Tag Archives: arcade

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.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Millipede

Legend has it that in the Davison household, the usually entirely justified righteous fury of our matriarchal figure towards yet another example of silly men and boys doing silly men and boys’ things could only be quelled by one thing: Millipede.

And for sure, Millipede makes for a great stress-reliever, with its frantic, non-stop blasting action not really leaving you any time to be annoyed about who dribbled wee on the floor, didn’t load the dishwasher or failed to tidy their room when requested.

Of course, if you’re not already stressed, its defining characteristics are also a pretty good means of elevating your own anxiety levels somewhat, too… so please bear in mind that this is not in any way intended to be clinical advice!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Major Havoc

Major Havoc is one of the more unusual games from Atari’s back catalogue of arcade titles, and it’s interesting from a historical perspective for being one of the first games Mark “PlayStation” Cerny was involved with.

Making use of vector graphics to provide seamless transitions between three very disparate types of gameplay, Major Havoc challenges you to blast enemies in space, land accurately on an enemy space station, navigate a perilous route to a reactor and then get the hell out of there before the whole thing blows.

It’s frantic, high-energy, super-difficult and a whole lot of fun. Take a look!

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