Tag Archives: Atari

Atari A to Z Flashback: Frog Pond

A fair few titles in the early days of gaming were shameless clones of other companies’ work.

Atari’s Frog Pond, a game that ended up not being released because Atari wasn’t willing to spring for a monster 8K cartridge for a “children’s game”, was a clone of Mattel’s Frog Bog for Intellivision (which ended up being ported to 2600 as Frogs and Flies), which in turn was a clone of Sega’s arcade title Frogs.

And they say originality is dead. Well, yes. It appears to have been dead for a very long time indeed! Don’t let that stop you checking out this video, though — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Gremlins 2

Something something don’t feed them after midnight, get them wet or whatever.

Yep, Gremlins was a big ol’ thing back in the 8- and 16-bit days, and there were a fair few video game adaptations across different platforms. I think my personal favourite is the Atari 8-bit game, but that’s one of the few remaining games out there that doesn’t seem to play nice with emulation, so I’ve held off making a video on it for now.

Elite’s adaptation of Gremlins 2: The New Batch for Atari ST, meanwhile was… well, it’s not bad, but it is monstrously difficult, so good luck seeing any more than the first few screens, as I discovered while filming this!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: MegaMania

Activision may be a company that a lot of gamers like to steer well clear of these days thanks to issues like predatory DLC and microtransactions, but back in the days of the 8-bit micros, they were one of the finest companies out there.

They credited their programmers and designers, they put out games that pushed the boundaries of underpowered hardware such as the Atari 2600… and they just made great games, full stop.

One fantastic example is MegaMania, a thoroughly weird but extremely enjoyable fixed shooter that will get you bobbing and weaving between waves of hamburgers, engagement rings, bow ties and steam irons. No symbolism there, no sir.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Final Legacy

Yep, it’s Final Legacy again — this time for the very final time, I promise!

Final Legacy’s unreleased Atari 5200 conversion forms part of the Atari Flashback Classics compilation, and thus it wouldn’t be right and proper to pass it by without appropriate acknowledgement, now, would it?

Thankfully, it’s pretty much identical to the excellent Atari 8-bit version, as opposed to Paradox Software’s dodgy, janky port for Atari ST. Once again we cast ourselves into hostile waters in an attempt to save the surviving human race from nuclear catastrophe.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Circus Atari

Today’s Atari Flashback Classic is Circus Atari, an interesting and challenging twist on the Breakout formula.

The origin story of this one is quite interesting, too; it began life as a third-party spin-off of the Breakout arcade hardware, then was subsequently ported by Atari itself to the 2600 platform. Original developer Exidy, who were struggling to compete with Atari at the time, must have been real pleased about that!

Anyway, if Breakout wasn’t hard enough already for you, Circus Atari challenges you to bounce two little clowns on a see-saw and pop a bunch of balloons. Good luck; you’ll need it!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Breakout

Bip! Boop! Bip! Boop! It’s an iconic sound of the late ’70s: a computerised simulation of some sort of bat-and-ball game. And few games of this type are more classic or influential than Breakout.

The Atari 2600 version of Breakout offers a variety of ways to play, including several multiplayer modes. This technically made the home console version a superior experience to the arcade machine… which is a phenomenon we wouldn’t really encounter again until roughly the Dreamcast era.

Anyway, Breakout for 2600 is a good time, particularly if you’ve got some friends to play with. If you’re flying solo, Super Breakout may be a better choice… but that’s a story for another day!

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

Atari A to Z: Pac-Man

We’re all pretty accustomed to arcade-perfect conversions these days, but what about back in the ’80s where programmers had to make home versions of arcade games from scratch without any handy emulation?

The results varied enormously — at least partly because in some cases the programmers in question didn’t have any original source material to work with — but there were a few very solid examples over the years.

One pretty great arcade conversion for Atari 8-bit was the Atari-published version of Namco’s Pac-Man. It’s certainly better than the notorious 2600 version!

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