Tag Archives: atari 800

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.

Atari A to Z: Onslaught

Well, here’s… a thing.

Onslaught, apparently also known as Klystron Raider, is a game that appears mostly shrouded in mystery. And, having spent far longer with it than it probably deserved, I feel it should probably remain shrouded in mystery.

But I am nothing if not a glutton for punishment, so here it is for your enjoyment regardless.

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

Atari A to Z: Necromancer

I love weird games. Scratch that; I don’t really like using the term “weird”, because what people inevitably mean when they say “weird” in the context of a creative work is “highly creative, unusual and original”. I love highly creative, unusual and original games.

Synapse Software’s Necromancer certainly qualifies as all of those things. It’s pretty much a manifestation of the sort of things old-school heavy metal groups sing about; the sort of thing that sounds like a fever dream, but which you can’t help but get drawn into within moments of starting to play.

With its unconventional control scheme, extremely disparate mechanics between its various stages and its formidable level of difficulty, Necromancer is a classic from the Atari 8-bit’s library with good reason!

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

Atari A to Z: Master of the Lamps

Once upon a time, Activision was not the bloated mess of a money-hungry corporate behemoth it is now. Well, it was slightly less of one, anyway.

The key difference between the Activision of now and the Activision of then is that the latter was much more willing to take significant risks on games that were as much a work of art as they were a piece of interactive entertainment.

One of the best examples of this practice — and one of Activision’s best games, full stop — is Master of the Lamps, one of the earliest ever music games and a spectacular example of what the Atari 8-bit was capable of in the hands of talented programmers.

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