3D Tic-Tac-Toe

One of my favourite things about working on this series is how I come across interesting bits of trivia during my research.

Did you know, for example, that today’s game, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, was the work of Carol Shaw, an immensely talented programmer perhaps best known for one of my favourite games of all time: River Raid?

It’s not really all that surprising that someone who is good at programming worked on more than one thing in their career, I guess, but, hey, found it interesting. And 3D Tic-Tac-Toe is a lot harder than it looks!

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Uninvited

Horror games really took off with the advent of the “survival horror” subgenre that Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil introduced in the late ’90s.

That’s not to say that there were no horror games prior to that, however. And one of the most creepy, disturbing and unsettling of them all was Uninvited by Icom Simulations.

Uninvited was one of Icom’s “MacVentures” series of point-and-click games, but it was ported to numerous platforms after it proved popular on its original platform. One of those was Atari ST, so here we are…

A-Rogue

Roguelikes are big business today, but they’ve been around for a long time.

Much like many early games, they originated as mainframe affairs that didn’t get home ports until much later, when ambitious programmers decided to see exactly what they could get their micros to do.

A-Rogue is what happened when Robert Jung decided to take the original Rogue and rewrite it in Atari BASIC for 48K Atari home computers. He did a pretty good job considering the limitations he had to work within!

Warlords

Pong and Breakout were winning formulae for Atari, so it makes perfect sense they would want to try and do everything possible with this style of game over the years.

Warlords was one of the more interesting experiments, adding a healthy dose of theme, four-player competitive (or team-based) action and a couple of interesting additional mechanics.

It’s even reasonably fun by yourself… but get three friends together and you can expect the trash talk to flow freely within moments of starting!

Tournament Golf

Who’s up for the ruination of a perfectly good walk? Well, you’re in luck, because here comes Elite with their ST conversion of Sega’s Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf.

Tournament Golf, as it was rebranded for its home computer release thanks to the ditching of the license for cost-cutting reasons, is an interesting example of a relatively early golf game trying to incorporate some more complex simulation-style elements into the mix.

Unfortunately, said mix also includes incredibly twitchy arcade-style controls that you need the reflexes of a particularly hyperactive kitten to master, making the whole thing rather more challenging than it needs to be! Still, I had fun…

Zone Ranger

We’ve made it to Z again, folks! And today’s a real stonker of a game that I used to really love playing back in the day. And still do today, in fact.

Zone Ranger was released in 1984 by Activision, back when they still made good games, and was the work of one Dan Thompson. Drawing loose inspiration from Asteroids and Sinistar, two favourite games of Thompson, Zone Ranger tasks you with shooting down a bunch of space junk because… why not?

It’s the quintessential mid-’80s arcade blaster in many ways: easy to learn, hard to master and very, very addictive.

Atari Soccer

Yes, yes, yes, I know the “A to Z” angle in this series is already questionable and this one following Tempest makes it even more so, but we only just managed to find time to have a two-player match!

Indeed, today’s game is Atari Soccer, an arcade title which can only be played with two or four people simultaneously, so bad luck if you have either no friends or two friends. As a follow-up to Atari Football, it again had a cocktail cabinet form factor and exhausting trackball controls to blister your palms with.

Thankfully, the port in Atari Flashback Classics can be enjoyed with nothing more than a couple of analogue controllers, and even for those who aren’t big soccer fans, the game makes for an entertaining, competitive pastime for a few minutes every so often.

Atari games, software, hardware… and memories