Tag Archives: Atari 8-Bit

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!

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!

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!

Night Mission Pinball

I’ve always known subLOGIC and Bruce Artwick for their work on bringing Flight Simulator into the world — but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that they produced one of the most impressively accurate (and customisable) pinball sims of the 8-bit era, too.

Night Mission Pinball may seem simple and straightforward on paper, since it only features a single table, but the depth of simulation on offer — plus the commitment to recreating the physicality of pinball on original hardware — is impressive stuff, particularly when you start delving into the highly tweakable “fix” mode.

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

Moon Patrol Redux

One of the fun things about the modern retro community is its willingness to take on common criticisms of past classics and work on those things to make them better.

Such is the case with Moon Patrol Redux, a project which takes the already pretty good version of Irem’s classic Moon Patrol for Atari 8-bit and enhances it with a better player sprite, a colour palette that’s truer to the arcade original and a few other tweaks here and there. The result is the best version of Moon Patrol you can play on the good ol’ Atari!

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

K-Razy Shoot-Out

You like Berzerk? Then you’ll probably like CBS Software’s K-Razy Shoot-Out — though this is more than just a straight clone of the arcade classic.

Instead, it presents you with increasingly challenging shoot-outs against armies of robots — all against the clock. In the tradition of the very best arcade games out there, it’s extremely simple to learn, but tough to master. And very, very addictive!

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

Jumpman Junior

The meaning of “platform game” has changed quite a bit over time; back in the earlier days of home computing, however, it had quite a distinct meaning. And Jumpman Junior from Epyx was pretty much a textbook example.

You have a single screen at a time. There are platforms and, often, ladders — hence the genre also being known as “platforms and ladders”. You have a thing to do — usually “collect all the thingies” or “get to the top”. And there are things trying to stop you — including the very environment you’re clambering all over! All of this is true for Jumpman Junior. And it’s still a highly enjoyable game today!

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

International Karate

The fighting game genre has been around for a very long time — and unlike many other gaming genres, it’s never really fallen completely out of favour.

It has evolved considerably over time, though; today’s fighting games are nearly unrecognisable when compared to the earliest titles in the genre. But the fundamentals are still there; while games like International Karate are all about landing single, clean hits on your opponent rather than whittling their health down, the core principles of the genre still very much apply!

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

Heavy Metal

We’ve seen a fair few type-in listings on this series so far, and some of the best of all time come from the mind of Paul Lay, who is still making Atari games to this day under the name Playsoft.

Heavy Metal is a type-in machine code game that Lay published in Page 6 magazine issue 33. It’s an isometric adventure that draws some inspiration from titles such as Marble Madnessand Spindizzy, but also has its own distinct elements, too. It’s a good time, but looks like it would have been a bit of a mission to type in back in the day!

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

The Great American Cross-Country Road Race

Whew, that’s a title and a half, eh? Good job it’s memorable, because it’s attached to probably one of the best racers on the Atari 8-bit.

The Great American Cross-Country Road Race is, in some ways, a spiritual successor to Enduro on the Atari 2600, but it’s also a considerably more complex game. It was one of the first racers to incorporate some distinctly sim-like elements — and a game that made me cry on more than one occasion when I was a kid because I didn’t understand how cars worked.

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