Tag Archives: Atari XL

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!

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

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!

Rainbow Walker

Today we pay another visit to a beloved publisher of the Atari 8-bit days: Synapse Software — and one of the company’s most well-regarded games.

Rainbow Walker isn’t an especially original premise — it’s a Q*Bert-style game in which you have to hop on all the squares to change them to the correct colour — but the remarkable thing here is the incredibly slick presentation, featuring a gorgeous 3D effect, smooth movement and some fancy special effects. It’s not hard to see why the game is regarded as one of the finest in the Atari 8-bit’s library.

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

Pole Position

You don’t just play Pole Position — you FEEL it!

Thus ran the back-of-box blurb for the official Atari 8-bit conversion of Namco’s classic “vanishing point” racer — one of the most important, influential video games of all time. Said conversion was extremely solid, and a big hit for my whole family back in the day.

See how I get on with the world’s most explosive Formula 1 cars in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Nibbler

Dot-eating maze games were a staple of both early ’80s arcades and home computers from the same era, as we’ve seen a fair few times on this series already.

Nibbler, originally released into arcades by Rock-Ola, became somewhat notorious for being the first game to allow players to score more than a billion points. There’s even a documentary about various attempts to pursue this milestone over the years.

The Atari 8-bit version was actually a pretty solid conversion of the arcade game. I have no idea if you can score over a billion points in it because I’m not that good… but at least we can have a look at the basics!

Knicker Bockers

You probably have no idea what to expect from a game with a title like “Knicker Bockers”. I didn’t really know either.

What we actually get is a surprisingly fun, if challenging, maze game that combines elements of Lock ‘n’ Chase, Pengo and a teeny tiny bit of Drelbs. It’s a good time!

Well, okay, the narrative setup for the game — which features a guy named Knick playing in a door factory while being pursued by the local toughs — perhaps needs some work… but it was the 8-bit era and no-one cared about narrative if the game was enjoyable!

Deathchase XE

A popular thing for modern programmers of retro systems to do is to make new ports of games that previously remained confined to a specific platform.

Such is the case with Deathchase XE, a 2013 entry in the famous ABBUC software contest, which pits modern programmers of Atari systems against one another to produce the most impressive piece of software — be it “useful” or a game.

Deathchase XE reimagines ZX Spectrum classic Deathchase for the Atari, and does a pretty good job of it — even if the competition deadline meant that the creator wasn’t quite able to implement everything he wanted!

Curse of Ra

Our adventures in the Temple of Apshai Trilogy are finally coming to an end as we delve into the third part: Curse of Ra.

This particular module is designed for adventurers who have spent a bit of time gaining experience and gathering equipment in The Temple of Apshai and The Upper Reaches of Apshai, and as such is pretty tough.

It does, however, present some of the most interesting, well-crafted dungeon designs in the whole series, though, so it’s worth exploring if you think your character is up to the challenge!

Blue Max

Before we had “3D” we had the illusion of 3D, typically created through the use of an isometric or oblique perspective.

Various types of game experimented with this “diagonal” format to varying degrees of success, but Blue Max for Atari 8-bit is widely regarded as one of the best, successfully transplanting the shoot ’em up formula into a whole new dimension. Kind of.

Regardless of your feelings on the “realism” of the presentation, Blue Max remains a solid, challenging game — and believed by many to be one of the best games the dear old Atari had to offer. So let’s play!