Tag Archives: Atari 8-bit

Atari A to Z: Blue Max

Before we had “3D” we had the illusion of 3D, typically created through the use of an isometric or oblique perspective.

Various types of game experimented with this “diagonal” format to varying degrees of success, but Blue Max for Atari 8-bit is widely regarded as one of the best, successfully transplanting the shoot ’em up formula into a whole new dimension. Kind of.

Regardless of your feelings on the “realism” of the presentation, Blue Max remains a solid, challenging game — and believed by many to be one of the best games the dear old Atari had to offer. So let’s play!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Ants in Your Pants

Type-in listings in computer magazines in the ’80s were more than just an opportunity to get some “free” software, with the only expense being the cost of the magazine and your time. They were also a chance to learn something.

In many cases, type-in listings were accompanied by commentary from the author explaining the processes and techniques they’d used in order to create the various functions within the program. In the case of Ants in Your Pants by Allan Knopp, published in issue 27 of Page 6, the technique in question was “page flipping” — a method of getting the computer to draw several screens in advance, then seamlessly switching between them to create the illusion of full-screen animation.

As a game, it’s fairly limited, but as a demonstration of some of the things it’s possible to do in Atari BASIC, it’s definitely worth a look!

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

Atari A to Z: Zybex

We made it to Z once again, folks, and it’s time for an all-time classic shoot ’em up for the Atari 8-bit: it’s Zybex, from Zeppelin Games.

Zeppelin began their life as a company specialising in budget-priced titles on cassette; the first time I came across them was when they released today’s game Zybex and motorcycle racer Speed Ace for £2.99 each. Speed Ace was fairly decent, from what I recall — though at the time of writing it’s not one we’ve revisited as yet — but Zybex was something truly special.

Featuring frantic shoot ’em up action for one or two players, Zybex truly brought the arcade-style scrolling shoot ’em up home in style — and it still holds up pretty well today.

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

Atari A to Z: Yogi Bear & Friends in The Greed Monster

Licensed games were a real mixed bag in the 8- and 16-bit eras, because mechanical genres were still being defined and refined — and it was sometimes tricky to relate an established style of game to a particular property.

Hi-Tec was one company that got a bit experimental with their various licensed games. They had the rights to all the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, after all, and to their credit, rather than simply churning out various reskins of the same game, they tried lots of different ways of doing things — even between multiple games featuring the same character.

Yogi Bear & Friends in The Greed Monster is an example of a game where they got it right. It’s an interesting and enjoyable game, even today, and distinguishes itself by being just that bit different from other licensed games of the period.

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

Atari A to Z: Xmas House

It’s Christmas! Well, okay, no it isn’t. It’s quite a while after Christmas, but whatever. I needed a game for “X”.

And so here we are with a type-in listing from ZONG Magazine. Not just any old type-in listing, though; this one is written in Turbo Basic XL, a popular programming language that followed the principles of Atari BASIC while increasing its speed dramatically and adding all manner of cool new functions.

The game itself is a bit… well, type-in listing-y, but it’s not a bad effort at all. I’ve certainly seen far worse Christmas-themed games!

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

Atari A to Z: Warhawk

The shoot ’em up is a genre of gaming with a long and proud history. While the best shoot ’em ups tend to be associated with arcades and consoles, home computers played host to some right crackers too.

One such example is Firebird’s Warhawk, a vertically scrolling shooter with big, chunky sprites and smooth, slick gameplay. It’s an immensely satisfying but challenging shooter — and one that still holds up really well today.

Plus the Rob Hubbard soundtrack on the title screen is absolutely iconic… but hang on, doesn’t it sound a bit familiar…?

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

Atari A to Z: Viro-Mania

One fun thing about type-in listings from back in the 8-bit home computer era is that they often provided free versions of classic games for you to enjoy on your system of choice.

Okay, they “cost” time and effort to actually type the damn things in… but when you were done you had a freely redistributable program that you could share with your friends and enjoy whenever you saw fit.

This week’s Atari 8-bit game is an example of a Turbo BASIC XL type-in game from ZONG Magazine — and it’s a pretty shameless clone of a Nintendo classic puzzler.

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