Tag Archives: atari 400

Atari A to Z: Electrician

Video games don’t always have to be about blasting aliens and/or terrorists.

The idea of games that are based around fairly mundane activities and professions is something that is associated with the creativity of today’s indie scene, but developers were experimenting with this idea back in the early ’80s too.

And so it was that we got David Bunch’s Electrician from Synapse Software — a surprisingly enjoyable game about rewiring a bunch of houses.

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

Atari A to Z: Callisto

The ABBUC Software Competition is an annual contest that, since 2003, has been challenging modern Atari enthusiasts to show what they’re capable of with their favourite home micros.

We’ve already seen one previous example of a competition winner in the form of X:8; today we take a look at the title which took second place in 2012. I present to you: Callisto.

Callisto is a very solid, very challenging shoot ’em up that really shows off the Atari 8-bit at its best. It just wasn’t quite enough to win the contest that year. 2012 was a very good year, it seems!

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

Atari A to Z: Bacterion!

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.

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

Atari A to Z: Vultures III

The concept of the “video game auteur” is regarded as something of a modern thing, with Japanese creators like Hideo Kojima, Hidetaka Suehiro, Goichi Suda and Taro Yoko typically being held up as some of the best examples.

But back in the Atari 8-bit era, we had our fair share of recognisable names, too. Okay, they tended to be renowned more for technical ability and prolificacy than the artistic achievement and vision that tends to get celebrated today, but there were definitely “big names” working in both commercial and public domain software.

One such example of the latter was Stan Ockers, who is sadly no longer with us having departed this mortal coil in mid-2017. In the early days of home computing, Ockers gave us a wide variety of games and software composed in BASIC, initially published in the newsletter for Eugene, Oregon’s Atari Computer Enthusiasts user group and later in Antic and Page 6 magazine.

Today’s game, Vultures III, is perhaps not his best work, but is a good example of how he could harness the limited power of Atari BASIC to produce playable and addictive games — and, like most of his other creations, provided something for aspiring programmers and designers to study and learn from.

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

Atari A to Z: Satan’s Hollow

Tired of blasting aliens? Fed up of shooting soldiers? Punched enough gang members in the face to last a lifetime? Then surely it’s time you faced the ultimate evil!

Yes, indeed, in Satan’s Hollow, you are going after the Big D (not that kind of Big D) himself, ol’ Satan of the Hollow, Esq. And you’ve brought yourself a natty little bridge-building spaceship that seems just tailor-made for the task of crossing the pit of fire to where Satan hangs out.

But wait! It seems Satan has friends, and they’re not particularly pleased to see you. Can you fend off Beelzebub’s Hoover attack for long enough to even catch a glimpse of the lord of all devils himself? Only one way to find out — in an unreleased Atari 8-bit port of an elderly Midway arcade game!

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

Atari A to Z: Quadromania XL

It’s another “mystery game” today!

Quadromania XL appears to have originated as a type-in listing for a German Atari magazine, but beyond that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there online aside from the name of its creator — one T Meyer — and the person in charge of Loesungsalgorithmus (“solution algorithm”, apparently), A Blohm.

It’s a simple but enjoyable puzzler based on a straightforward concept: pick a block to swap the colour of, and all the blocks surrounding it will also swap colours. Repeat until the whole screen is one colour or you run out of moves. Easy, right?

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

Atari A to Z: Pastfinder

Ah, Activision. What a wonderfully creative variety of games you put out in the 8-bit era. What a hollow shell of yourself you are today.

Ahem, sorry, got a bit nostalgic there for a moment. Anyway, here’s Pastfinder, one of my favourite shoot ’em ups on Atari 8-bit, and one of the most peculiarly interesting ones to boot. You take on control of a little jumping bug of a spacecraft as you attempt to track down alien antiquities.

Better be careful, though; the whole planet is irradiated, so time is of the essence if you want to keep all your hair and/or internal organs intact to enjoy your loot.

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