Video games don’t always have to be about blasting aliens and/or terrorists.
The idea of games that are based around fairly mundane activities and professions is something that is associated with the creativity of today’s indie scene, but developers were experimenting with this idea back in the early ’80s too.
And so it was that we got David Bunch’s Electrician from Synapse Software — a surprisingly enjoyable game about rewiring a bunch of houses.
After the success of Diamonds, programmer Simon Hunt decided that he wanted to make a sequel using the characters he’d established.
Inspired by the vertical scrolling of Firefleet, another game from English Software, he decided he wanted to expand beyond the original game’s single-screen gameplay, and thus Dan Strikes Back was born.
Digger Dan’s most precious of treasures has been stolen away by the evil Brian the Blob! Can Dan make his way through the many perilous layers of Brian’s vault to reclaim his prize? Probably not, given that I’m in charge, but it’s fun having a go anyway…
The ABBUC Software Competition is an annual contest that, since 2003, has been challenging modern Atari enthusiasts to show what they’re capable of with their favourite home micros.
We’ve already seen one previous example of a competition winner in the form of X:8; today we take a look at the title which took second place in 2012. I present to you: Callisto.
Callisto is a very solid, very challenging shoot ’em up that really shows off the Atari 8-bit at its best. It just wasn’t quite enough to win the contest that year. 2012 was a very good year, it seems!
One of the best things about the 8-bit age was the prolific public domain scene, with many high-quality pieces of software being published in listing format in magazines.
One US publication that was particularly prolific in this regard was ANALOG (Atari Newsletter And Lots Of Games), which regularly published commercial-quality machine code programs for readers to type in, save to disk or cassette and enjoy at their leisure.
Today’s game hails from those hallowed pages. I give you Bacterion! The Plague of 2369. Nice.
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.
Yahtman is a game that hails from simpler times; a time when a video game about rolling a few dice a few times was enough to keep people occupied for… ooh, a good few minutes, at least.
It was also a time where there were plenty of people making software based around popular board and tabletop games — some licensed adaptations, others… less so.
Yahtman skirts the usual copyright-infringing tendencies of the era by providing us a game of “dice poker” or “yacht”, and absolutely, positively not Yahtzee, you hear me?
It’s really cool that enthusiasts are still developing new games for old platforms such as the Atari 8-bit.
Today’s game is one such example; it won a competition hosted by German user group ABBUC back in 2013, and is quite well-regarded as a result.
While its blasting action does get a little repetitive after a while, there’s little denying that X:8 is a technically impressive release that pushes the humble Atari 8-bit hard to pull off some smooth, slick arcade action.