Tag Archives: Atari 8-bit

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: Uncle Henry’s Nuclear Waste Dump

It’s kind of strange to think that puzzle games — at least how we know them today — were a relatively late evolution compared to other genres.

Today’s Atari 8-bit title is a type-in BASIC listing from popular Atari magazine Antic, and was developed by someone who had never seen or heard of Tetris at the time. It’s a fun little puzzler, and an interesting example of the very early days of a genre we take for granted today.

It’s also surprisingly bloody hard, despite the simple concept! After a while all that nuclear waste just melts your brain, I think…

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

Atari A to Z: Thrax Lair

Fie on your spaceships, I say, the true shoot ’em up connoisseur takes control of pterodactyl-esque creatures and uses them to penetrate deep inside their enemies’… err, lairs!

Well, okay, maybe not, but that’s the setup for Thrax Lair, anyway, in which you control a “Tarp”, a winged creature capable of firing lasers from its eyes with a strong (and eminently justifiable) grudge against the spider-like Thrax.

Gameplay-wise, it’s a bit like River Raid, but with enough unique elements about it to make it worth a look — even if it might not be the most flashy game the Atari 8-bit ever offered!

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: Raid Over Moscow

Don’t you hate it when you just can’t get your thing in the hole to blow your payload?

It’s especially troublesome when the fate of the free world is at stake and those pesky Cold War Russkies are flinging inter-continental ballistic missiles at various landmarks. Why, what did you think I was talking about?

Hopefully in the event of an actual nuclear war, the pilots of the small blue aircraft tasked with protecting us all from high above the Earth’s surface will be piloted by someone a little more competent than yours truly…

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.