Regular viewers and enthusiasts of ’80s microcomputers will doubtless be well familiar with Jeff Minter of Llamasoft by now.
Minter didn’t put out a ton of stuff for the 16-bit platforms, but when he did — gosh, he made that hardware well and truly sing.
A great example is Andes Attack for Atari ST which, as well as being incredibly difficult, is also a beautiful reimagining of one of Minter’s old Vic-20 games. Let’s enjoy the sight of me failing miserably at it!
Electronic Arts has become a bit of a dirty word these days, gaining notoriety for, among other things, predatory microtransactions and taking over beloved studios, only to shutter them shortly afterwards.
But there was a time when EA was a label that stood for high-quality, unusual and interesting software — a time when it really did feel like they were pursuing electronic art. One great example of a title like this that they released in the 16-bit era was Zany Golf, a fun and highly creative physics puzzler masquerading as a golf game.
You’ll never look at hamburgers the same way again…
While it’s primarily the 8-bit home microcomputer era that is associated with the “bedroom programmer”, thanks to the fact that most systems came with the programming language BASIC built into ROM, some of this still went on in the 16-bit era.
A popular platform for independent game development on Atari ST was STOS (short for ST Operating System). This was a BASIC-like language with a lot of features specifically geared towards game development: things like sprite handling, scrolling, music and sound generation, all that sort of thing.
STOS’ publisher Mandarin Software collected a bunch of impressive efforts from talented developers and bundled them together in a commercially available showcase compilation called Games Galore. One of those games was Yomo, which is the subject of today’s video!
Possibly the most ’90s game of all-time, The Bitmap Brothers’ Xenon 2: Megablast is a classic shoot ’em up with a solid Atari ST port.
Okay, we don’t get to enjoy the full digital strains of Bomb The Bass’ Megablast (Hip-Hop on Precinct 13) during gameplay, but it’s there in the intro sequence, and was enough to get my video Content ID’d on YouTube! I didn’t know anyone still cared about Bomb the Bass, least of all in 8-bit mono at a woefully low sample rate. AH YEAH.
Anyway, Xenon 2 is indeed a Megablast, and well worth checking out if you want to see how a 16-bit microcomputer handles a chaotic shoot ’em up!
Wicked is a great game that I used to really like when I was younger… even if it did freak me out a bit.
An occult-themed strategic shooter with horror elements, Wicked is a seriously unusual and highly original game that I’ve never seen anything quite like ever since. Truly, it was an untamed and highly experimental time in the games business!
Anyway, let’s revisit it after all these years… has it still got that ol’ black magic?
Today we have a game that got banned in Germany. Not for the usual reasons, either; no excessive violence or Nazi imagery here.
Nope, Vixen by Martech got banned because its name sounded a bit like the German word for “wanking”. It subsequently did manage to get a German release under the name She-Fox. Meanwhile, UK high street retailer Boots refused to stock the game because of the boobies on the box art.
And you thought we had problems these days!
Today’s game hails from the relatively early days of what would go on to become an incredibly popular genre worldwide: the RPG.
Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress is often regarded as the “black sheep” of the Ultima series, but it nicely demonstrates how things worked for this type of game back in the Good Old Days… as well as makes me realise that I really had no need to feel intimidated by the supposed complexity of RPGs back when I was a kid!
The ST version perhaps isn’t the most visually impressive game you’ll see on the platform, but it does make good use of the GEM interface, and provides some solid, enjoyable adventuring action!
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.