Posts Tagged ‘Atari’

Atari 2600

November 4, 2016

Playing the Atari 2600 – be gentle… its my first time…


So, this is an Atari 2600. I’m liking the wood veneer look and large number of switches at the top which I have no idea what they do, even though they’re labelled. Luckily for me it’s already set up and ready to play (over at Game Over) so no need to spend hours working out how to use it.

As this was my first time playing on one I thought I’d pick a small selection of games to play out of the huge selection available, most of the games I picked were ones I recognised, easing myself in gently. Below are a few thoughts on the games I played:

Asteroids (1981)


Asteroids is an awesome game, I spent the most time on this one. It was an epic battle of triangle versus misshapen balls. In which you’re the triangle (ship) firing dots at the misshapen balls (asteroids) to destroy them a piece at a time in order to score as many points as possible. There’s also the occasional flying saucer to take out as well if you’re fast enough.

Loved the colours and sound effects in this, that lovely “pew pew” sound always reminds me of these types of games. The game play kept me interested and the challenge level felt just right and there was that definite urge to carry on and beat my previous score. On that note I didn’t achieve any significant high scores but it’s definitely a new favourite for me and would go back to it any time on this system.

Joust (1983)


Joust is about jousting, on ostriches, collecting eggs from other ostriches who are also jousting… what could be better (or make more sense)! Whoever thought this one up must have been on another planet at the time, but I’m glad they were because it’s loads of fun. Running and flying about the screen you need to attack your enemy from above (seemed to be the safest way) and then collect the egg that appears once you’ve destroyed them.

The game play is superb but I found it a lot more challenging than Asteroids, each level varies in difficulty with the number of platforms and enemies blocking your way, the more there are the harder it is to manoeuvre into a good position. It took awhile to get used to the way your character moved (almost like they’re slipping on ice) and lining them up just right to take out the enemies.

Centipede (1982)


Centipede was the first game I played, loved it, possibly my favourite so far out of the selection I chose to play. The player is at the bottom of the screen firing up into a field of dashes, as the centipede works his way down the screen towards you, kind of like Space Invaders, but faster, and with just a single enemy heading towards you at mental speeds back and forth across the screen.

It had just the right amount of challenge mixed in with great game play and sound. It took me ages to realise you didn’t just have to sit on the bottom of the screen and that you could move up slightly too, saved me a lot of trouble and lives later on. Other enemies also attack you on the bottom of the screen, just to make it that little bit harder, they reminded me of Tektites from The Legend of Zelda.

ET (1982)


ET… I played this out of pure curiosity as I had watched a documentary about it called Atari: Game Over (2014), it was pretty interesting, and after hearing so much about the game and how bad it is I thought I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a quick go.

Now considering this was now the 4th game I’d ever played on the Atari 2600, I might have not realised how this type of game works, but the moving from screen to screen seemed pretty random, as was being chased by something that looked like an old-fashioned type explorer. I was constantly ‘falling down’ off the bottom of the screen into a pit? I seemed to end up in this pit more often than not.

It took me ages to figure out how to get out of the pit, only to fall back in again pretty much straight after. I was so pleased when I reached the blue screen/white house(?) area pictured above, it was so nice I stayed awhile, just hanging out, afraid to move really. Anyway, after a good 25 minutes wandering around I finally did something of note after falling into the pit again, I made a flower grow by extending my neck. It wasn’t a great experience, but it’s really the only thing I’m going to take away from this.


A few other games I played; Laser Blast (1981), not a bad little shooter, even though I was pretty terrible at it, I couldn’t get the hang of firing at angles. Frogger (1982), a classic in its own right but I was actually a little disappointed with this version, it kinda felt sluggish, and given its relative simplicity as a premise the controls didn’t seem to work very well for me. Donkey Kong (1982), great game, you could say it’s a ‘a barrel of laughs’, now, if only I could beat level one.

I very much enjoyed my first experience of playing on the Atari 2600, looking forward to going back and trying out some more games. Let me know what your favourites are in the comments below!

All the best,




Eurogamer Expo 2011: Replay

September 30, 2011

Eurogamer Expo 2011

Replay – Retro Awesomness

My visit to the Eurogamer Expo gave me an opportunity to play some of the most anticipated games releases before they even hit the shops, however, the area I was most excited about seeing was from the guys at Replay. It was a fantastic opportunity to experience and play on consoles, handhelds and arcade machines from back in the day, some of which I hadn’t even played before (I kinda blinked and missed the Dreamcast when it came out).

