Tag Archives: arcade

Flicky: The Sound of Birdsong is So Beautiful

Ah, the 1980s; a period of shameless attempts to replicate and exceed the success of other people by having a go at doing it yourself.

Well, that was the thinking that drove Sega to create Flicky in 1984, anyway; jealous of Namco’s success with Mappy, the company’s leadership tasked designer Yoji Ishii with creating something that would beat their rival’s game.

Did they succeed? Well, that’s a matter of opinion. Just maybe bring the earplugs if you want to judge for yourself.

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Donkey Kong 3: Shot Up The Arse, And You’re To Blame

When you’ve developed a successful franchise, the natural thing to do with a sequel is to throw everything that made the previous games good out the window and try something completely different.

I’m being facetious, but this is actually something Nintendo has done more than once over the course of several of its classic series’ lifetimes. Sometimes it works indisputably well — few people would consider the reskinned Doki Doki Panic that we Westerners know as Super Mario Bros. 2 to be a “bad” game, for example, despite how different it was from its predecessor.

Sometimes, though, we get something like Donkey Kong 3, and no-one is quite sure what to make of it. And that’s kind of why I really, really like it.

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Atari A to Z Flashback: Super Breakout

At this point, most people know that Super Breakout is a bona fide classic of the early days of gaming. But no-one really talks about how monstrously difficult its original arcade incarnation is.

Well, I’m here to change all that today! Super Breakout for the arcade is really, really hard, primarily because the paddle you control is such a stingy, pathetic little size that it’s very difficult to actually return the ball once… let alone enough times to clear the damn screen.

Doesn’t stop me coming back for more, though… particularly with three different game modes to take on in the vain hope I might be good at one of them!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Skydiver

It’s time for another simple but addictive game from the early days of Atari today: this time around it’s the turn of Skydiver.

Skydiver is slightly more complex than Canyon Bomber, which we saw a few episodes back, but it’s still simple enough that anyone can pick it up with minimal explanation. Mastering it is, of course, another matter entirely, but it was ever thus in these early arcade games!

Skydiver is also one of the noisiest games Atari ever created. Be sure to turn your volume down a bit if you’re playing this one yourself!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Red Baron

Chocks away, tally-ho and all that! It’s time for Red Baron!

A contemporary of the rather more well-known and successful BattlezoneRed Baron sees players taking to the skies in a World War I biplane and challenging an endless variety of enemy pilots, blimps and ground targets to aerial combat.

This is an underappreciated gem from Atari’s back catalogue, so while it may not have been a bit success back in the day, it’s well worth playing today!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Pool Shark

It might be hard to imagine now, but there was a time in gaming history when it was considered to be a seriously impressive technical achievement to get more than two or three things moving simultaneously on a screen.

Atari’s 1977 release Pool Shark is an early example of the company continuing to push the fledgling medium of video games forward. Not only was it a game that demonstrated the power of microprocessor-based hardware rather than the earlier transistor-to-transistor logic technology, but it also had, like, a whole mess of balls flying everywhere.

And like many of these early Atari arcade games, it’s simplistic… but really rather addictive! Be sure to give it a try.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Monte Carlo

Say the words “racing game” to someone these days and they’ll typically think of a game with at least a passing impression of a 3D perspective.

Prior to titles like Namco’s Pole Position and Sega’s Out Run popularising this viewpoint, however, Atari was happily churning out top-down racers that were a lot of fun to play, beginning with Super Bug before moving on to the unusual cooperative two-player title Fire Truck — which we’ve previously seen on this series — and finally, the full-colour, multi-track Monte Carlo, which saw players racing against actual opponents as well as the course itself.

Like Atari’s other early racers, it’s a game that’s actually still a lot of fun to play today once you get used to how the control scheme maps to modern controllers — and, for me, one of the many highlights in the Atari Flashback Classics collection.

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