a bit more about it for yourself. Everyone wins. Hit the jump and let’s get started!

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Streets of Rage: Dawn of a Phenomenon

The Streets of Rage series is an all-time great in gaming, and you could practically hear the collective sigh of relief from the entire community when the brand new fourth installment, released at the tail end of April 2020, turned out to be good.

How do the older installments hold up today, though? Having not played them for a few years, I figured “while I wait for my Limited Run copy of Streets of Rage 4 to arrive” would be the perfect time to revisit them all. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.

We begin, of course, with the first game in the series, which first hit the streets in 1991 with releases for the Mega Drive, Master System and Game Gear. We’ll be concentrating on the 16-bit Mega Drive release for today, since that’s still the most readily available version for modern audiences. Let’s dive in.

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Atari ST A to Z: F-15 Strike Eagle II

When I was a kid, I really, REALLY got into military flight sims, particularly those from MicroProse.

One of my favourites was F-15 Strike Eagle II, a particularly accessible take on the 16-bit era jet fighter sim, and a game that I used to like to dress up to play. I’d wear a green bomber jacket, a backpack (to simulate both a parachute and a seat belt), a balaclava (to simulate a helmet, in the absence of anything like a cycle helmet or the like), sunglasses (goggles) and an “oxygen mask” crafted from a bit of paper, some duct tape and an old vacuum cleaner’s hose.

My parents and brother referred to it as “The Elephant”. I thought it was badass. Whether or not it actually enhanced my enjoyment of F-15 Strike Eagle II is probably debatable, but I do know that I still enjoy this game today!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Vaxine

Next time you get bacteria in your ilium, call me up and I’ll come blast your balls for you.

Vaxine from The Assembly Line is one of the most technically impressive games on the Atari ST, featuring gorgeous and colourful ray-traced graphics, convincing sprite scaling routines and an interesting blend of physics puzzle and first-person shoot ’em up.

Developed as a sequel to the team’s previous game E-Motion, which marketed itself as “the first New Age computer game”, Vaxine is a simple but enjoyable time that shows what Atari’s 16-bit computers were really capable of when in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing.

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

Xenon Valkyrie+: 16-Bit Procedural Platforming

You might think the “roguelike” subgenre is oversaturated (it is). You might think the term “roguelike” is widely misused (it is). But that’s not to say there aren’t still good examples of games with roguelike elements being released.

One such example is Xenon Valkyrie+, a game originally developed by Spanish coder Daniel Fernandez Chavez (aka “Diabolical Mind”) and enhanced for its PlayStation 4 and Vita release by solo French developer Fabrice Breton of Cowcat Games. If that pairing sounds familiar, you may recall we looked at their previous collaboration Riddled Corpses EX a while back.

Riddled Corpses EX impressed me a great deal, so when Limited Run Games offered a physical release of Xenon Valkyrie+ a few months ago, I thought I’d jump on it and see what else this dream team could come up with.

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Atari ST A to Z: Eliminator

Today’s Atari ST game is a good example of the sort of technically impressive titles that came from the development company Hewson.

Probably best known for their impressive platformer Nebulus (known on some platforms in some regions as Tower Toppler), Hewson was a company that became renowned for its visually striking games, making use of a variety of techniques to provide the illusion of pushing the hardware “beyond its limits”.

Eliminator sees the company turning its hand to the quasi-3D effect of late ’80s racing games… and then layering a brutally challenging bit of shoot ’em up action atop it. I also have fond memories of it for admittedly strange and anecdotal reasons that are little to do with the game itself…

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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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