Tag Archives: freeware

Atari A to Z: XPoker

When contemplating video game history, an important side of things that often gets overlooked or ignored is the public domain sector.

Here, programmers would put together often very good pieces of software, release them into the wild for free and be perfectly happy for people to distribute them as they saw fit. Such is the case with this week’s game XPoker, which was originally released via a bulletin board system, and subsequently found itself getting into the hands of all sorts of people.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Yahtzee

Yep, yep, we’re definitely scraping the barrel a bit for “Y” games on Atari ST now. There are a lot of public domain adaptations of Yahtzee left to go… and not a lot else. So I hope you like dice.

As adaptations of the classic “poker dice” game go, the one we’re looking at today is perfectly competent, particularly when considering it was freely distributed. It would have been nice to see a multiplayer option and perhaps some more fancy bells and whistles, but as a means of enjoying Yahtzee solo on your computer, it does the job perfectly well!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

short;Play: Fractalus

Rescue on Fractalus is one of my all-time favourite games, so I was tremendously excited to hear that a remake that has been ten years in development finally reached its 1.0 release the other day.

At the same time, I was a little skeptical; could a modern reimagining of a classic 8-bit game, deliberately built within the constraints of technology of the time (albeit using some real bleeding-edge programming techniques) really match up to its inspiration? Only one way to find out, isn’t there? Well, maybe two; you can also download it for yourself for free at the official site.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z: Omidor

In this episode of our ongoing exploration of the Atari 8-bit’s library, it’s time to look at Omidor!

What’s that? You think it sounds a little familiar? No, you must be mistaken. This absolutely 100% original do-not-steal game originates from Compy-Shop Magazin, an on-disk magazine released regularly as an interactive catalogue for German retailer Compy-Shop. Each issue contained articles, software, games and an up to date price list for the retailer.

Check out this shameless but highly competent Amidar clone in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Quadron

So you reckon you’re a Tetris pro, hmm? Well, how would you manage if required to play two overlapping games of Tetris at the same time?

That’s the premise behind public domain release (and game development library showcase) Quadron, a game which takes the classic falling-block action of Tetris into a whole other dimension… and perhaps in not quite the way you might have expected it to!

It’s a mind-frying challenge, to be sure, but there’s definitely fun to be had here if you want to take your puzzling to the next level. Check out the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Illinois Smith

You’re probably familiar with various methods of software distribution from over the years.

In the Atari 8-bit era, we had a lot of public domain software that was freely distributable, often sold for the cost of a disk or two from user groups, local software outlets and national publications. But “Begware”, a twist on public domain that literally begged you to pay what you thought the game was worth according to some specific criteria, is a new twist on the formula I’ve not seen in quite this form before.

Illinois Smith, possibly the first (and last?) Begware game, is a mildly entertaining if simplistic romp through a maze as you hunt for treasures. Would I pay up in support of creator Greg Knauss’ unashamed (and rather amusing) begging? These days, sure. Back in the ’80s? Don’t be ridiculous, no-one paid for software back then!

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

Sunday Shooting: Cardinal Sins

Well, we’ve done Eschatos and we’ve done Judgement Silversword… we might as well complete the set, right? What’s that you say? “NO!”? That’s the spirit.

Cardinal Sins, also known as Judgement Silversword Recycle Edition, is a remix of Judgement Silversword into a different style of shoot ’em up. Rather than simply working your way through stages and trying to survive as long as possible, here you’re challenged with a variety of different objectives, each loosely themed around the Seven Deadly Sins.

Hit the jump to see what it’s all about.

Continue reading Sunday Shooting: Cardinal Sins

Atari ST A to Z: Haunted House

Sometimes you feel nostalgia for something not because it was “good”, but because you associate it with happy times.

One such example of this from among the library of Atari ST games I’ve played over the years is Eidersoft’s public domain title Haunted House, a pretty terrible platform game that is essentially a take on the Jet Set Willy formula. Explore, collect things, try not to die.

Atrocious collision detection, the worst run cycle you’ll ever see and the fact it might not even be possible to actually finish the damn thing doesn’t stop me thinking quite fondly of it, however, because I will forever associate it with pleasant memories of childhood. Ahh, simpler times…

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Chaos Dunk Advisory: 10 Year Warning

A very important game in the cross-cultural canon turns 10 years old today: Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, or, to give it its full title, Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden – Chapter One of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa.

One of the most interesting, unusual and genuinely good freeware projects out there in the wild, Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, as we shall refer to it hereafter, is a JRPG-inspired game that every fan of the genre owes it to themselves to spend some time with… and that even people who don’t find themselves typically into JRPGs can also have a great deal of fun with, too.

Positioned as a sequel to both the 1993 Mega Drive sports game Barkley, Shut Up and Jam and the 1996 live action/Looney Tunes hybrid movie Space JamBarkley, Shut Up and Jam Gaiden is a highly creative sci-fi parody that pokes fun at a whole ton of things over its relatively short runtime, but manages to do so without ever feeling mean-spirited or like it’s “trying too hard”. And that, if nothing else, is reason for celebration.

Continue reading Chaos Dunk Advisory: 10 Year Warning

Shmuzzler Essentials: Every Extend Extra

Every Extend Extra is a game that defies easy description. Is it a shoot ’em up? Is it a puzzle game? Yes. And no. And… uh…

For those familiar with the work of Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Q Entertainment, it is somewhat par for the course in that it is developed around the concept of “synaesthesia” — the subconscious connections that some people make between different sensory inputs, in this case sound, visuals and “touch” of sorts through gameplay.

But for everyone else, it’s an initially baffling experience that, before long, becomes utterly compelling and fiendishly addictive.

Continue reading Shmuzzler Essentials: Every Extend Extra