Whenever someone mentions the Atari ST to you, doubtless the first thing you think of is the delicious, relatively low-calorie cheesy potato snack known as Quavers.
What do you mean, no? Well, that might all change after today’s game, in which the erstwhile mascot of this longstanding British junk food favourite is tasked with clearing a series of puzzle-tastic levels while attempting not to fall into the abyss inside his computer. It makes about as much sense as it sounds, but it’s a surprisingly fun time — and the product placement isn’t as obnoxious as you might expect.
Check out the game in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Remember the movie Hudson Hawk? Probably not. It was a Bruce Willis passion project that the people who actually watched found rather enjoyable, but it ultimately ended up forgotten by most.
Like many movies in the ’80s and ’90s, Hudson Hawk got a video game adaptation by Ocean. The remarkable thing this time around is that said video game adaptation didn’t suck; it was actually a rather good platformer that combined dexterity challenges, puzzling and light combat. It also didn’t feel the need to be super-true to the movie, which probably helped it in the long run.
Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Unga bunga! Today we look at Core Design’s mascot from before they hit paydirt with Lara Croft and… well, let’s just say thank heavens for Ms. Croft, huh.
Chuck Rock is a platform game originally released for Atari ST and Amiga, which subsequently found itself ported to a wide variety of other computer and console systems. Growing up, I had the most experience with the Super NES version, so it was interesting to return to the Atari ST original and see how Atari’s 16-bit machine got on with things.
Aside from the commonly seen poor use of the ST’s sound chip, this isn’t a bad version of the game, all things considered. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
Not every game can be a classic. But sometimes notorious stinkers can be worth looking at, too.
A good example of this is Leggit by Imagine, originally released on ZX Spectrum as Jumping Jack then ported to Atari with a new name. While not a particularly good game in its own right, it did inspire a number of clones, suggesting it had some influence back in the day — and its basic formula can be rather indirectly traced forward towards some more modern releases that do things a bit better.
It’s also interesting to look at this game in terms of what not to do from a game design perspective… or, if nothing else, to ensure that my suffering through this nonsense wasn’t in vain!
Today it’s time for one of my favourite early Activision titles, and a great game from designer Garry Kitchen. Kitchen, if you’re unfamiliar, was responsible for the Atari 2600 version of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, and also the wonderful Pressure Cooker, the spiritual precursor to popular indie title Overcooked.
Keystone Kapers kasts you in the role of Keystone Kelly, a kopper who is keen to katch his kriminal nemesis, Hooligan Harry. Harry, it seems, likes hanging out in department stores, and thus begins an increasingly ridiculous series of chase scenes up to the rooftop of the store, with Kelly being forced to dodge all manner of mundane yet perilous obstacles that put his mission at risk.
Loosely inspired by the old Keystone Kops movies, Keystone Kapers is simple to learn but tough to master — and a near-perfect example of what early ’80s Activision was all about.
A well-known name in the 16-bit home computer era here in Europe was Ocean Software.
Ocean had many strings to their bow, but one of their most reliable sources of income was movie tie-in games, many of which drew criticism for being somewhat derivative and unimaginative platform games, but which sold well regardless. A good example of a game where they tried something a little bit different from the usual formula was Batman: The Movie.
That said, the opening stage is a platform game, and is so monstrously difficult I’d be surprised if everyone saw the other things the game had to offer without making use of the cheat mode… I know I certainly didn’t!
The “masocore” platformer, in which you learn by dying repeatedly in seemingly unfair circumstances, has become particularly popular in the age of Let’s Plays and streaming.
The reason for this is that, although playing the damn things tends to be rather frustrating, they’re quite entertaining to watch. And their reliance on puzzle-solving and memorisation make them quite a distinct experience from more conventional platform games and action adventures.
Here’s the Atari ST version of Rick Dangerous, developed by Core Design (of Tomb Raider fame) and published by Telecomsoft imprint Firebird in 1989. Oh, boy, it’s irritating… and yet I found myself trying again and again and again… Waaaaaaaa!!
Dem bells, dem bells, dem… blue bells… wait, I think I’m confusing at least two unrelated things there, aren’t I?
Ahem. Anyway. This is Quasimodo by Synapse Software, brought West by U.S. Gold’s early imprint Synsoft. It’s an unusual platform-action game that involves flinging rocks at Bad People climbing ladders, swinging from bell-ropes, swearing at bats and collecting crystals.
And despite its hunchbacked hero, it most certainly is not a clone of the arcade game Hunchback. Give poor old Quasi the respect he deserves!
Pharaoh’s Curse is legitimately one of my favourite games on the Atari 8-bit, and one I frequently revisit to unironically enjoy every so often.
Developed by Steve Coleman, who we last saw at the helm of Mastertronic’s Ninja, Pharaoh’s Curse is an early example of an open-world 2D action adventure, allowing players to explore 16 screens arranged in a 4×4 grid in an attempt to recover all the awkwardly positioned treasures before escaping.
16 rooms doesn’t sound like much, does it? Well, you clearly haven’t counted on the intervention of the mummy. And the pharaoh. And all the traps. And that stupid bastard absolute penis of a flying thing that always shows up at the worst possible moment. Not that I’m bitter at all, no no no.
Sometimes you feel nostalgia for something not because it was “good”, but because you associate it with happy times.
One such example of this from among the library of Atari ST games I’ve played over the years is Eidersoft’s public domain title Haunted House, a pretty terrible platform game that is essentially a take on the Jet Set Willy formula. Explore, collect things, try not to die.
Atrocious collision detection, the worst run cycle you’ll ever see and the fact it might not even be possible to actually finish the damn thing doesn’t stop me thinking quite fondly of it, however, because I will forever associate it with pleasant memories of childhood. Ahh, simpler times…