One of the first games I played on the Atari ST is also one of my all time favourites — it’s Elite’s excellent conversion of Tatsumi’s arcade racing game Buggy Boy, also known as Speed Buggy.
Buggy Boy is interesting in that it’s less about driving at high speed and more about negotiating ridiculous amounts of obstacles as efficiently as possible — and scoring points, of course. It still holds up very well today, and the ST version is one of the best ports.
Porting an arcade game to home computers often wasn’t an immediate process back in the days of the 8- and 16-bit microcomputers. In fact, sometimes it took a good few years!
Such was the case with Paperboy from Atari Games, which first hit arcades in 1985 and didn’t come to Atari ST until a full four years later! Elite put together a rather solid port that played well, but which was regarded as somewhat “outdated” by reviewers of the time.
Most Atari ST owners probably came into contact with the ST version of Tecmo’s Bomb Jack at one point or another.
Developed by the ever-variable Paradox Software, this is actually one of their somewhat stronger efforts compared to some of their other attempts at arcade conversions, and was certainly reasonably fondly regarded back in the day.
I’ve always enjoyed a bit of Bomb Jack, and while there are better versions available out there, this version holds a fair amount of nostalgia for me. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
Something something don’t feed them after midnight, get them wet or whatever.
Yep, Gremlins was a big ol’ thing back in the 8- and 16-bit days, and there were a fair few video game adaptations across different platforms. I think my personal favourite is the Atari 8-bit game, but that’s one of the few remaining games out there that doesn’t seem to play nice with emulation, so I’ve held off making a video on it for now.
Elite’s adaptation of Gremlins 2: The New Batch for Atari ST was… well, it’s not bad, but it is monstrously difficult, so good luck seeing any more than the first few screens, as I discovered while filming this!
In the navy, you can sail the seven seas! You can also blow seven shades of snot out of your friends, siblings and/or parents using nothing more than a pen and paper.
Or perhaps an Atari ST and a copy of Battleships by Elite, an adaptation of the classic tabletop game that aims to up the pace of things a bit by allowing you to fire “salvos” of shots all over the shop in the (usually vain) hope of actually hitting something.
It may look primitive today, but this was an enjoyable fun time in multiplayer back in the day!
Who’s up for the ruination of a perfectly good walk? Well, you’re in luck, because here comes Elite with their ST conversion of Sega’s Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf.
Tournament Golf, as it was rebranded for its home computer release thanks to the ditching of the license for cost-cutting reasons, is an interesting example of a relatively early golf game trying to incorporate some more complex simulation-style elements into the mix.
Unfortunately, said mix also includes incredibly twitchy arcade-style controls that you need the reflexes of a particularly hyperactive kitten to master, making the whole thing rather more challenging than it needs to be! Still, I had fun…
SNK had some top-notch arcade hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and many of them came home in one form or another.
One great example was Ikari Warriors, which saw several different home ports over the years. The one we’re concerned with today is Elite’s Atari ST version, which remains surprisingly true to the arcade original despite lacking SNK’s iconic “loop lever” control scheme.
It’s a solid top-down run-and-gun that still holds its own well today, and back then it demonstrated that the ST was more than capable of providing a convincing “arcade at home” experience!
I never played this game back in the day, but it was one of those titles you saw all over the place in the early days of the ST.
Throughout the ST’s lifespan, it played host to a variety of different bundle packages, many of which were extremely generous in terms of the number of games and applications they included. Beyond the Ice Palace was a regular inclusion in such bundles, and as such became reasonably well-known.
Loosely inspired by action platformers such as Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, Beyond the Ice Palace sees your green-booted, gender-ambiguous hero(ine?) battling their way through hordes of enemies and admiring how the ST’s lack of sound channels meant that a single sound effect could mess up an entire musical composition.
Buggy Boy was one of the first games I played on the Atari ST — and it’s one that still holds up very well today.
The game was originally released in arcades in 1985 by Tatsumi, and is known is some territories as Speed Buggy. Home ports were released over the course of the following few years by prolific developer-publisher Elite, with the 16-bit home computer versions hitting ST and Amiga in 1988.
It’s a single-player checkpoints-and-timer racing game with an emphasis on relatively low-speed, technical driving, which immediately makes it stand out against the many high-speed racers based on the Pole Position mould from the era.