It’s that time again! Yes, Centipede is back for a third time — this time in the form of the speedy and challenging Atari 5200 version.
Technically speaking, this version is probably closest to the arcade version, but it’s also one of the most difficult — particularly if you dare to play it with the original Atari 5200 controller, one of the most notoriously awkward pieces of technology ever created.
In other words, if you really reckon yourself at Centipede… then the Atari 5200 version is the one you should be challenging yourself with!
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that… or so they say, anyway. I wonder how Sega felt about Red Rat Software’s not-so-subtle take on Pengo… particularly given it came out quite a few years later?
To be fair, Pengy is a perfectly competent version of Pengo for Atari ST… but once we hit the 16-bit home computer era, people were starting to expect a little bit more from their computer and video games than knockoffs of arcade games from several years ago.
Still, looking back on it now, it’s an enjoyable enough game, so let’s spend a bit of time with it today!
One fun thing about type-in listings from back in the 8-bit home computer era is that they often provided free versions of classic games for you to enjoy on your system of choice.
Okay, they “cost” time and effort to actually type the damn things in… but when you were done you had a freely redistributable program that you could share with your friends and enjoy whenever you saw fit.
This week’s game is an example of a Turbo BASIC XL type-in game from ZONG Magazine — and it’s a pretty shameless clone of a Nintendo classic puzzler.
Centipede is one of Atari’s all-time classics, so naturally it appears in Atari Flashback Classics no less than three times: once in its original arcade incarnation, once on the 2600 (today) and once on the 5200 (next time).
Each version has its own subtle differences, though, and the 2600 version here is particularly impressive for keeping the gameplay’s core addictive quality intact despite not looking super-impressive from a technical perspective.
When you consider quite how much is going on on screen at once, though, you have to give the humble little machine some respect; it’s clearly working its socks off to provide some satisfying arcade action!
How do you follow up a success story like Lemmings? Well, you give the people more, of course!
Oh No! More Lemmings was an expansion pack for the popular puzzler that provided a hundred new levels for skilled Lemmings pros. And I really mean that; this game is hard.
Interestingly, the expansion was released as both an add-on disk for the original game and a standalone game that could be played by itself. If you’re a Lemmings newcomer, I strongly recommend cutting your teeth on the original first!
Today we delve once again into the Temple of Apshai Trilogy as we attempt to unravel the mystery of what on Earth is going on in the innkeeper’s back garden.
Yes, it’s time for The Upper Reaches of Apshai, the second part of the trilogy and a title that was originally released as an expansion pack for the first version of Temple of Apshai. Sporting a rather more light-hearted feel — mostly thanks to the excellent, witty writing in the companion Book of Apshai, intended to be carried alongside you as you play — The Upper Reaches of Apshai makes use of familiar mechanics to tell a distinctly unfamiliar emergent narrative.
There’s still a hell of a lot to like about this game, it seems — and it says something that I’ve been continuing my adventures off-camera ever since I started playing!
As we’ve previously seen, the Atari 2600’s launch lineup included a competent but fairly no-frills adaptation of the game of Black Jack.
A year later, creator Bob Whitehead followed it up with the much more substantial Casino, which not only expanded Black Jack’s gameplay with hand splitting and insurance betting, but also included stud poker for up to four players, and an enjoyable “poker solitaire” puzzle game.
Okay, sure, compared to modern offerings it might still seem rather limited… but there’s fun to be had here, especially if you bring some friends along for the virtual gambling fun!