Posts Tagged ‘Frogger’

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,




Arcade Classic Reviews: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

March 16, 2010

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles Coin Op

Manufacturer: Konami
Year: 1989
Genre: Scrolling Fighter

First a little background on Konami, a name and logo I’m sure a lot of people still recognise (although I didn’t realise that changed it recently). Gaming wise they can be associated with the Silent Hill series, Metal Gear Solid, as well as titles from back in the day such as Frogger and more famously Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Konami was founded on March 21st 1969 by Kagemasa Kozuki (current chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer) and originally began as a jukebox rental/repair business in Osaka. Konami’s first actual game machine was not created until 1978. They began to achieve success with hit arcade games such as 1981’s Frogger, Scramble, and Super Cobra, many of which were licensed to other companies for stateside release, including Stern Electronics and Gremlin Industries.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (although for us more ‘sensitive’ Europeans – Hero Turtles) was a side-scrolling beat-’em-up released by Konami as a coin-operated video game in 1989. It is based on the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series which began airing in the fall of 1987. The original coin-op game was distributed to the arcades in two variants: a standard 2-player version that allowed either player to choose their character and a deluxe 4-player version with each player controlling a different character. The player chooses from one of the four Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael (my personal favourite) and follows the usual story for our four green heroes. Shredder kidnaps annoying channel 6 reporter April O’Neil as well as their sensei Splinter.

The gameplay is such the Turtles battle their way through each level defeating an inordinate amount of the Shredder’s foot soldiers to reach a boss at the end of each stage. Each character has his own distinct style and weapon; Donatello has slower attacks but a longer range with his bo-staff, Michelangelo and Raphael have fast attacks but a short range, and Leonardo is a well-rounded Turtle with average range and speed. Each stage results in a fight, up against some of the Turtles recurring bad guy characters, Bebop and Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Krang, and Shredder.

Too many hours playing this (although I never completed it) and way too much pocket money spent, the original Arcade coin op is a classic, and, if one day I win the lottery or something, I would buy the original machine and invite everyone over to play it. Turtles provided hours of great gameplay and graphics and even better with a second player. I’ve wanted to go back and play it ever since… which brings me to my fascination with the Amiga conversion of this game below! Read on!

Amiga Coversion:

Genre: Arcade – Beat em’ up

Year: 1991

Developer: Probe Software, Image Works

The Amiga conversion is the only one out of the many out there I’ve played, so I’m not sure how others live up to the original coin op. Depending on how you look at this game, either comparing it to its Arcade counterpart, or as a standalone game, it doesn’t really appeal on any level, apart from the fact it was Turtles!

I always go back to this expecting it to be as good as it was in the arcade, loading it up in anticipation of the same great gameplay, special moves and upbeat intro sequence. I’m usually pretty disappointed after 5 minutes of play (and yet I still go back for more) mainly because it’s the only way I can get to play this game at home, sadly it’s as close as I’m going to get at this point in time to the original arcade version.

The graphics are pretty poor and there really isn’t anything good to say about the gameplay, animation in the intro sequence and music. You can distinguish between the Turtles mainly by the weapon they’re carrying and not much else. The lack of music means your ears are abused by the poor sound effects which have an awful echo (kinda sounds like dropping empty 2ltr coke bottles on a tiled floor) and doesn’t really improve beyond that.

The controls are painfully slow and the glitchy graphics make it difficult to see what you’re hitting or doing when there are multiple enemies on the screen.

Poor graphics, no music and terrible sound effects, awful gameplay the lack of special moves makes this conversion one of the poorest I’ve seen; home computers/consoles at this time promised to bring the arcade into your home, this one really didn’t (doesn’t want to use ‘cut the mustard’), um, do it for me. Even without the comparison I wouldn’t rank this game very highly. So why review it? Mainly because  I’m annoyed I can’t play this in the arcade anymore; I’m also annoyed I have to play the Amiga version to try and recapture some of that experience. Plus I loved the Turtles cartoon so who wouldn’t want to play a Turtles game?

53% from Amiga Action 29 (Feb 1992)

30% from AUI Vol 5 No 3 (Mar 1991)

Coin Op Screen shots and cabinet picture from the awesome International Arcade Museum! Please visit their site here!

Also released on Arcade, NES, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum, Xbox 360 (XBLA)

Please also visit the Konami website!