The retro gaming machine that holds a dear place in my heart has to be the Atari 800 XE/XL.
I've written about this ugly duckling of the computer games world before and how it came into my posession as a second choice to the ZX Spectrum.
I've grown to love this grey beauty and even more so as I look back on the many hours that I spent loading tapes and playing some of the cool games that introduced me to the wonderful world of 8 bit computers.
So the question is, which games do I fondly remember the most on my beloved Atari 800……..let's take a look shall we?
The first game that springs to mind is Ninja Commando. From memory I bought this Zeppelin game on the strength of the box art and the graphics. This was generally my approach to buying games for my Atari as I never could find a decent video games mag that covered the Atari 800, so instead I just took a chance with my pocket money and punted on the fact that if it looks good then it might be good. This game didn't disappoint.
You were tasked with getting through 8 levels of random Ninjas who you could dispose of with a range of weaponry such as Ninja Stars. It was fast paced and I game I ploughed a lot of time into but I'm pretty sure I never completed it.
I've mentioned Fantastic Soccer before and how I was so starved of football games that I just had to keep playing even if it was pretty mediocre. I'm still unsure why there was a dearth of good footy games on this great system but I think this was the only footy game that I ever owned on the Atari.
This game confused me immensely. Again I bought it on the strength of the box art and graphics. All I remember doing on this game is running around some gardens trying to find herbs and failing at it a lot. I wonder if I played it now whether I would be any better? The aim of the game was to collect herbs and mix them to make spells. Arm yourself with a spell and cast them at your rival Wizard. Sounds simple eh? But as an 8 year old I really couldn't get the hang of it. I think I owe it to myself to revisit this game and beat it!
Spy Vs Spy - The Island Caper
This is a classic that i'm pretty sure could do with a reboot in today's generation of indie games. How cool was it to be able to play two player and set traps for your opponent while searching for parts of a rocket. Once you had all the parts you then had to escape the island via the submarine before the volcano erupts! Chaos was a plenty in this game. What made it even harder for me though was the fact that at the time I only owned a black and white TV at the time! Seeing the colour graphics now makes me long to play it again (in colour maybe)
James bond - The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton is often seen as the worst Bond but despite that I loved this game. I was a massive Bond fan when I was little and my dad would let me stay up late whenever there was a Bond film on TV. When I bought this game for my Atari it was like a dream come true. A cool looking Bond game on the Atari was absolute bliss for me. 8 levels of 8 bit espionage was a treat but from memory I don't recall ever getting past the 3rd level!
Steve Davis Snooker
Being a massive Golden Nugget / Romford Slim / Romford Robot / Steve Davis fan I just had to own this great snooker game. At the end of the day it's just snooker but I loved it. What makes my love of this game even more absurd is the fact that me and my friends would play it on the black and white TV! There was a knack for working out which colours were which on a B&W television and that's maybe what made it more of a memorable game!
This Arcade legend of a game was a joy to play on my Atari and it came free with the system! Playing with a mate we'd take it turns to face each wave of attacks as we worked our way through the levels as they got faster and faster. From memory we got to level 12 maybe once?! I played this recently and it's still a cracking frantic game.
Another freebie that came with the system but this time on a cartridge. It was made for the light phaser that was packaged with the Atari. Think of Whack A Mole but with Bugs and the light gun acting as the proverbial hammer and you get the jist of the game play. Proper fun when you challenge your friend to beat your score. Awesome game for party fun!
Footy management games have always been my thing and this game was right up my street. I love the visuals and the way the reporter would pop up on screen to report the scores of the games. The game oozed class. Granted it wasn't Football Manager 2 (for some reason never released on the Atari) but it was the closest I could get to it and I loved it. This game taught me the names of football teams I'd never heard of such as Osasuna…..great stuff
Flight Simulator II
The game with the largest instruction manual that I have ever witnessed basically taught you how to fly a passenger jet! How they crammed this game into a games cartridge for the Atari I will never know. At the age of 8 I did well to take off but after that I invariably crashed ...... A LOT! I used to play this game a lot for some reason, maybe just out of curiosity but the result was always the same ..... CRASH!
Did You Own An Atari 800 ?
What Was Your Favourite Game On The Atari?
Let Me Know In The Comments Below