Tag Archives: video games

Atari A to Z Flashback: SwordQuest FireWorld

Just… don’t. I don’t want to talk about it. I can’t. I just… please. Help me.

SwordQuest FireWorld is one of the most miserable video games I have ever played. And, as anyone who knows me well will attest, this is not something I say lightly. Forget E.T., forget Pac-Man, this is the true festering dog turd of the Atari 2600’s library.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Neverwinter Nights

It’s impressive how much BioWare has fallen from grace in recent years, but that’s what being taken over by EA and completely gutted will do to you.

On Retro Select this week, we look back at an era when BioWare were actually still good. Very good, in fact; Neverwinter Nights is probably one of my favourite games from them, for its sheer flexibility if nothing else. It’s well worth checking out even today — and still has a very active community!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari ST A to Z: Z-Out

Although X-Out is considered to be one of the best shoot ’em ups on the Atari ST, I didn’t rate it all that much from a modern perspective; I think console-style shoot ’em ups have spoiled me!

Its sequel Z-Out is another matter, however; despite being a pretty shameless clone of R-Type, this is a much more enjoyable horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up when played today — it even has R-Type’s iconic monstrous difficulty!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: The Great American Cross-Country Road Race

Whew, that’s a title and a half, eh? Good job it’s memorable, because it’s attached to probably one of the best racers on the Atari 8-bit.

The Great American Cross-Country Road Race is, in some ways, a spiritual successor to Enduro on the Atari 2600, but it’s also a considerably more complex game. It was one of the first racers to incorporate some distinctly sim-like elements — and a game that made me cry on more than one occasion when I was a kid because I didn’t understand how cars worked.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – What I Want to Do

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
< Prev. | Contents | Next >


As we started to explore in the previous part of this feature, one of the things that makes Atelier Firis so interesting as a modern role-playing game is that once you’re into the game’s “second quest”, there’s no set goal where you can say that you have definitively “finished” the game.

I mean, okay, if you do literally everything the game has to offer, fill out all the collections to 100%, max out all your characters and make it so the only quests available are repeating ones, then yes, you’ve probably “beaten” Atelier Firis. But what I mean is that for people who aren’t obsessive completionists, you can pretty much choose what your own personal “win state” is, reach that condition and then, if you choose, set the game aside.

If you’re anything like me, of course, the temptation to just have “a quick look” at what else the game has to offer may be too much to bear, however… so let’s talk about this side of things, with a particular focus on what it means for Atelier Firis’ overall narrative.

Continue reading Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – What I Want to Do

Atari A to Z Flashback: SwordQuest EarthWorld

There’s “games that haven’t aged well”, and then there’s the SwordQuest series for Atari 2600, a range of three games (out of a proposed four) that primarily existed for the purpose of running an extravagant competition.

Without the draw of the competition aspect, it’s easy to see these games for what they really are: poorly designed, needlessly obtuse, frustrating, boring messes that learned nothing from earlier attempts at top-down adventures on the platform such as Adventure and Haunted House. And there’s three of them to endure! Oh joy. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound and all that…

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Retro Select: Tyrian 2000

The all-time classic shoot ’em ups of days gone by can typically be found in the arcades and on home consoles — devices with specialist hardware than can handle speedy scrolling and flinging masses of sprites around the screen at once.

But don’t for one second think that there aren’t great shoot ’em ups designed for classic home computers, too. Because there are some fabulous ones out there — and Tyrian is one of the very best, particularly if you crave something with a little more depth and long-term appeal than a standard arcade-style affair. Best of all, it’s free these days, too.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari ST A to Z: Yogi’s Big Cleanup

Licensed games, as we’ve established pretty well by this point, can go either way. Sometimes they can be excellent games, bolstered by the “brand recognition” of what they’re based on. And sometimes they can be absolute pap that comes across as little more than a cheap cash-in.

Yogi’s Big Cleanup for Atari ST sits squarely in the middle. It’s not terrible — in fact its overall structure and design is quite likeable. But some unfortunately atrocious controls and collision detection make it a lot harder to enjoy than it perhaps could have been, which is a real shame.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Fire Bug

As we’ve seen numerous times on the Atari A to Z series to date, an important part of computing history in the 8-bit era in particular is type-in listings in magazines.

The American ANALOG magazine specialised in lengthy, technically impressive type-in machine code listings, often by Kyle Peacock and Tom Hudson. If you’d spend the time and effort required to type these in (or buy the issue’s companion disk), you’d end up with a rather good game for your troubles. And here’s just one of many examples: Fire Bug.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Swordfight

The evolution of the fighting game is interesting to observe, because it got its start a lot earlier than a lot of people might realise.

One very early example that is still surprisingly fun to play today despite its simplicity is Swordfight for Atari 2600, originally intended for release in the early ’80s, but which never ended up on store shelves for various reasons. We can enjoy it now, though, thanks to Atari Flashback Classics — and if you’ve got a friend willing to learn the ropes, it’s a good time!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z