Tag Archives: retro games

Atari A to Z: Ninja

Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! Pushing diagonally backwards and up while holding the fire button to swing your sword, however? Somewhat less intuitive…

Enter Mastertronic’s Ninja from 1986. This was a game developed by Steve Coleman (who was previously responsible for Pharaoh’s Curse, which we’ll be coming to in a few weeks) that combines open-world 2D adventuring with a fusion of one-on-one fighting and beat ’em up mechanics to produce something altogether unique.

Ninja was a game of “firsts” for me growing up. It was the first time I saw a ninja and learned what it was. It was the first time I saw (and learned the name of) a lot of pieces of traditional Japanese architecture such as torii gates. And it was one of the first games I played where fighting mechanics were a little more complex than simply mashing the fire button to do a single type of attack. It’s still pretty fun, too… though it puts up a lot more of a fight than I remember!

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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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The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 13 – Don, Don, Don, Don, Dodododododo KA

It’s time for a new episode of The MoeGamer Podcast with me and my co-host Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels!

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos, you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast, you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app or you can subscribe via iTunes. Subscribe.

Or you can hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.

Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 13 – Don, Don, Don, Don, Dodododododo KA

Atari A to Z: The Last Starfighter

Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.

Any kid who watched the 1984 movie The Last Starfighter longed to hear those words for real — to put the skills they’d learned in video games to the test with real conflict against invading forces!

Unfortunately, Atari’s attempt to cash in on the popularity of the movie didn’t quite make it to market in time, instead finally seeing the light of day in 1986 as the hastily rebranded Star Raiders II. However, the original, fully playable prototype of the game in its original The Last Starfighter format has been well-preserved over the years… so it’s that we’ll be taking a look at in today’s video!

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Atari ST A to Z: Eliminator

Today’s Atari ST game is a good example of the sort of technically impressive titles that came from the development company Hewson.

Probably best known for their impressive platformer Nebulus (known on some platforms in some regions as Tower Toppler), Hewson was a company that became renowned for its visually striking games, making use of a variety of techniques to provide the illusion of pushing the hardware “beyond its limits”.

Eliminator sees the company turning its hand to the quasi-3D effect of late ’80s racing games… and then layering a brutally challenging bit of shoot ’em up action atop it. I also have fond memories of it for admittedly strange and anecdotal reasons that are little to do with the game itself…

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Around the Network

Happy Saturday everyone! Hope your week has been good and that you’re now enjoying a nice relaxing weekend.

It’s been a busy week as always around here. Chris and I spent this afternoon recording a new podcast that should be caressing your earholes by Monday, all being well, and in the meantime there’s been lots of stuff happening both here on MoeGamer and on the other sites in my “network” of sorts.

Hit the jump for a summary of what’s been going on!

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari ST A to Z: Atomino

First released in 1985, Atari’s ST range of 16-bit computers were the official follow-ups to the 8-Bit range.

Over their eight years on the market, they saw a variety of weird and wonderful games, as developers were provided with greater graphical fidelity and faster processing speeds… even if the ST’s Yamaha YM2149 PSG sound chip was technically inferior to the POKEY chip of the 8-bit range!

Let’s kick off our exploration of the ST’s extensive and varied library with Atomino, a 1990 release developed by Blue Byte and published by Psygnosis. This is a science-themed puzzle game in which you build molecules from atoms in increasingly complicated circumstances!

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!

Atari A to Z: Final Legacy

One of my favourite things about early computer games is the sheer creativity a lot of developers showed within the technological limitations of the time.

Today we look at 1984’s Final Legacy, a rather ambitious action-strategy naval combat game in which you command a formidable warship in an attempt to destroy the totally-not-Russian missile bases pointed threateningly at your cities. Rather than a dry, abstract affair, Final Legacy brings us a cool bit of very visual interactive speculative fiction about how warfare might work in the year 2051.

Initially unfolding from an overview map, you’ll use an electric beam to destroy enemy missile silos, lasers to shoot down incoming missiles and torpedos to destroy enemy ships. It’s a ton of fun.

Don’t forget you can now follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site — and watch out this Thursday for a brand new Atari-related video series to complement this one!

Taito Essentials: Lunar Rescue

When someone mentions Taito arcade games from the 1970s, the first one that doubtless immediately springs to mind is the genre-defining Space Invaders.

However, this is far from the only game Taito put out in these early years of the games business — and moreover, it’s far from the only good one, too.

Today, we’re taking a look at a game that, while simple, built on the basic formula of Space Invaders with additional mechanics — and likely played a role in defining subsequent games with “rescue” mechanics such as Williams’ Defender and Dan Gorlin’s Choplifter.

Continue reading Taito Essentials: Lunar Rescue

Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong

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