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!
I’ve never been especially good at gambling. Largely because I don’t do it a lot.
Experimenting with simulated gambling doesn’t fill me with a ton of confidence, you see, because games like this are an excellent way to see that, inevitably, if you keep going you’ll end up with nothing more often than not.
Here’s Black Jack, a launch title for the Atari 2600, and a game which Video Magazine gave a perfect 10 out of 10 rating in 1979.
Computers make good opponents for classic tabletop games, and have done since the earliest days of the 2600.
They get on with their turns rather than checking their phones or talking about the football (although 2600 board games on the hardest difficulty warn they may take up to 20 minutes to make a decision about their next move, which is almost as bad as my friend Sam deciding whether or not he wants to build the Well in Agricola) and they’re able to provide a reasonable challenge for both beginners and masters in a variety of disciplines.
Today, then, we look at an entry in Atari’s “Mindgames” range for ST: it’s Go-Moku/Renju, two very similar “five in a row” games very loosely based on classic Chinese game Go.
Yahtman is a game that hails from simpler times; a time when a video game about rolling a few dice a few times was enough to keep people occupied for… ooh, a good few minutes, at least.
It was also a time where there were plenty of people making software based around popular board and tabletop games — some licensed adaptations, others… less so.
Yahtman skirts the usual copyright-infringing tendencies of the era by providing us a game of “dice poker” or “yacht”, and absolutely, positively not Yahtzee, you hear me?
I absolutely loved MB and Games Workshop’s HeroQuest as a kid, but I rarely got the opportunity to play it on the tabletop with real people.
Imagine my delight, then, when Gremlin announced that they were developing a computerised adaptation of the board game I’d come to love so much. And imagine my even greater delight when it turned out to be a very good game indeed — although arguably perhaps a little too true to the original board game for a computer version!
This is a game that still holds up pretty well today in both its tabletop and electronic formats. Gather a party of friends — or go it alone — and see how far you can get in the substantial campaign!
Any time you undertake a project like this, you have to accept that some elements of it are just going to be less of a “spectator sport” than others.
Such is the case with today’s Atari ST game, the not-much-to-look-at-but-fun-to-play Shanghai by Activision, an adaptation of Mahjong Solitaire that makes use of the ST’s built-in graphical user interface GEM as the foundation of its aesthetic. This was not at all an unusual approach back in the day, and is akin to more modern PC games running on Windows 95 and beyond making use of a windowed interface and standardised Windows controls. Not the most beautiful look, no, but perfectly functional — and a lot more intuitive to those who perhaps don’t play a lot of games.
Compared to more recent adaptations of Mahjong Solitaire, Shanghai is fairly limited, but it nonetheless remains a pleasingly relaxing, Zen sort of experience. Once you figure out how to read the screen properly, that is…