While the market penetration sounds like it was limited, per Dan’s comments, I for one enjoyed this game immensely. This was the first strategy game that got my adrenalin pumping and in a sense was an early foray into the RTS genre. I broke many joysticks trying to get my units on the board to counter an opponents move and for anyone looking for a challenging real-time strategy game for the 8-biy Atari this is it! In every case I can recall sitting back and feeling a little exhausted after each match and just when you think you have the game mastered, the AI would always come back and kick your butt back to PacLand. Kudos on this game Dan. It is an unsung hero in the strategy game genre and like many early ground breaking games, it never got the attention it deserved.
If this game ever comes up on this site I will be once again be ending the lives of many a controller.
It is true, you can build and command units, battle against computer or a player. Command and conquer in it's genesis stage. One friend destroyed his joystick after being beaten, I expected him to win, the moral is dont laugh at losers when they shout "wagons Ho!!" and then get chewed up by superior strategy.
Fancy COMMAND & CONQUER for the atari? this excellent battle sim must have inspired someone..
|Comments by Dan Bunten (found here):|
'This was my first attempt at combining strategy and action elements in a single game. It was also my first fully graphical game (all previous ones were text based), my first machine language game (basic was sufficient before then) and the first game for the Atari 800 (Apple II was my platform before). "Cytrons" was published by SSI in '82. It was a very simple abstract wargame. I learned a lot about programming multi-thread software (all when it was necessary to write all your own interrupt handlers). I also discovered both how compelling real-time strategy gaming could be and how easy it was to loose your market. Rather than appealing to both action gamers and strategy gamers it seemed to fall in the crack between them.'
Thanks to Ingo Martin for the scans.