Ballblazer, Lucasfilm’s first video game, was lightning fast and quite different than anything out there in 1984. It’s the battle of the joysticks – Video 61’s Grip-Stick vs the Wico BOSS! Who will be named the Ballblazer champion? You know, the thing about this game is that it moves SO WELL. It really screams on the system. It’s really shocking. When you put it in for the first time and you just think it’s just some Atari game, or you know, some older arcade-type title, it just blows you away. I mean, it’s got some pretty amazing 3-D effects, it’s doing some pseudo 3-D stuff. For the time, this really would have been impressive. I mean, I’m impressed now. Not just at that time period. And everybody that I show this game, they’re like “Whoa! This game is nuts!”
In this episode we play Mario Bros. on Atari 7800 using the Atari 7800 control pad, and I’m joined by Armando and Carlos from Pixel Vault Games for Nintendo on Atari! Just think, the game that would come right after this would change the world of video games. Super Mario Bros. This was it right here. This was where it started. The game introduces you to the story of Mario & Luigi for the first time working together to fight these baddies. Mario Bros. feels like a cross between Donkey Kong, with the levels and platforms and avoiding dangerous sprites coming at you, and Super Mario Bros., with the turtles and pipes and different characters. You can definitely see the seeds being planted for what would become the World of Mario.
In this episode, Armando, Carlos and I play Donkey Kong Jr. on the Atari 7800 using the hard-to-find Atari 7800 control pad, which was never officially released in the USA. Nintendo games on Atari. It’s really hard to imagine now, playing a Nintendo-exclusive game on another console. Everybody knows how strict Nintendo is on their licensing. Seeing a Nintendo-exclusive game on a different console is crazy. As you’ll see in the episode, Armando and Carlos were surprised by the quality of Donkey Kong on the Atari 7800 and the responsiveness of the Atari 7800 control pad using the short-throw thumbstick. They weren’t expecting an Atari console to push graphics nearly identical to the NES version of Donkey Kong
In this episode, Armando, Carlos and I play Donkey Kong on the Atari 7800 using the hard-to-find Atari 7800 control pad, which was never officially released in the USA. Nintendo games on Atari. It’s really hard to imagine now, playing a Nintendo-exclusive game on another console. Everybody knows how strict Nintendo is on their licensing. Seeing a Nintendo-exclusive game on a different console is crazy. As you’ll see in the episode, Armando and Carlos were surprised by the quality of Donkey Kong on the Atari 7800 and the responsiveness of the Atari 7800 control pad using the short-throw thumbstick. They weren’t expecting an Atari console to push graphics nearly identical to the NES version of Donkey Kong
Watch us play Atari 7800 Centipede in Team Play mode using Trak-Ball controllers with a very special guest, my son Mason who’s joining us for the first episode. I think of Centipede as one of the main pillars of Atari. Space Invaders, Asteroids, Defender, Missile Command, Pac-Man, and Centipede were like the big heavy hitters that you’d want to be playing. Seriously, what’s cooler in the World of Atari than using Trak-Balls for Team Play on Centipede? Hmm.. I can’t think of much.
I’ve eagerly awaited the publication of Art of Atari since I first read about author Tim Lapetino’s in-progress book project many years ago. Art of Atari is aesthetically striking in a number of ways. It’s big, heavy, colorful, and exudes the feeling of a quality, professional product. The Deluxe Edition with its cartridge-emulating leather-bound cover and heavy-duty cardboard slipcase is artwork in itself, if you ask me. These were clearly not produced by some fly-by-night publishing house — it’s professional quality through and through. The subject matter necessitated high-quality printing in order to show off color, texture, and other subtleties in the artwork, and the book certainly delivers on that front, using extra-white paper to really make the imagery “pop” off the page. As someone who grew up with Atari (but somehow never owned another console until a PS3), and as someone with an admittedly lacking fantastical imagination, the artwork that accompanied Atari products made an enormous impression on me as a kid. It’s the talented artists and designers under Atari’s employ who deserve the credit for allowing me to dream of ideas and worlds bigger than those generated by glowing phosphor lines on a CRT screen, and Art of Atari does a spectacular job in affording them the recognition and credit they well deserve.
Gamers who grew up with Atari will fondly remember the striking box, instruction manual, and label artwork as artifacts of a bygone time, when dressing up a game in proverbial fancy clothing wasn’t seen as an act of deception or otherwise underhanded. Art of Atari promises to be much more than a simple compendium of artistic sentimentality, however. Tim Lapetino, graphic design director and author of Art of Atari, has gone to great lengths to chronicle memories and stories from the artists and designers themselves. Since Atari artists’ handiwork comes from a time when even game programmers weren’t given credit for their work (let alone artists), Art of Atari will be a long-deserved recognition of their important contributions to video gaming history and lore. On behalf of Atari.IO, I spoke with the author earlier this year about his project-turned-book labor of love.
This is going to be a big Atari 7800 showcase, so I just wanted to share with you guys this little “unboxing of things to come in the show”. We’re going to take a look at the Best Electronics 7800 Light Gun, the Video 61 7800 Grip-Stick, the 7800 European Controller, a brand new AV Modded Atari 7800, and an Atari 7800 Trak-Ball. I mean, really, let’s be honest, few of you had 7800s. Those who did are very fond of them. But for the most part, in this time period, most everybody was playing Sega Master System, I mean even that’s few and far between, but mostly the world was being run by Nintendo. This equipment here, the Atari 7800, was kind of being left out. So we’re going to give this equipment and these games a new chance to shine. And we’re going to invite guests over and we’re going to have a good time, and we’re gonna rack up the high scores and that’s how we’re gonna do it. This is the loot! I mean, man, this is like Christmas here! I am so excited. I can’t wait to get this show rolling.
The premiere of 7800 Avenue, our brand new Atari-themed YouTube show! 7800 Avenue focuses on the classic 8-bit Atari 2600 and 7800 consoles with a look at different games and accessories in each episode. In the premiere episode of 7800 Avenue we celebrate Howard Scott Warshaw Day by playing a few rounds of Yars’ Revenge!
Robotron: 2084 is a 1982 classic! It was very similar in aspects to Berzerk, but it controlled much better. It’s a twin-stick shooter, your left hand is controlling where your guy is going, and your right hand is controlling where your guy is shooting. You can be running backwards and firing off a hailstorm of bullets, blowing up these robots! You kinda have to turn off your brain off, and just get in that zone where you can run and shoot in two different directions. But once you start getting into it, man.. it’s really addicting.