Sunday, June 17, 2018

20 Games That Defined Atari 8-Bit Gaming

This is a reply to the following YouTube(TM)(R)(C) video... for some reason, I can't bring myself to leave this comment on the YouTube(TM)(R)(C) page proper itself.  Thankfully, they go in chronological order... or maybe not thankfully.  It is kind of hard to rank these things in terms of the degree to which they defined Atari 8-bit gaming... but I'll certainly give it a shot!

1979 Star Raiders (Atari)

Certainly didn't hurt.  A nice title from Atari itself for $34.95, made people imagine the possibilities of trying to emulate Star Wars with just 16K.

1981 Caverns of Mars (Atari)

I believe this one is featured briefly in the 1985 movie D.A.R.Y.L.  It's the game of robotic kid geniuses!  Not bad, but I think I'm more of a Phobos man, personally.

1981 Eastern Front (1941) (Atari)

Meh.  But it certainly didn't hurt to help define Chris Crawford as an Atari(TM)(R)(C) genius.  Probably his most memorable title, second only to "Gossip."

1982 Aztec Challenge (Cosmi)

Seems like these lists always have a ringer or two that slip the guy or gal compiling the list a little something.  You know, like the old payola radio days.  "Perhaps Mr. Benjamin will convince you to add this to the list" type of deal.  It's like how Entertainment Weekly compiles its annual list of Greatest Movie Farts.  They start off by giving the #2 slot to Adam Sandler's latest.  I will say that, while Aztec Challenge is certainly not the WORST title that Cosmi had to offer... Crypts of Plumbous gets that distinction... I can see how it led to the inspiration for titles like Super Mario Bros.

1982 Miner 2049er (Big Five Software)

Classic.  Used to have it in cartridge form!

1982 Shamus (Synapse)

Classic.  Used to have it in cartridge form!

1983 Dandy (Atari)

Classic.  Led to the creation of Gauntlet and Gauntlet 2 in the arcades, if memory serves.

1983 Blue Max (Synapse)

A fun one.  Alas, it doesn't quite work the same in emulation form for some reason.  It led to a sequel, which clearly didn't make this list.

1983 Jumpman (Epyx)

Classic... even though it's more of a Commodore 64 title.  Boo, hiss!

1983 Alley Cat (Synapse)

Never played it.  Maybe part of it was just the general love for Synapse Software, maybe the rarity of having a cat as the avatar.

1983 M.U.L.E. (Ozark Softscape)

Never played it.  Didn't Electronic Arts buy this one?

1983 Archon: The Light and Dark (Free Fall Associates)

Classic.  I kicked the ass of my high school buddy in this one... Archon 2, not so much.  Man, that guy was good.

1984 Bounty Bob Strikes Back! (Big Five Software)

...meh.  Not as good as Miner 2049er.

1984 Bruce Lee (Datasoft)

Classic.  Probably Datasoft's best title... well, second only to "The Goonies."  In Goonies and Zorro, they don't use Player Missiles.  Bruce Lee used a TON of 'em.

1984 Ballblazer (Lucasfilm)

Classic, but I remember it better as "Ballblaster" by a different company... Careful when you cite these names in mixed company.

1984 Rescue of Fractalus! (Lucasfilm)

Fun one, even though the 3D takes forever.  It just did in Atari, for those who remember.

1984 Koronis Rift (Lucasfilm)

Never played it.

1985 The Eidolon (Lucasfilm)

Played it, never did finish it.  Borrowed it from the same friend from earlier, if memory serves!

1986 International Karate (System 3)

Never played it.  It's all about that Australian background, though.  I remember that screen shot from Antic! magazine, maybe Compute!  What is it with these computing magazines and the exclamation point?

1986 Star Raiders II (Atari)

Classic.  WAY more fun than Star Raiders 1.  But maybe that's just me.  Sure, those big spaceships get a little annoying after a while, I'll give you that.

Okay, here's my question.  What about the glaring absences from the list?  What about BOULDER DASH?  What about Lode Runner?  Arguably, Lode Runner transcended the Atari platform, probably.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Something on Facebook

Like that song says, players only love you when they're playing.  But maybe it's time to take a break and web log a bit!  These ads keep catching the corner of my eye, so I thought I'd finally do a screen grab.  You know, I think the Victoria's Secret catalog does the same thing.  They take one picture of a certain type of lingerie, then change the color of it digitally.  Which I'm afraid does a bit of a disservice to... someone.  Not sure who.  Probably the workers who actually make the stuff.  Okay, back to work.  Ah, the Russian click farms.  Where would I be without them?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Branephart (TM) for October, or Today We Say Goodbye to A Living Legend...

