Tag Archives: gaming history

Atari A to Z Flashback: Super Breakout

At this point, most people know that Super Breakout is a bona fide classic of the early days of gaming. But no-one really talks about how monstrously difficult its original arcade incarnation is.

Well, I’m here to change all that today! Super Breakout for the arcade is really, really hard, primarily because the paddle you control is such a stingy, pathetic little size that it’s very difficult to actually return the ball once… let alone enough times to clear the damn screen.

Doesn’t stop me coming back for more, though… particularly with three different game modes to take on in the vain hope I might be good at one of them!

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

Sega Ages: Virtua Racing – Arcade Perfect Plus

The Nintendo Switch has seen a real renaissance for classic-era Sega.

The launch of the Sega Ages collection on the platform has brought a host of the company’s most beloved titles to a whole new audience. Even better, these releases have brought these titles up to date with modern conveniences without sacrificing what made the originals great in the first place; a true example of “enhanced retro” at work.

The latest title from Sega’s golden age to get this treatment is Virtua Racing, so let’s take a look at where this influential title came from… and how the Nintendo Switch incarnation honours its legacy.

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Atari A to Z Flashback: Skydiver

It’s time for another simple but addictive game from the early days of Atari today: this time around it’s the turn of Skydiver.

Skydiver is slightly more complex than Canyon Bomber, which we saw a few episodes back, but it’s still simple enough that anyone can pick it up with minimal explanation. Mastering it is, of course, another matter entirely, but it was ever thus in these early arcade games!

Skydiver is also one of the noisiest games Atari ever created. Be sure to turn your volume down a bit if you’re playing this one yourself!

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

Atari A to Z: Raid Over Moscow

Don’t you hate it when you just can’t get your thing in the hole to blow your payload?

It’s especially troublesome when the fate of the free world is at stake and those pesky Cold War Russkies are flinging inter-continental ballistic missiles at various landmarks. Why, what did you think I was talking about?

Hopefully in the event of an actual nuclear war, the pilots of the small blue aircraft tasked with protecting us all from high above the Earth’s surface will be piloted by someone a little more competent than yours truly…

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Pool Shark

It might be hard to imagine now, but there was a time in gaming history when it was considered to be a seriously impressive technical achievement to get more than two or three things moving simultaneously on a screen.

Atari’s 1977 release Pool Shark is an early example of the company continuing to push the fledgling medium of video games forward. Not only was it a game that demonstrated the power of microprocessor-based hardware rather than the earlier transistor-to-transistor logic technology, but it also had, like, a whole mess of balls flying everywhere.

And like many of these early Atari arcade games, it’s simplistic… but really rather addictive! Be sure to give it a try.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Pong

It’s Pong! The grandaddy of them all. Well, okay, not the absolute first ever computer game ever EVER, but it was certainly the first widely successful one.

If you have the slightest familiarity with gaming, surely Pong needs little to no introduction, but you might be surprised to know that it actually still holds up rather well today. It’s gaming stripped down to its bare essentials, both in terms of graphics and mechanics — and it still works wonderfully as a competitive game.

Fortunately, with how well-known it is and how easy it is to program a convincing clone (even I could probably do it if I tried hard enough!) there’s no shortage of ways to play it these days… but if you really want the true experience, you gotta go Atari.

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

Atari Flashback Classics: Know Your Roots

Atari may be a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of its former self considering the number of hands the brand has passed through since the ’90s… but it’s fair to say that it still has a hold of my heart.

The Atari 2600 was just slightly before my time — I grew up with the Atari 8-bit home computers before moving on to the ST — but I’ve always been interested in and respected the deep roots video gaming laid down in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Consequently, I’ve jumped on board with most Atari 2600 compilations that have been available for platforms over the years… and had a great time with them.

The latest to appear is Atari Flashback Classics for Nintendo Switch. Boasting 150 games that were originally distributed across three separate releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it certainly seems to offer astounding value for money on paper. But how is it in execution?

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