Atari 400 800 XL XE Games Database

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@Monk. This is not the first time you comment about the 130XE needed for a program to run. While I can understand we all want most software to run in a classic 64Ko configuration, the 130XE (and its 128Ko RAM) was available for 7 years from mid-1985 to late 1991 / mid-1992 depending on territories. My dad got one for me on sale from Nasa Electronics in Paris in early 1989 and it truly changed how I programmed the architecture and was a big help with utilities (Transdisk for instance). The 800XL only lasted 2 years on the market when the XE line lasted much longer. The funny thing is that, while Tramiel's own ATARI Corp. did nothing to advance the architecture, it manufactured it for a lot longer than Warner's ATARI Inc. who produced it in the first place! It's just pathetic that, year after year, the Tramiels didn't bump the memory of the XE line. Maybe not to 512Ko like the 520ST but at the very least 256Ko like the ill-fated 260ST. There would have been no competition anyway due to the difference in architectures. And let's be honest, Jay Miner's 8-Bit line was revolutionary at launch and still amazes to this day, the Commodorish ST wasn't and it took several revisions for it to get better. BTW- I love ALBERT and I welcome more outstanding programs to run in 128Ko mode.
Platformers? Well, there is a lack of good ones on the 8bits. Of course there are other genres to cover, but this is a really nice version of a platformer. I, for one welcome ANY game for the 8-bits, especially ones this well crafted.
Manual here:

I wonder why people make platformers. There are SO many of them, and yet people keep making more. How many is enough?

There are so many wonderful game genres that do not get many games - Spy Hunter wasn't cloned much, Maniac Mansion could possibly be made on the Atari 8-bit (and hopefully 64k machines, most people probably don't have 130XE), various shooter and combined genres, etc. Think about Dropzone-style game where you can land on the ground on some levels and explore some caves or structures (R.I.S.K. on the C64 did this in a very limited way, you can walk around in bases), for example. Or Moonstone-style adventure where you fight on a separate screen, but you explore on a map-style screen.

If you're going to make another platformer, why not do it with some style, like Impossible Mission? That game never feels like a platformer, because the setting is unique and interesting, and there are also other things you can do but 'typical platform stuff'.

But all we get is these generic platformers. Was Super Mario Bros. really the epitome of gameplay, or could there possibly be other interesting genres as well?

I wish people would make games for the 64k 8-bit computers, as requiring 130XE seems a bit excessive and it means I can't play on my Atari 800 XL. In essence, the developers are saying that Atari 800 XL is useless, and I don't believe that.

The title and inbetween-level graphics are good, the style is very pleasing to the eye, and the cartoony impact is strong. However, it looks like shading is always black, which diminishes the feel a lot. Even when multiple colors are used, they're never used for shading, so it's like someone drew everything in monochrome and then just splashed some color here and there, instead of fully drawing, designing and shading with colors instead of just black.

Sadly, that's the only criticism I can really give on this game, as I can't play it on my Atari.

The reason why I may sound a bit bitter here, is that the Atari 8-bit scene is really high quality and has produced amazing games, like the Time Pilot, Scramble, Yoomp! and Major Blink / Berks ports/games. I even like the LSquadron (Terra Cresta-style), in many ways, it's more fun to play than C64 Terra Cresta, and has more colorful enemies.

I would like to see more games I can actually play on my Atari, but I guess developers prefer to have more memory over making games for the more common 8-bit Atari computers so everyone can have fun.

To me, this is like making 'C64 games' that only work on Commodore 128. What's the point?
Here is the manual:
This might be the forerunner or inspiration to "Star Vagrant" by Madrafi. The Creative Computing game was converted to the Atari in simple Atari Basic and is text only. Nevertheless the game is very playable and errmm, it is not easy. The cargo that is available at the various star systems is chosen randomly it seems, so you never know before hand what cargo you can buy or sell there (in my eyes it would have been better to have the cargo pre-set for each star system so you can plan your strategy). Therefore you need some luck to buy the cheapest cargo and find the star system where you can sell it at a much higher price. If you are unlucky, you have to sell the cargo at a lower price and doing this 2-3 times (or not selling cargo at all) will most of the time lead to a bankrupt. Another problematic point is the salary of the crew which starts at 500,000 and gets higher and higher during the game. It happened to me (after warping to three different star systems) that I could not pay off the crew anymore and then also ended with a bankrupt and game over. But evil as I am, I simply removed this part of the program listing, so the game is now easier and I can play much longer. There seems to be no real ending or final goal of the game, either you end up going bankrupt or you try to end with more money than you started the game with. This means you can end the game after two years of leasing your spaceship, but you can also continue the game as long as you wish (as long as you do not get bankrupt) and renew the lease of your spaceship almost endlessly. A final goal would have been much better in my opinion (e.g. reach 10 million, 100 million or whatever), but hey this is just a type-in listing.

Star Vagrant offers many enhancements and improvements compared to this game, first it has great gfx (not text only), second there is music during the game (which can be switched off), there are different types of spaceships (with different speeds, varying sizes of cargo hold, etc.), many more star systems, pirates and thieves, pre-set cargo types for each star (so you can make plans what to buy where and to sell where) and a final goal (reach x million of cash).
The programmer isn't "unknown"--you can see his name clearly in the screenshot. His name was Marlan Meier. He was in high school when he wrote this game, as was his younger brother Myron when *he* wrote Topper! I knew both of them back in high school.

Trivia: The game has four difficulty levels, which internally the game thinks of as difficulty A (the easiest) through D (the hardest). He had a tweaked version where he allowed up through difficulty K, level 11, which was impossible for humans to play ;-)
@Ayrat - on one occasion I spent almost all day playing this amazing game and I made it past the 1M mark. There was a competition in a magazine and all I had to do was send in a photo as evidence... so after running down stairs to get the camera, I'd discovered there was no film... I was pretty gutted that day!
This is a really good version, and beats the C64-version easily in all possible ways. I find mysef playing this on my XL from time to time, but the C64-version almost never.

The Commodore computers did enjoy many other racing gems, like Super Cycle, LeMans and Death Race, though.

Not sure which version of 'Death Race' is the best (the arcade 'Turbo' is pretty good, but hard to adjust the controls so the car is actually controllable), but Atari version is certainly great.

Pole Position is a great arcade conversion and has a wonderful feel and good playbility to it. I also love the powerfully immersive sounds and the polish. The cars look a little blocky, but that's true of any non-arcade version of this game.

I recommend this game for sheer playability, oldskool fun and good atmosphere - this is what racing games are all about.
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