Tag Archives: atari

Crack’ed

Errant apostrophes aren’t just for fantasy RPGs any more; sometimes they show up in the most unexpected of places… and inconsistently, to boot.

No, I have no idea what the apostrophe is doing in Crack’ed’s title, or indeed why it isn’t present on the actual spine of the box it comes in, but… well, there you go.

The game itself is classic Atari arcade funtimes — simple but addictive gameplay, some good use of the ST’s graphical capabilities and mouse control… and hairy poo monsters!

Air-Sea Battle

An all-time classic of the Atari 2600’s library is launch title Air-Sea Battle, a simplistic but enjoyable fixed shooter with a variety of different ways to play.

Air-Sea Battle is an excellent example of what you could expect from early 2600 titles that promised “27 video games” or similar. Those “27” video games would be a lot of variations on the same theme — but there’d sometimes be some surprising and enjoyable differences between them!

Air-Sea Battle shines as a two-player game, even today, but it’s still an enjoyable high score-chaser solo. Which is your favourite of the 27 variations?

X:8

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.

Super Bug

While a bit different from what we know today as the “arcade racer”, Atari’s early attempts in this regard were all rather enjoyable.

Of the three included in the Atari Flashback Classics collection, Super Bug was the earliest and, consequently, the simplest. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time, however — if anything it makes it a great place to start!

Drive until you can’t drive any more: that’s all you need to do. But as we’ve seen countless times on this series already, sometimes it’s the simplest concepts that make for the most addictive games…

Super Breakout

At this point, most people know that Super Breakout is a bona fide classic of the early days of gaming. But no-one really talks about how monstrously difficult its original arcade incarnation is.

Well, I’m here to change all that today! Super Breakout for the arcade is really, really hard, primarily because the paddle you control is such a stingy, pathetic little size that it’s very difficult to actually return the ball once… let alone enough times to clear the damn screen.

Doesn’t stop me coming back for more, though… particularly with three different game modes to take on in the vain hope I might be good at one of them!

Space Duel

How do you make Asteroids better in a more substantial way than just adding “Deluxe” to the name and making it look a bit nicer? Start by chaining two ships together and work from there.

Atari’s Space Duel was designed as another successor to Asteroids after the aforementioned Asteroids Deluxe regrettably failed to replicate the success and popularity of its influential predecessor. Featuring several ways to play — including both cooperative and competitive two-player modes — it’s a more obvious step forward than Deluxe was.

Don’t let the name fool you as it did me for many years, however; this game can very much be enjoyed single-player, and in one of its modes in particular provides an absolutely unique shooter experience that is well worth giving a go for yourself.

Skydiver

It’s time for another simple but addictive game from the early days of Atari today: this time around it’s the turn of Skydiver.

Skydiver is slightly more complex than Canyon Bomber, which we saw a few episodes back, but it’s still simple enough that anyone can pick it up with minimal explanation. Mastering it is, of course, another matter entirely, but it was ever thus in these early arcade games!

Skydiver is also one of the noisiest games Atari ever created. Be sure to turn your volume down a bit if you’re playing this one yourself!

Red Baron

Chocks away, tally-ho and all that! It’s time for Red Baron!

A contemporary of the rather more well-known and successful BattlezoneRed Baron sees players taking to the skies in a World War I biplane and challenging an endless variety of enemy pilots, blimps and ground targets to aerial combat.

This is an underappreciated gem from Atari’s back catalogue, so while it may not have been a bit success back in the day, it’s well worth playing today!

Quadromania XL

It’s another “mystery game” today!

Quadromania XL appears to have originated as a type-in listing for a German Atari magazine, but beyond that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there online aside from the name of its creator — one T Meyer — and the person in charge of Loesungsalgorithmus (“solution algorithm”, apparently), A Blohm.

It’s a simple but enjoyable puzzler based on a straightforward concept: pick a block to swap the colour of, and all the blocks surrounding it will also swap colours. Repeat until the whole screen is one colour or you run out of moves. Easy, right?

Monte Carlo

Say the words “racing game” to someone these days and they’ll typically think of a game with at least a passing impression of a 3D perspective.

Prior to titles like Namco’s Pole Position and Sega’s Out Run popularising this viewpoint, however, Atari was happily churning out top-down racers that were a lot of fun to play, beginning with Super Bug before moving on to the unusual cooperative two-player title Fire Truck — which we’ve previously seen on this series — and finally, the full-colour, multi-track Monte Carlo, which saw players racing against actual opponents as well as the course itself.

Like Atari’s other early racers, it’s a game that’s actually still a lot of fun to play today once you get used to how the control scheme maps to modern controllers — and, for me, one of the many highlights in the Atari Flashback Classics collection.