These days, we tend to expect multi-format releases to have if not complete parity, then certainly as close an experience as possible to one another.
That wasn’t always the case, though, and I can think of few better examples of this that Adventure International’s The Eliminator, which somehow became an entirely different game between its original TRS-80 incarnation and its Atari 8-bit “port” by Steve Coleman.
It’s a fun little blast ’em up, though, so I’m not mad or anything; I just thought it was interesting!
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!
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As the years advance and old gaming hardware and media gets more expensive, harder to find and even more difficult to maintain, the matter of gaming preservation is of increasing importance.
I’ve previously talked about how emulation and ROM archives have an important role to play in all this — in spite of interference from certain quarters — but of arguably greater importance are companies’ own efforts to preserve their respective histories and portfolios.
I picked up the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for Nintendo Switch recently, and I’ll be covering the individual games in it over the next indefinite period of time in an “SNK Essentials” column (and perhaps some videos) — but today, I wanted to talk about this package as a whole, what it gets right, and what I wish it had done slightly better.
Continue reading SNK 40th Anniversary Collection: (Almost) Perfect Preservation
Basketball is another sport I know next to nothing about, but I know more about it than I do baseball, in that I understand how to win and what the players on the court are actually supposed to do. Therefore, I am much better equipped to comment on Atari Basketball than I was for Atari Baseball.
Atari Basketball is a simple one-on-one affair in which you and another player or the computer square off against one another and try to score more baskets than the other. That’s… pretty much it, really, but there’s something about this game that makes it surprisingly addictive.
I think it’s the controls — the original arcade machine made use of a trackball controller, which translates quite well to modern analogue devices. I can imagine a game against another human opponent getting rather frantic when standing up against the original machine — but it’s still fun here when played on the sofa with a wireless controller, or even on the go with the Switch in handheld mode.
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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?
Continue reading Atari Flashback Classics: Know Your Roots
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become very enthusiastic and passionate about my gaming collection, and my infinitely patient and wonderful wife has done a fantastic job of configuring two of the rooms in our house to display said collection — the living room contains all the reasonably current stuff (basically PS1 onwards) while the upstairs study is a “retro room”, consisting of Atari 8-bit, Atari ST and Philips G7000 Videopac games.
I’ve been adding to my collection from all angles over the course of the last few years. But if I had to pick one system that I’ve enjoyed collecting for the most this year? Not necessarily the cheapest, but one that is enjoyable to collect for? That’s what this award is about.
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Best System to Collect For in 2018
Today, Nintendo is primarily known for its excellent first-party games that it produces for its unique consoles and handhelds. But there was a time when Nintendo games were a lot more platform-agnostic than they are now.
That time was the early ’80s — specifically, the years before the release of the Famicom in 1983, and its Western incarnation, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985. During this time, Nintendo was making arcade games. And there was a great hunger for ports of these arcade games to home-based systems of the time.
Nintendo’s 1981 classic Donkey Kong was a game that got ported to pretty much every platform imaginable at the time. And the 1983 version for Atari home computers was one of the best.
This is a cross-post with my new site Atari A to Z; please head over there and follow if you’re interested in Atari computers, games, software and hardware!
Continue reading Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong