Tag Archives: atari xe

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.

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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!

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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.

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Atari A to Z: Final Legacy

One of my favourite things about early computer games is the sheer creativity a lot of developers showed within the technological limitations of the time.

Today we look at 1984’s Final Legacy, a rather ambitious action-strategy naval combat game in which you command a formidable warship in an attempt to destroy the totally-not-Russian missile bases pointed threateningly at your cities. Rather than a dry, abstract affair, Final Legacy brings us a cool bit of very visual interactive speculative fiction about how warfare might work in the year 2051.

Initially unfolding from an overview map, you’ll use an electric beam to destroy enemy missile silos, lasers to shoot down incoming missiles and torpedos to destroy enemy ships. It’s a ton of fun.

Don’t forget you can now follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site — and watch out this Thursday for a brand new Atari-related video series to complement this one!

Atari A to Z: Encounter!

The Atari 8-Bit played host to some great games, many of which drew fairly unashamed inspiration from popular arcade games at the time.

In some cases, these “derivatives” provided an interesting twist on their inspiration’s formula — or in some cases improved upon it. Such is the case with Encounter! by the late Paul Woakes, an enormously talented (and mostly solo) British programmer who developed some of the most technically impressive games of the 8- and 16-bit era.

Encounter! wears its Battlezone inspirations on its sleeve, but it mixes things up with much faster-paced gameplay and a challenging “hyperspace” sequence between stages. Watch me fail at the latter aspect in particular below.