As well as offering a huge range of consoles and games to try, highlights of which are below, the area was set up into different gaming zones. Replay Ages allowed people to play on different games and consoles, with retro machines from (amongst many others) Commodore, Atari, Nintendo, Sega and Sony. The Replay Arcade area offered a range of cabinet retro arcade machines to play on, from Bespoke Arcades. Replay Mini had a selection of handhelds. And amongst all this several areas were dedicated to tournament and multiplayer gaming. 

Below is a few of the highlights and pictures of my visit to the Replay area, a fantastic look back in time and an awesome look at what will be on offer at the Replay Expo in Blackpool. Kudos to the Replay guys for making this a memorable and nostalgic visit to the Eurogamer Expo.

It’s lucky Eurogamer was spread over 4 days, as I spent quite a few hours moving from game to game in the Replay Ages section. My favourites included the Amiga 1200 playing IK+ and the Amiga 600 playing Chaos Engine and Sensible World of Soccer. It was also great to play on the Sega Master System as I’ve not used one in years and brought back some great memories of playing Alex Kidd and Sonic the Hedgehog, the game available to play this time was Bubble Bobble.

Managed to get some time playing on a few old favourites on the Sega Mega Drive and SNES in the form of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat, as well as Street Fighter II and Mario All Stars. Couldn’t resist having a go on Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64 in the multiplayer area on the Nintendo 64, as well as on Micro Machines which was set up on the Mega Drive. The Replay Mini Zone included examples of a range of handheld consoles, including the original Gameboy, Gameboy Colour, Gameboy Advance and the Lynx.

Hopefully you’ll be able to see something in the pictures, I won’t blame the camera. Please check out the Replay Expo and Replay Events websites, and hopefully, some of you will be going to the Expo itself, here’s a quick blurb to let you know what it’s all about!

“Replay Expo is the unique video gaming event that prides itself in celebrating both the classics as well as the very latest titles. Following the success of last year’s debut show, Replay Expo will return to the Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre in Blackpool on the 5/6 November 2011; the final weekend of the famous Illuminations”


Replay Expo

Replay Events

Bespoke Arcades


Replay Expo on Facebook




Bad Influence!

August 26, 2011

Bad Influence

 Year: 1992 – 1996

Genre: Video Game Show shown on CITV

Presenters: Violet Berlin, Andy Crane, Nam Rood, Z Wright, Studio Audience

I loved watching Bad Influence! Back in the day it was an awesome video games show which covered all the latest (back then) games consoles, games and technology, from the SNES to the N64 and even covered my favourite the Amiga, as well as the occasional PC release.

The show was presented by Violet Berlin, a video games guru, and presenter Andy Crane in a studio which was set up with consoles and various other gadgets which the studio audience could be seen playing on. The show featured games reviews (often done by members of the studio audience) in which they gave a ‘boys and girls score’ out of 5.

The show also covered the latest hardware news with reports from Z Wright in the US, who was replaced by ‘Virtual Violet’ in the final series. The show often covered in-depth looks at gaming issues and new computer technology. I always remember the launch of the Nintendo 64 (then called the Ultra 64) which is shown in the last series, as well as the virtual reality machines and robots in the US, and a special on Industrial Light and Magic. Being an Amiga fan most of my favourite episodes featured anything Amiga related, Bad Influence! Series 2 Episode 4 features the Amiga, and games such as Rise of the Robots (Meh!) Desert Strike, Robocod and the Amiga CD 32.

Another presenter was Nam Rood, an expert in games cheats who had his own special section of the show. He would present a cheat for a game (not always related to the show) in random and sometimes comical ways, usually whilst insulting the audience. I’m still not sure what a ‘furtler’ is to this day. Either way Nam Rood’s appearance was a nice break from the masses of information presented in the main show.

It was definitely one of my favourite shows, and I think Violet Berlin needs to be back on the TV at some point, she was pretty awesome. The show usually ended with a competition, and a ‘datablast’ of information that you were encouraged to record and play back to be able to read it. The datablast were pages of text displayed at speed during the end credits with all of the reviews, news, features and cheats of that weeks show.

For more information, and also the best source of information on Bad Influence! please check out this awesome Bad Influence website, where you can also watch the show! The shows themselves are taken from VHS recordings so the sound and picture on some of them isn’t so good, but it’s still great to see this show again and the effort that has gone into putting these online for us all to enjoy. The website includes information on the show, the presenters, the shows themselves spanning 4 series, and interviews with Andy Crane and Violet Berlin, the site also contains links to other related sites!

There’s also a Bad Influence YouTube channel here!

