Tag Archives: Atari A to Z

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.

Around the Network

Happy Sunday evening everyone! One of the worst parts of the week, when you know Monday is just around the corner, thereby meaning that you can’t really justify staying up all night playing video games or something.

Still, if you want something to take your mind off the impending drudgery of the working week, I’ve got you covered as always. There’s been some really great stuff this week that I’ve been delighted and excited to cover, so I hope you enjoy them.

So, then, without further ado, let’s review! That rhymes.

Continue reading Around the Network

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.

Atari A to Z: The Upper Reaches of Apshai

Today we delve once again into the Temple of Apshai Trilogy as we attempt to unravel the mystery of what on Earth is going on in the innkeeper’s back garden.

Yes, it’s time for The Upper Reaches of Apshai, the second part of the trilogy and a title that was originally released as an expansion pack for the first version of Temple of Apshai. Sporting a rather more light-hearted feel — mostly thanks to the excellent, witty writing in the companion Book of Apshai, intended to be carried alongside you as you play — The Upper Reaches of Apshai makes use of familiar mechanics to tell a distinctly unfamiliar emergent narrative.

There’s still a hell of a lot to like about this game, it seems — and it says something that I’ve been continuing my adventures off-camera ever since I started playing!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Mission Elevator

Mission Elevator for Atari ST is a game I rather fondly remember; it was, I’m pretty sure, one of the first games I played on that system.

Somewhat criticised on its original release for its superficial resemblance to Taito’s Elevator Action, Mission Elevator is actually a rather interesting arcade adventure that casts you in the role of Agent Trevor (yes, really) as he attempts to dispose of a bomb that is hidden somewhere in a rather tall hotel with an incredibly inconvenient network of elevators.

The game distinguishes itself from Taito’s classic with its strong degree of interactivity and variety of amusing little touches — and still plays pretty well today. Don’t go in expecting an easy mission, though; those enemy agents mean business!

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

Atari A to Z: Scooter

We tend to think of the idea of established, recognisable “star developers” in gaming as something of a recent thing, but back in the ’80s there were a bunch of programmers who became pretty well-known, for better or worse!

One such developer was Frank Cohen, a prolific game maker who was quite noteworthy for the fact that his games had a certain amount of “consistency” to them. This was partly due to his fondness for reusing assets such as sprites, but they also had quite a distinctive “feel” to them.

One of Cohen’s more enjoyable games for me personally was Scooter,  a game that initially appears to be little more than an oblique perspective take on Pac-Man, but which gradually reveals itself to have a variety of interesting things going on.

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