Tag Archives: Atari

Atari A to Z: Ninja

Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! Pushing diagonally backwards and up while holding the fire button to swing your sword, however? Somewhat less intuitive…

Enter Mastertronic’s Ninja from 1986. This was a game developed by Steve Coleman (who was previously responsible for Pharaoh’s Curse, which we’ll be coming to in a few weeks) that combines open-world 2D adventuring with a fusion of one-on-one fighting and beat ’em up mechanics to produce something altogether unique.

Ninja was a game of “firsts” for me growing up. It was the first time I saw a ninja and learned what it was. It was the first time I saw (and learned the name of) a lot of pieces of traditional Japanese architecture such as torii gates. And it was one of the first games I played where fighting mechanics were a little more complex than simply mashing the fire button to do a single type of attack. It’s still pretty fun, too… though it puts up a lot more of a fight than I remember!

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Around the Network

Another week has passed. I won’t lie, I’m still feeling the lingering mental, emotional and physical effects of the last few weeks’ stress… but things are OK-ish for now.

Probably the most exciting thing that has happened is I bought myself yet another little Chinese box to sit under my TV to go with my (surprisingly excellent for the price) upscaler and HDMI splitter (for recording PS3 and PSTV). This one allows me to listen to the TV audio through headphones, which means when I’m recording videos (or streaming, if I ever do that) I can now actually listen to console game sounds instead of just having to turn the audio right down!

You’re hopefully here because you want to know what you might have missed here on MoeGamer and from my other projects this week, though. So hit the jump and we’ll take a look.

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Atari A to Z: Miner 2049’er

“Platforms and ladders”. That’s what we used to call platformers before the more well-established, compact term we use today really took off.

Actually, there is a bit of a distinction; when one is referring specifically to a “platforms and ladders” game, one tends not to be referring to a side-scrolling title like a Super Mario Bros. game, but instead something that unfolds a single screen at a time, usually tasking the player with reaching a specific point or visiting every part of the level at least once.

Bill Hogue and Big Five Software’s Miner 2049’er is a great example of this format — and a game that remains one of the most enduringly popular titles in the Atari 8-bit’s library to this day.

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Atari ST A to Z: Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts

We all have games that we enjoy a bunch, but are absolutely no good at whatsoever. For me, one of those games is Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts… in pretty much any incarnation.

The Atari ST version was a pretty great port that offered a convincingly “console-style” experience on home computers that were never quite able to match up to dedicated gaming hardware. I may have never seen beyond about halfway through the first level (including in today’s video) but I’ll still always have fond memories of it.

Join me as I wax lyrical on the game’s excellent use of the ST’s meagre sound chip, the novelty value of platform games with undulating landscapes and, once again, my brother’s girlfriend’s father.

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Atari A to Z: The Last Starfighter

Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.

Any kid who watched the 1984 movie The Last Starfighter longed to hear those words for real — to put the skills they’d learned in video games to the test with real conflict against invading forces!

Unfortunately, Atari’s attempt to cash in on the popularity of the movie didn’t quite make it to market in time, instead finally seeing the light of day in 1986 as the hastily rebranded Star Raiders II. However, the original, fully playable prototype of the game in its original The Last Starfighter format has been well-preserved over the years… so it’s that we’ll be taking a look at in today’s video!

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Atari A to Z: Into the Eagle’s Nest

Let’s shoot some Nazis!

Pandora’s Into the Eagle’s Nest, first released in 1987, is an early example of the “stealth” subgenre of action adventure, with elements of survival horror, such as resource management. Interestingly, its Atari 8-bit port followed a year after its initial release — which included 16-bit platforms such as the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga — when Atari decided it would make an excellent game for their last-ditch effort at pushing the 8-bit range, the hybrid computer-console XE Games System or XEGS.

It’s an interesting game with some cool twists on the usual top-down action-adventure formula… and hordes of Nazis just waiting for you to mow them down. Just make sure you aim properly.

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Atari A to Z: Gorf

When is a Space Invaders rip-off not a Space Invaders rip-off? When it also rips off Galaxian and Gyruss!

No, that’s unfair to poor old Gorf, an arcade game by Bally Midway that was ported to Atari 8-Bit by Roklan Software. Gorf is an entertaining and enjoyable game in its own right that most certainly has its own identity — albeit perhaps not what was originally intended.

This began life as an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, of all things, but was presumably adapted into what it eventually became after someone at Bally Midway figured that a game involving a 20-minute sequence slowly panning around a spaceship with nothing happening probably wouldn’t be that much fun. The end product was rather good… and bastard hard.

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