Below is Series 1, Episode 1 to get you started, which also includes the opening introduction 🙂

Arcade Classic Reviews: Arkanoid

December 6, 2009


Developer: Taito (1986)

Discover Software International (Amiga 1987)

Genre: Break out game for 1/2 Players


This week I decided to take a closer look at one of my favourite arcade games Arkanoid. Although I’ve noticed something of a recurring theme with this whole writing gig, the more I research into something, the more I write, and the more I write the more interested I become in the subject. This post really did start off as a few hours playing Arkanoid and Revenge of Do’h. However I began to learn new things about the games origins, ports and developers throughout its long history, and of its many incarnations, which, luckily for you, I don’t drivel on about here.

Arkanoid was originally developed by Akira Fujita and copyrighted by Taito Corporation, a Japanese developer of video game software and arcade hardware. It was established by a businessman named Michael Kogan in 1953. Taito imports Japanese and American coin-op video games all around the world. In 2005 Taito was acquired by Square Enix but still trades under the Taito name. Taito Corporation currently has divisions in Seoul, South Korea and Milan, Italy, and a subsidiary in Beijing, China. In the past, the company had operated divisions in North America and Brazil.

Taito are famous for coin-op classics such as; Space Invaders and Moon Lander, and some great games I’ve also played on other systems such as Bubble Bobble, Chase HQ, and New Zealand Story. For more info visit Taito’s Website or here for more  Taito history!

The conversion of Arkanoid played for this blog was developed by Discovery Software. Arkanoid was originally copyrighted in 1986 by Taito and released on the Amiga the following year by Discovery Software. Having played both these great games I think it would be unfair to try and squeeze them both into one blog. The second Arkanoid game, Revenge of Doh, was copyrighted in 1987 by Taito and released by Imagine (Peter Johnson) in 1988 on the Amiga. I’ll be looking at this one another time!  


Arkanoid is quite simply a fantastic and ever so addictive game, and a good reason why its many incarnations survive to this day. The game itself doesn’t really need a story behind it, but Arkanoid does, and it even makes sense… sort of.

“The time and Era of this story is unknown. After the mother ship “Arkanoid” was destroyed, a spacecraft “Vaus” scrambled away from it. But only to be trapped in space warped by someone…”

The “someone” is the games villain Doh, and playing across 33 levels you finally reach this final confrontation with the guy who destroyed your ship in the first place.

Game play involves a number of coloured bricks spaced out across the playing area, the player must then bounce a ball into the bricks destroying them, once all the bricks are destroyed you move onto the next level. You control the platform at the bottom of the screen and the controls are as simple as moving the mouse from side to side. You must catch the ball with the platform and it will automatically bounce back into play, unless the power up ‘catch’ is activated, where by pressing fire will release the ball back into play. The power up capsules make the game play more varied and interesting, the power ups include:

S = Slow – Slows down ball

C = Catch – Catches the energy ball

E = Expand – Expands your platform ‘Vaus’

D = Disruption – Splits the ball into three

L = Laser – Enables platform to fire laser beams to destroy bricks

B = Break – Allows player to break into the next level

P = Paddle – Gives the player an extra ‘shadow’ platform    

Power Capsules are worth 1000 points and are worth going for to achieve that high score. There are a certain amount of enemies as well that interfere with standard play such as flying shapes which can also be destroyed by bouncing the ball into them.

The game play is fast and smooth, the more times you bounce the ball back the faster the game gets making some of the levels very challenging. Luckily in this Amiga version you can actually choose from anyone of the first 20 levels to start on, handy as playing through I couldn’t get past stage 5 during my first few tries. The graphics are very colourful and simple, normal coloured bricks take one hit to be destroyed, silver bricks two, and gold bricks are indestructible, making some levels harder than others to beat. The object is to battle your way to the end and get ready for the final confrontation with your nemesis, which in all fairness is a pretty fun and rewarding fight after all that hard work getting there!


Arkanoid is a great game and this Amiga version sticks very closely to the arcade classic (apart from the ability to select any of the first 20 levels). In my opinion it’s the best looking conversion and certainly the smoothest with regards to game play, shadows, and graphics and with some nice backgrounds to make this a very aesthetically appealing game. Certainly one you’ll get frustrated with but at the same time you’ll want to beat it and keep coming back for more.

Arkanoid has been ported from the arcade onto many other machines including the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, Mac, NES, SNES, TRS-80 CoCo, ZX Spectrum. As well as all the other versions you can play these days through Live Arcade, Wiiware and the iphone. I’m actually quite partial to Block Breaker 2, when Arkanoid isn’t available you understand.