Category Archives: 8-Bit Games

Flip and Flop

Today’s Atari 8-bit game is one of my favourites from back in the day — and, I’m pretty sure, one of the earliest video games I remember playing as a kid.

It’s Flip and Flop from Jim Nangano and First Star Software, a take on the Q*Bert isometric “painting” formula with a few interesting twists — most notably some more complex level design, an emphasis on outwitting enemy behaviour, and some peculiar changes in perspective just to throw you off every so often!

If you’ve never checked out the Atari 8-bit’s library before, this is definitely one of the games you should give a shot. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Elevator Repairman

As we’ve seen a few times previously on the Atari A to Z series, the North American Atari-centric publication ANALOG was a prime source of top-quality machine code games that you could type in yourself, then save to a disk or cassette and enjoy whenever you pleased.

Today’s game hails from ANALOG issue number 34 (September 1985), and is a simple but enjoyable arcade game about avoiding elevators and climbing buildings. That main character looks a little familiar, too… though of course any resemblance to certain Italian plumbers, living or dead, is almost certainly unintentional and should not be considered any sort of infringement on established, trademarked intellectual property. Or something. Probably.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Death Race

Sadly, this game is nothing to do with the movie of the same name. Instead, it’s Atlantis Software’s budget-price attempt to recreate the experience of Sega’s early arcade game Turbo, albeit a few years late.

The latter years of the Atari 8-bit saw a lot of publishers specialising in budget-price, cassette-only releases for around the £2 mark. This put them firmly in “pocket money” territory for a lot of young gamers, but the quality did vary quite a bit, with Atlantis Software’s titles generally not being received all that well by the press of the day.

How does Death Race stack up in the grand scheme of things? Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Computer War

Nuclear war is a scary prospect, but as a general rule we, the people of the world, don’t seem to be nearly as nervous about its possibility as we were back in the 1980s, for one reason or another.

The ’80s, as we’ve seen a few times on this series, played host to a variety of media that acknowledged and explored the strong degree of paranoia and fear that existed with regard to the United States’ Cold War with Russia in various ways. One of those pieces of media was the excellent movie WarGames, which in turn inspired several video game adaptations on various platforms.

One such video game was Thorn EMI’s Computer War for Atari 8-bit, a game I very much enjoyed when I was a kid — and still like firing up now and then today. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Baby Berks

For me, one of the most exciting things to see happen in the retro gaming community is when the original creator of a classic work returns to it and does something cool with it.

Today, we have an example of that. Baby Berks was originally a type-in listing for the Commodore 16, and after an AtariAge forum poster noted that it might be nice to see an Atari 8-bit port of it, who just happened to show up in the thread but the original creator Jon Williams himself?

A month later, there was an official Atari port of this fun arena shooter. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Action Quest

I’ve been meaning to get around to this one for a while, as someone recommended it to me quite some time ago, but I’ve finally gotten around to it!

Action Quest is an interesting game that blends elements of top-down arcade adventure with some genuinely interesting puzzles. It was an early attempt to make something of a “graphic adventure”, though it still errs a little more on the “action” side of things, as you might expect from the title.

Enjoy this unusual game in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Zaxxon

Early arcade ports certainly varied quite significantly in quality, and opinion appears to be a bit divided online as to whether or not Ron J Fortier’s Atari 8-bit take on Sega’s classic Zaxxon is “good” or not.

Well, “good” or not, that’s what we’re taking a look at today — and it turns out there are two slightly different versions of the game out there. (I discovered after I made the video that these are due to there being a 16K cassette version and a 48K disk version — in the video you’ll see the disk version first, followed by the more limited cassette version.)

Enjoy this take on a classic in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Yogi’s Great Escape

Yogi Bear is, it is said, smarter than the average bear. He was certainly smart enough to find himself in several licensed games for a variety of home computer platforms in the early ’90s.

Here’s the Atari 8-bit version of Yogi’s Great Escape, a platform game that we’ve previously seen on the Atari ST A to Z series already. While technically inferior, the 8-bit version actually plays quite a bit better, with tight controls and clear mechanics that make it surprisingly enjoyable to play.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Worms?

EA, lest we forget, stands for “Electronic Arts”. And back in this company’s early days, they really stood by that name, releasing a variety of fascinating, experimental pieces of work that were notably different from a lot of other games at the time.

One great example from EA’s initial batch of five games is Worms?, a take on a cellular automata model known as Paterson’s Worms. In the game, you control between one and four worms in an attempt to capture as much territory as possible by “programming” the worms’ behaviour.

It’s more of a software toy than a “game” as such, but there’s a lot of fun to be had here — particularly if you enjoy creating interesting patterns through judicious application of mathematics. Find out more in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Vicky

There were two girls called Vicky in my tutor group at secondary school. One was short and angry, and the other was pretty chill most of the time. My best friend at the time “went out” with the chill one. This game isn’t about either of them.

Instead, it’s about a Viking warrior descending into the underworld to do… something or other involving a bunch of objects that have been scattered around a randomly generated maze. Sadly, it’s all in Polish so that’s about all I can tell you about the context of what’s going on — but it has a very nice intro sequence and is a fun exploration-centric game that doesn’t require any knowledge of Eastern European languages beyond said intro!

Enjoy my experiences in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.