All posts by Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.

Yars’ Revenge

This is it! The final game in Atari Flashback Classics — and it just happens to be one of the most legendary games for the Atari 2600. It’s Howard Scott Warshaw’s all-time classic Yars’ Revenge!

This was one of the all-time best-selling games for the Atari 2600, and with good reason: it was original, it was enjoyable, it was fun and interesting to play. No, it might not look like much today — and indeed looked a bit like something was going horribly wrong with your console even back when it was current — but it’s got that special fun factor where it counts.

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

John Lowe’s Ultimate Darts

Darts! One game, one hundred yen. I’ll try it once. Except it wasn’t one hundred yen, it was twenty quid, and it offered quite a variety of different darts-related experiences for your money.

Darts video games have never really taken off, aside from as minigames inside other games (hence the Shenmue reference above) but for a while a number of developers tried to make them work. John Lowe’s Ultimate Darts for Atari ST, brought to us by Gremlin Graphics, was a solid effort — and presents far less risk of accidentally impaling the cat or puncturing a loved one than real at-home darts.

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

Quarxon

The Atari Program Exchange label played host to some really interesting, creative games — as well as some useful pieces of software. At least, they were useful pieces of software back in the day; for the most part, APX games have held up a bit better!

Quarxon is a great example of what this label really offered. By focusing on user-submitted programs rather than corporate mandated projects, we got a whole host of weird and wonderful things to experience — including this neato competitive shoot ’em up with a rather interesting ruleset!

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

Yars’ Return

For the various Atari Flashback consoles over the years, Atari included a number of “hacks” of its classic games that were decent enough to be considered full sequels.

One such example is Yars’ Return, a follow-up to Howard Scott Warshaw’s classic Yars’ Revenge. This first appeared on an Atari Flashback console in 2005 and has continued to be distributed on Flashback consoles and in compilations like Atari Flashback Classics — complete with a bug that developer Dennis Debro fixed about a decade ago — ever since. You can even buy a cart copy from Atari’s “Atari XP” initiative now, too.

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

Impossamole

The Monty Mole series from Gremlin is most commonly associated with the 8-bit home computer platforms, but it did actually get a 16-bit outing with Impossamole, developed by the one and only Core Design.

While superficially resembling the developer’s notorious “masocore” platformer Rick Dangerous, Impossamole is a rather more fair and enjoyable experience with plenty of variety — you can even tackle the initial stages in whatever order you please. While some argue that Monty’s earlier 8-bit adventures were better, it’s certainly a fairly respectable showing here on the Atari ST!

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

Phobos

Did you like Caverns of Mars? Then I recommend you play its sequel! No, not Caverns of Mars II, though I rather like that too — I’m talking about Phobos, its much less well-known follow-up.

Phobos takes the vertically scrolling formula of Caverns of Mars and builds atop it with a variety of interesting new mechanics — including significant chunks of level where you descend at your own pace rather than at a constant speed. It’s a ton of fun — and a game that will very much set you on edge while you play!

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

Xari Arena

Old games consoles are, as a rule, pretty good at making your ears bleed, but Xari Arena for Atari 5200 takes things to a whole other level by being one of the noisiest games you’ll ever come across.

Don’t let that put you off, though, because what we have here is a highly creative and unusual game that, sadly, never saw an official release back in the day. And that’s a real shame, because as a genuine Atari 5200 exclusive, Xari Arena stands out as an enjoyable and original game that is highly enjoyable for both solo players and pairs.

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

Hostages

Terrorists have taken over an embassy! Oh no! What are we to do? Send in six lightly armed operatives, several of whom are fairly incompetent at their jobs, and place them under the leadership of someone who doesn’t know what he is doing.

That’s (kind of) the premise behind Hostages, a well-regarded French game for Atari ST that demonstrates nicely what French games for 16-bit home computers were all about: gorgeous presentation coupled with often interesting and obtuse game mechanics. At least I can finish the training mission now, though, which is more than I could do in my childhood!

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

Oil’s Well

The practice of “cloning” got a fair bit of attention in the earlier days of the mobile gaming marketplace — but by then it had been going on for a lot longer than many people might have thought.

Oil’s Well, a game from early-days Sierra, is a great example. It’s a clone of the arcade game Anteater, though as fate often tends to have it, Oil’s Well actually ended up more popular by virtue of appearing on more different platforms. And however dishonourable its origins might be, it’s still a great maze muncher!

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

Wizard

If you know your Atari history, you’ll recognise the name Chris Crawford. He was responsible for a number of fascinating and innovative games, including the strategy title Eastern Front and the weird-ass social ’em up Gossip.

Wizard is a prototype he worked on back in the Atari 2600 days, but it never made it to release for various reasons — chief among which was the fact that Crawford crammed it into 2K, but Atari’s marketing department decided that all games from that point on should be 4K. Silly in retrospect, yet — but at least we can enjoy Wizard today.

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