There are some people out there who, if you tell them that it’s “impossible” to do something, will do their best to do it anyway — and often prove that original naysayer completely wrong.
Such was the case with Livewire, a type-in machine code listing for Atari 8-bit that came about when ANALOG magazine’s Tom Hudson overheard someone saying that it would be possible to do a good version of Tempest on the Atari 8-bit. Challenge, as they say, accepted — and overcome with aplomb.
Type-in listings written in BASIC were a common sight in Atari 8-bit magazines — as were BASIC listings that were used to create executable machine code programs on disk or cassette.
The magazines Antic and ANALOG in the United States also had a strong interest in the programming language Action!, though, and published a number of listings written using this speedy, game-friendly setup. Today’s Atari 8-bit game is one such example, bringing some solid and challenging platforming action home for us to enjoy.
As we’ve seen a few times previously on the Atari A to Z series, the North American Atari-centric publication ANALOG was a prime source of top-quality machine code games that you could type in yourself, then save to a disk or cassette and enjoy whenever you pleased.
Today’s game hails from ANALOG issue number 34 (September 1985), and is a simple but enjoyable arcade game about avoiding elevators and climbing buildings. That main character looks a little familiar, too… though of course any resemblance to certain Italian plumbers, living or dead, is almost certainly unintentional and should not be considered any sort of infringement on established, trademarked intellectual property. Or something. Probably.
One of the best things about the 8-bit age was the prolific public domain scene, with many high-quality pieces of software being published in listing format in magazines.
One US publication that was particularly prolific in this regard was ANALOG (Atari Newsletter And Lots Of Games), which regularly published commercial-quality machine code programs for readers to type in, save to disk or cassette and enjoy at their leisure.
Today’s game hails from those hallowed pages. I give you Bacterion! The Plague of 2369. Nice.