Tag Archives: Atari 8-bit

Atari A to Z: Water Ski School

My parents, I believe, still own a complete collection of Page 6 magazine, right from its very first issue as a publication primarily intended for the Birmingham User Group, up until its slow demise as an A5-sized subscription-only affair in the twilight years of Atari.

One edition which always stood out to me was Issue 23, whose cover sported a large image of a water-skier performing a stunt he didn’t quite seem to be ready for. The cover image was promoting the big type-in game for that issue: a machine-code game known as Water Ski School. Although I typed in a lot of games over the course of Page 6’s original run, for one reason or another I never got around to doing this one. Seems like a prime candidate to check out on Atari A to Z, then!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Valgus 2

Valgus 2 (or possibly “Valgus Squared”, thinking about it) for Atari 8-bit is an interesting and creative take on Tetris that, for once, doesn’t just knock off someone else’s game.

While superficially resembling Alexey Pajitnov’s official follow-up Welltris, Valgus 2 is actually a rather different sort of game, tasking you with surrounding a central piece rather than making lines on the floor of a “well”.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Universal Hero

The origins of the open-structure 2D platform game tend to be traced back to console games such as Castlevania and Metroid these days, but it was always a popular way to put a game together back on 8-bit computers, too.

Games such as today’s title, Mastertronic’s Universal Hero, tended to be known as “arcade adventures” back in the ’80s, thanks to their blend of traditionally arcade-style mechanics with the conventions of adventure games, such as exploration, puzzle-solving and object manipulation. While they didn’t always get that blend quite right, it certainly made for some interesting and challenging games!

Check out Universal Hero in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Triad

Although their name might suggest otherwise, Adventure International put out many different types of game for the Atari 8-bit.

One interesting example from the relatively early days is Triad, a game that combines noughts and crosses with shoot ’em up action, in which each square on the board contains a specific type of enemy — and each type of enemy requires a specific means of defeating them! It’s a fun combination of shoot ’em up and puzzler that is still surprisingly addictive today.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Shamus

Shamus is one of those games that probably every Atari 8-bit enthusiast has played at one point or another; like many other games from publisher Synapse Software, it’s an all-time classic.

Developed by Cathryn Mataga (credited as William Mataga in the game), Shamus is a top-down action adventure that draws some inspiration from the classic shoot ’em up Berzerk and combines it with a more coherent world that you need to explore in order to proceed to the next level. Offering massive mazes and tons of replay value, Shamus is still a great time today.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: River Raid

River Raid is probably my favourite game on the Atari 8-bit. The Atari 2600 version is arguably more well-known, but the Atari 2600 version — which also appeared on the ill-fated Atari 5200 — is superior in pretty much every way.

For the unfamiliar, River Raid is one of the original vertically scrolling shoot ’em ups, and made use of some clever programming techniques to squeeze the entire game into a tiny amount of space. It’s one of Activision’s finest games of the 8-bit era, and a game I still enjoy on a regular basis today.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Questron

When I was a kid, I was kind of scared of trying out RPGs because they looked too complicated. Returning to them today, however, makes me feel like I would probably have been fine!

Here’s Questron from Strategic Simulations Inc, who at the time were better known for their wargaming software. This was their first RPG release and proved to be a big success for them. The company would later go on to be extremely well-known for their excellent array of licensed Dungeons & Dragons computer RPGs, so this was the just the beginning of something wonderful for them!

Enjoy the game in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Preppie!

Certain games — especially from the early days of the medium — really come to define a platform. And today’s Atari 8-bit game is one of those games.

Preppie! by Russ Wetmore, published by Adventure International, is a fun twist on the Frogger theme, which also acts as a great demonstration of what the Atari 8-bit is capable of. It’s a widely beloved game with good reason, and often cited as a highlight of the platform’s extensive game library.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Omidor

In this episode of our ongoing exploration of the Atari 8-bit’s library, it’s time to look at Omidor!

What’s that? You think it sounds a little familiar? No, you must be mistaken. This absolutely 100% original do-not-steal game originates from Compy-Shop Magazin, an on-disk magazine released regularly as an interactive catalogue for German retailer Compy-Shop. Each issue contained articles, software, games and an up to date price list for the retailer.

Check out this shameless but highly competent Amidar clone in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Nightmares

You think we have problems now? Back in the ’80s, video game distributors would refuse to stock games if they felt they would be “harmful to children”. And Red Rat’s Nightmares for Atari 8-bit was a victim of this moral panic.

It stung doubly hard for UK-based Atari 8-bit enthusiasts, becuase the stockist in question was Silica Shop, a longstanding supporter of Atari platforms and a popular choice for mail order. Unusually, it was actually the press that stepped in to help — Page 6 Magazine took on the task of distributing the game in place of retailers who refused to stock it, and perchance made themselves a few quid in the process.

Was the game actually any good though? Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z