Category Archives: 8-Bit Games

Winter Olympiad ’88

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics may be going on at the time of writing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some winter sports action from 33 years ago!

Tynesoft’s Winter Olympiad ’88 was a well-regarded release for Atari 8-bit despite its relatively limited number of playable events. Despite releasing Summer Games on the Atari 8-bit, Epyx had decided to eschew the platform for its follow-up Winter Games, so many critics and consumers alike saw Winter Olympiad ’88 as a more than acceptable substitute.

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

Vegas Jackpot

I’ve never really seen the point of slot machine games. You don’t win anything, you don’t risk anything and the level of interaction between you and the game is minimal at best.

That didn’t stop lots of developers from putting them out in the early days of home computing, though — and in the grand scheme of things, Mastertronic and Sculptured Software’s Vegas Jackpot for Atari 8-bit is probably one of the better ones. There’s still very little reason to spend your time on this today though!

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

Upward

Type-in listings written in BASIC were a common sight in Atari 8-bit magazines — as were BASIC listings that were used to create executable machine code programs on disk or cassette.

The magazines Antic and ANALOG in the United States also had a strong interest in the programming language Action!, though, and published a number of listings written using this speedy, game-friendly setup. Today’s Atari 8-bit game is one such example, bringing some solid and challenging platforming action home for us to enjoy.

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

Tax Dodge

“Let’s make a video game about doing our taxes!” thought John Freeman and Anne Westfall of the brand spanking new software company Free Fall Associates. “I’m sure that will resonate with the game-playing community!”

Sadly, it did not — but that doesn’t mean that Tax Dodge for Atari 8-bit isn’t a good game. Quite the opposite, in fact — it’s a really fun, interesting take on the maze chase genre with a non-violent twist. Although it does benefit you to have at least a passing understanding of all things financial, especially if you don’t have a manual to hand…

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

Star Raiders

After enjoying the Atari 5200 adaptation of Star Raiders a few weeks back, I thought it was probably time we looked at its most well-known and well-loved incarnation: the original Atari 8-bit release from 1979.

Regarded by many as the “killer app” for the Atari 8-bit home computers, at least on its original release, Star Raiders is an all-time classic — and a genre-defining game that helped to establish first-person, real-time space combat games as a viable genre. It’s been one of my favourite games ever since I first played it, so let’s celebrate it the way it was always meant to be enjoyed.

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

Runner Bear

The Atari 8-bit community is still alive and well — and many of the folks involved with it are just as active today as they were back in the good old days!

One mainstay of the community for all these years is Paul Lay, who put together some fabulous machine code games as type-in listings for Page 6 magazine all those years ago, and is still putting out top-notch software for the platform today. Here’s Runner Bear, programmed with the intention of being the first Atari 8-bit game of 2020.

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

Quest for Quintana Roo

Sometimes, you just want to raid a pyramid. Because it might have treasure in it, of course! That’s Yucatan Sam’s thinking, anyway; somewhere in Quintana Roo are riches beyond his wildest dreams.

Quest for Quintana Roo is a peculiar action adventure game in which you explore the aforementioned pyramid in the hopes of tracking down some mysterious stones that will open the way to great fortune. It’s become known as a somewhat obtuse game where it’s not super clear what you’re supposed to be doing, but it can be figured out with a bit of effort!

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

Pitstop

Early takes on the racing game genre often seem quite primitive by today’s standards — but some of them still had some ambitious ideas.

Epyx’s Pitstop for Atari 8-bit is a good example. While its game structure is fundamentally flawed if playing solo and its racing action is nothing special, it was the first game to not only incorporate pit stops as part of a race, but also to allow you to take control of your pit crew and actually perform the pit stop yourself.

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

Ocean Detox

As we’ve seen a few previous times on this series, the development scene for the Atari 8-bit is, like with many other ’80s home computers, alive and well.

Ocean Detox, the game we’re looking at today, was the winner of an annual software competition run by the Atari Bit Byter User Club, or ABBUC. This competition attracts some of the most talented Atari 8-bit developers from across the world every year, and everything produced for it is always both high quality and well worth your time.

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

Ninja Commando

Video games have always had a budget sector — and much like low-cost digital download games are often highly creative today, the same was true for the straight-to-cassette budget sector for the Atari 8-bit.

Zeppelin Games was one of the more noteworthy budget specialists, in that they consistently produced high-quality games and then released them for pocket money prices. Sure, you had to wait more than 15 minutes for them to load on the Atari 8-bit’s excruciatingly slow tape drives, but it was usually worth it!

Here’s Ninja Commando, just one example of Zeppelin’s excellent output for the platform. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!