So many games on Facebook to play, so little time, so little space left on my PC hard drive.  Now, as you can tell from the orange arrow, two did caught... catch my eye(s).  First of all, there's Horny Fish, obviously, in between Travel Quest and 777: The Devil's Slot Machine Brother.  But what's that other one?  You know, with the demented looking man-frog hybrid?  An angry frog with Redneck teeth?  What could that be called?  Angry Frog?  Frog's Revenge?  Fiery Frogs from France, in which you take revenge on humans by preparing humans' legs for your new alien overlords to eat in their new Satanic restaurant?  No, nothing so fanciful, of course.  No, that one's called... wait for it... Everwing.  Lots of games with names like that on the ever-widening, yet less diverse, gamescape.  Neverfall, Foreverdream, Skywater, Aftercastle, Beforemaze... they practically write themselves at this point!  What about the Pink Bunkadoo?  Where's the whimsy, the lack of sexiness?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Championship Lode Runner

Well, when you have an institution like Lode Runner, a blogger's probably gotta blog about it at some point, particularly a video game blogger.  I mean, say what you will, but there's videos on YouTube of people playing the game on Nintendo, for Gawd'z zake!  ...oh, fine, I'll post a link to it.  JUST ONE.
As for me, well... as you can see from the attached pic, I only got to level 43, because I'm using the version for the Atari emulator, and there seems to be a glitch with level 43.  A little bit disappointing, as my fellow gamers can attest to.  Even more disappointing is the Atari emulator version of regular Lode Runner because there's all kind of lines and junk.  Sure, I could try and go ahead and play anyway, lines and all, but meh.  If I get really desperate here, I'll post about individual levels, as I sort of did with Sudoku... I mean, Sokoban.

Monday, May 22, 2017


...yay for me, I know.  But isn't that what blogging is all about?  The little victories?  Now what will I have to nag at me all these livelong days?
Of course, I cheated.  I started thumbing through the pages of Atarimania, looking under the category of "Arcade-Miscellaneous."  Never in a million years expecting to find it there.  I mean, after all, it's a side scroller, right?  It's a bit like Defender, n'est ce pas?  Except that you can only go right, and there are no people to save.  Okay, well, it's a bit like Air Strike, is it not?  Forgive me... Airstrike, but without the ability to shoot.  And to a lesser extent, the second level of Lunar Leeper.  Love that game., seriously.  No ability to shoot.  Even Vorrak / Zardon lets you shoot to a limited extent!
Okay, enough comparisons.  You get to the final part of the level... make sure to get enough fuel.  You'll figure it out... and THEN you finally get to shoot!  However, it's at this point that the game feels a bit unfinished.  Maybe that's the programmer's thing, I don't know.  The gimmick they're known for, if only in the database world.  I mean, hey, if they paid $39.95 back in the day for this one, why not the next, right?  And the next after that?  I tried to get to what seems like the game's conclusion, and poof.  Error message.  Error message in Atari emulator.  Always depressing when an emulation breaks down.  Or never starts, like Floyd of the Jungle!  I gotta play different games.  Bristles, too.  Bristles really REALLY doesn't work in emulation form.  Especially when you turn right.  Or maybe left.  If there's a way to play Bristles and not have to back out of a corner... AND THERE ISN'T... okay, on to next game.  Also, the reward structure of "Dark Star" is a little weird.  I mean, why should a person get points just for moving?  What is that?  That's just inflation!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Under Attack! Under Attack! My Facebook Account is Under Attack!

Whelp, it finally happened.  For those of you who've read this blog regularly... I've got one follower over here... RUSSIA!  Nope.  Didn't work.  They don't care for my take on video games, apparently.  Anyway, I consider myself something of a computer expert, even though my dad apparently would disagree with that.  Apparently I'm just a user of a computer.  But I do have Norton Anti-Virus, so I normally feel terribly safe as I go out there on the wild waves of the internet.  And I only recently learned that Zynga poker chips, while seemingly worthless at first glance, people can and do buy them with their credit cards.  And hackers are apparently almost as interested in stealing these Zynga poker chips as other Zynga poker players are.  Most players try to win them in fair contests, I'll give them that, but others use pics of bikini-clad girls to lure their victims.
...ooh!  Some use the chat window to sell their wares.  You go to a website like "" and find a simple two-field web page.  Guess what you have to enter?  That's RIGHT!  Your email and password!  Found that out the hard way.  Yes, I was just that naive.  Of course, the arms race is always on, and the hackers find new ways to do things.  They seem to have violated the sanctity of my Yahoo! Mail accounts, for example.  If I leave a Yahoo! Mail window open too long, I'll get back to it and find that I'm being prompted to save a new .js file.  That's JavaScript, for those of you who don't know.  Something ELSE I vowed to study once.  Another reason why I'll never get anywhere in life, either this or the next.  Of course, the .js file is always from some weird-ass webpage.  I forget the specific web address, but it always looks like someone just randomly clacked away on the keyboard and then eventually turned it into a bonafide web site.  Something like "a;oguihnxf;"  Well, the latest and greatest trick was a window that pops up while you're playing Zynga poker, and it says something about wanting you to call a 1-800 number, something like 1-855-255-****... I should of have written it down.  They seemed like they knew a lot more about me and the internet provider I have than the average hacker.  Oh well.  I should point out that my dad is actually the primary user of the poker account, but now that we've gone from about a billion and a half poker chips to EXACTLY 1 million, well... all bets are off.  He swears that he will never, ever, EVER play that Zynga poker EVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN.  Never, not once, not ever, never, ever again and that's final... unless I can get it working again?  No?  Sounds about right.  Two college degrees and he can't even get the computer to work.  Well, he will therefore NEVER EVER EVER EVER again play that Zanga poker... working yet?  No?  Figures.  OTHER dads are proud of their hacker sons!  Why can't mine have similar pride?  At all?
Anyway, I probably can't get into the specifics of how one goes about getting their Zynga account back........................ But more importantly, stay safe.  Watch out for those hackers.  They can only prosecute so many of them, you know.