Tag Archives: atari 400

Atari A to Z: Miner 2049’er

“Platforms and ladders”. That’s what we used to call platformers before the more well-established, compact term we use today really took off.

Actually, there is a bit of a distinction; when one is referring specifically to a “platforms and ladders” game, one tends not to be referring to a side-scrolling title like a Super Mario Bros. game, but instead something that unfolds a single screen at a time, usually tasking the player with reaching a specific point or visiting every part of the level at least once.

Bill Hogue and Big Five Software’s Miner 2049’er is a great example of this format — and a game that remains one of the most enduringly popular titles in the Atari 8-bit’s library to this day.

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Atari A to Z: The Last Starfighter

Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.

Any kid who watched the 1984 movie The Last Starfighter longed to hear those words for real — to put the skills they’d learned in video games to the test with real conflict against invading forces!

Unfortunately, Atari’s attempt to cash in on the popularity of the movie didn’t quite make it to market in time, instead finally seeing the light of day in 1986 as the hastily rebranded Star Raiders II. However, the original, fully playable prototype of the game in its original The Last Starfighter format has been well-preserved over the years… so it’s that we’ll be taking a look at in today’s video!

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Atari A to Z: Kid Grid

This week on Atari A to Z, it’s another game by Arti Haroutunian and Tronix that… pays homage to a popular arcade game.

Much as last week’s Juice! was clearly inspired by Q*Bert, so too is Kid Grid more than a little bit like Amidar. That’s no bad thing, though; both Amidar and Kid Grid are a good time. If a bit difficult.

Okay, quite a lot difficult. But don’t judge me too harshly; I couldn’t even beat the first level of this when I was a kid!

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Atari A to Z: Juice!

It was pretty common in the Atari 8-Bit era for games to offer a bit of a new twist on established formulae. You had to make your games stand out, after all!

In Juice!, a game developed by Arti Haroutunian and published by Tronix, you take on the role of “Edison, the kinetic android” who is essentially a mechanised electrician. It’s up to you to connect all the wires on the board to get things up and running again while avoiding the unwanted attention of various electrical-themed enemies.

If you watch the video, it probably won’t take you long to notice that the game bears an uncanny resemblance to Q*Bert in some ways — but there’s enough different here to keep things interesting, and this remains a great, highly playable game for Atari 8-bit computers.

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Atari A to Z: Into the Eagle’s Nest

Let’s shoot some Nazis!

Pandora’s Into the Eagle’s Nest, first released in 1987, is an early example of the “stealth” subgenre of action adventure, with elements of survival horror, such as resource management. Interestingly, its Atari 8-bit port followed a year after its initial release — which included 16-bit platforms such as the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga — when Atari decided it would make an excellent game for their last-ditch effort at pushing the 8-bit range, the hybrid computer-console XE Games System or XEGS.

It’s an interesting game with some cool twists on the usual top-down action-adventure formula… and hordes of Nazis just waiting for you to mow them down. Just make sure you aim properly.

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Atari A to Z: Gorf

When is a Space Invaders rip-off not a Space Invaders rip-off? When it also rips off Galaxian and Gyruss!

No, that’s unfair to poor old Gorf, an arcade game by Bally Midway that was ported to Atari 8-Bit by Roklan Software. Gorf is an entertaining and enjoyable game in its own right that most certainly has its own identity — albeit perhaps not what was originally intended.

This began life as an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, of all things, but was presumably adapted into what it eventually became after someone at Bally Midway figured that a game involving a 20-minute sequence slowly panning around a spaceship with nothing happening probably wouldn’t be that much fun. The end product was rather good… and bastard hard.

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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!