Tag Archives: atari 800

Atari A to Z: Up Up and Away

Some days it just feels like everything is out to get you, when all you want to do is go for a nice peaceful ride in your beautiful hot air balloon.

Of course, in Ringblack Software’s Up Up and Away, everything literally is out to get you, whether it’s punks on the ground throwing rocks at you, birds who have apparently been eating nothing but razor blades for the last week or even Mother Nature herself.

This “avoid ’em up” goes well beyond “NES Hard” into a whole new territory of difficulty. If you even clear the “training” level you’re doing well… but I suspect you’ll be plummeting towards the ground long before that happens.

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!

Atari A to Z: Track & Field

“Multi-discipline athletics” is a subgenre of sports gaming that seems to have mostly fallen by the wayside in recent years.

In the ’80s, however, it was all the rage — and games such as Konami’s Track & Field proved to be the bane of many a joystick throughout the decade.

This Atari 8-bit port of the arcade classic is a surprisingly solid adaptation, wonky scrolling and inadvertent hairpieces aside. If you’ve had a hankering for a wagglin’, well, you can do far worse than this!

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!

Atari A to Z: Shooting Arcade

Merry Christmas! And what better way to celebrate the festive season than with some fairground-style shooting action?

DataSoft’s Shooting Arcade from 1982 is not an especially complex game, but it has an enjoyably addictive quality to it, brought about through increasingly challenging mechanics and an emphasis on accuracy rather than fast action.

If you need a bit of time away from the family this Christmas, you could do far worse than blast away at a few pink elephants…

Atari A to Z: Realm of Impossibility

Electronic Arts are pretty widely disliked by much of the gaming community these days, so it’s easy to forget their somewhat humble and interesting roots.

As their name suggests, they favoured releasing titles that were highly interesting and creative — artistic, you might say — rather than just the same old thing we’d seen elsewhere. In many ways, they heralded in one of the earliest eras of the video game “auteur”.

One great example from the early ’80s was Mike Edwards’ Realm of Impossibility, an enhanced and expanded version of Edwards’ earlier game Zombies. This is a non-violent action adventure that tasks you with exploring a variety of isometric dungeons that get increasingly… peculiar in their geometry as the game progresses. Escher would be proud.

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!

Atari A to Z: Quasimodo

Dem bells, dem bells, dem… blue bells… wait, I think I’m confusing at least two unrelated things there, aren’t I?

Ahem. Anyway. This is Quasimodo by Synapse Software, brought West by U.S. Gold’s early imprint Synsoft. It’s an unusual platform-action game that involves flinging rocks at Bad People climbing ladders, swinging from bell-ropes, swearing at bats and collecting crystals.

And despite its hunchbacked hero, it most certainly is not a clone of the arcade game Hunchback. Give poor old Quasi the respect he deserves!

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!

Atari A to Z: Pharaoh’s Curse

Pharaoh’s Curse is legitimately one of my favourite games on the Atari 8-bit, and one I frequently revisit to unironically enjoy every so often.

Developed by Steve Coleman, who we last saw at the helm of Mastertronic’s NinjaPharaoh’s Curse is an early example of an open-world 2D action adventure, allowing players to explore 16 screens arranged in a 4×4 grid in an attempt to recover all the awkwardly positioned treasures before escaping.

16 rooms doesn’t sound like much, does it? Well, you clearly haven’t counted on the intervention of the mummy. And the pharaoh. And all the traps. And that stupid bastard absolute penis of a flying thing that always shows up at the worst possible moment. Not that I’m bitter at all, no no no.

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!

Atari A to Z: O’Riley’s Mine

“Digging games” were a bit of a mainstay of the games industry in the ’80s.

Some tried their best to ape the formulae of successful arcade titles such as Namco’s Dig Dug and Universal’s Mr Do! — we’ve already seen one example of the latter here on Atari A to Z in the form of Adam “Elektra Glide” Billyard’s quick-and-dirty cash grab of a game, Henri.

Others, like DataSoft’s O’Riley’s Mine, did something a little bit different by eschewing the usual “falling boulder” hazards in favour of other ways to meet your maker beneath the earth. Better keep one step ahead of that rushing water…

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!