Tag Archives: maze game

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.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Maze Invaders

This one’s a cool addition to the Atari Flashback Classics collection: a “lost” game from the Atari archives.

Maze Invaders sadly never saw an official release either as an arcade machine or a home port, languishing in the archives until recently. The International Centre for the History of Electronic Games managed to acquire a whole bunch of old Atari goodies back in 2014, and part of that heap of fun times was Maze Invaders.

It’s kind of surprising this never got an official release for one reason or another; it’s a really interesting, unusual and highly addictive game with a ton of personality to it!

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

Atari A to Z: Capture the Flag

Towards the end of our first cycle of Atari A to Z, we came across an interesting little first-person maze game called Way Out, developed by Paul Edelstein and published by Sirius Software.

That game got a sequel! And like all good sequels, it provides more of the same, but better. Specifically, it provides split-screen competitive two-player action (with an optional AI-controlled computer opponent) and an unconventional but nonetheless effective control scheme that provides us with one of the earliest ever examples of “strafing” in 3D.

It’s also a very early example of a game that George “The Fat Man” Sanger contributed to; his distinctive music was a mainstay of ’90s PC gaming and beyond, so it’s interesting to see where his “roots” lie!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Crystal Castles

Do you know what “trimetric projection” is? If not, take a good look at Atari’s Crystal Castles. That, dear reader, is trimetric projection at work.

This 3D perspective take on the Pac-Man formula is a popular game from Atari’s early days, and enjoyed numerous home ports over the years, particularly on Atari’s own platforms. It’s a fun — if challenging — game, and remains noteworthy from a historical perspective for being one of the first arcade games out there that it’s actually possible to “beat”. Although good luck with doing that.

Also, if you score first place on the high score table, you get to enjoy your initials presented in 3D trimetric projection for everyone to admire on the first level of each new playthrough!

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

Atari A to Z: Time Bandit

I love it when game developers get creative. This is not an altogether unusual sight these days, of course, but back in the early to mid ’80s, it was always a real treat to see someone step outside of genre “norms”.

Such was the case with Time Bandit by Bill Dunlevy and Harry Lafnear, a top-down action adventure with elements of text adventures, role-playing games, Pac-Man and all manner of other goodness. While superficially resembling Gauntlet — which actually came out after Time Bandit was fully developed — there’s a hell of a lot of depth here, and some fiendish puzzles to unravel.

If you want a game that pretty much sums up what the Atari ST gaming experience is all about, you can do far worse than give Time Bandit the, uh, time of day.

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

Atari ST A to Z: Pac-Mania

There have been numerous attempts to improve on Pac-Man over the years by both Namco and third parties.

One such attempt by the former was Pac-Mania, a game which transplanted Pac-Man’s simple single-screen maze-based gameplay into a scrolling, oblique-perspective affair with jumping, power-ups and visually themed worlds.

Opinions vary as to whether it’s actually an improvement on Pac-Man or not, but one thing is certain: Grandslam’s port to Atari ST was very solid indeed, and one of the few Atari ST games I actually remember buying for myself back when I was a kid!

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Puzzler Essentials: Puzzle Labyrinth

I have a strange relationship with the Nintendo 3DS. I often find myself thinking of it as one of my least favourite gaming systems for numerous reasons… but every so often I’m reminded about the things that make it unique.

Sure, there’s the first-party Nintendo stuff that provides obvious uniqueness, but another aspect of the 3DS that is not discussed nearly as much as it deserves is the amount of interesting, creative and downright weird download-only games buried in the eShop.

Many of these games are published by a company called Circle Entertainment, and they run the gamut from retro-inspired arcade titles to highly creative puzzles and adventures. The subject of today’s piece very much falls into the latter category.

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