Tag Archives: public domain

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 ST A to Z: Quest for Galaxia

The 16-bit home microcomputer era was a bit of a golden age for public domain software and shareware — even long before the advent of the Internet made distributing such things child’s play.

A key player in this space here in Europe was Budgie UK, who became well-known for distributing good quality public domain software, typically taking the form of 16-bit takes on classic arcade games.

Today’s game is a prime example of that, providing a thoroughly serviceable and enjoyable clone of Namco’s fixed shooter classic Galaxian… with a cool demoscene-style title screen!

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

Atari A to Z: Uncle Henry’s Nuclear Waste Dump

It’s kind of strange to think that puzzle games — at least how we know them today — were a relatively late evolution compared to other genres.

Today’s Atari 8-bit title is a type-in BASIC listing from popular Atari magazine Antic, and was developed by someone who had never seen or heard of Tetris at the time. It’s a fun little puzzler, and an interesting example of the very early days of a genre we take for granted today.

It’s also surprisingly bloody hard, despite the simple concept! After a while all that nuclear waste just melts your brain, I think…

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

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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