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04/02/2016

☆ The A To Z Of Atari - O is For ☆ #Retrogaming #GamersUnite

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O is for.............

Octopus Operation Outlaw

O My God!
The letter O has caused much head scratching for the A-Z Of Atari Series....

So much head scratching in fact that it has stopped me in my tracks 15 articles in.

After much ‘Googling’ I declared myself stuck in Atari Limbo Land.

My next natural course of action was to ask Twitter.....

My faithful followers from the Twittersphere came up with the goods as always.

The three suggestions were ....

Operation Wolf 
(Published and created by Taito but i’m sure there must an Atari release that i can look at)

Octopus
(an obscure Atari 2600 game that actually sounds quite fun to play)

Outlaw 
(The classic Arcade machine from Atari that depicts wild west shootouts)

The Show Must Go Ooon! 
So now we have three O’s let’s crack on with the A-Z of Atari once again.....

O is for........

Octopus Operation Outlaw!

The Octopus
A picture of the strange looking Octopus video game on the Atari 2600 was sent to me via Twitter and once I did some research into this obscurity then I became truly interested in this cool looking game.

Octopus is oddly enough also Known as “Name This Game” across the world but Octopus in Europe. The game was actually conceived by a guy called Rob Furen in 1982 who went on to offer the game to Parker Bros but eventually it was developed by Jim Wickstead and then it was eventually picked up by US Games under the name of Treasures Of The Deep which then changed to Guardians Of Treasure (are you still with me?!)

In 1983 US Games wanted to create a contest around the video game and released it outside of Europe as “Name This Game”. The competition was to name the game and be in with a chance of winning $10,000 .

Another twist in fate occurred for this game and before the contest was completed, US Games closed down.

Did You Know?
“In 1994 Digital Press held its own naming contest for the game; the winning title, coined by Russ Perry Jr., was ‘Going Under’ which referenced not only the game's content, but the fate of its publisher.” Wikipedia

A company by the name of Carrere Video Distribution finally released the game in Europe as Octopus (Hurrah!)

Did You Know?
“There was also a plan to include the game in a Power Play Arcade 2 cartridge under ANOTHER new name Galleon's Gold, but that cartridge did not get past the prototype stage.” (Wikipedia)

The game itself sounds kinda cool. The player controls a diver dude who must protect a treasure from an octopus at the top of the screen. The Octopus tries to capture the treasure with its tentacles. Not only is there an Octopus to take up the diver dude’s attention there’s also a pesky shark who swims back and forth at the bottom of the screen.

Diver Dude loses a life if he is captured by the shark or if he is caught by the octopus's tentacles. The Diver must also make sure he manages his air supply because if the air meter runs out he will lose a life also. The diver is able to refill his air meter by touching a long pole which extends from a boat that appears from time to time.

Little did I know that this obscure title would give me so much pleasure in reading about its troubled history!

The Wolf
Operation Wolf was one of those awesome arcade games that surely must have been released on the Atari at some point? The Arcade game from Taito was awesome and I still love the rat a tat tat of the cab-mounted-uzi. Whenever I enter an arcade with Operation Wolf in it then it has to be played. It was one of the most ported Arcade games of the day so I was expecting to find an Atari 800 8-Bit version lurking out there somewhere but I couldn’t......hmmmmmm that’s odd

Then the Atari ST version popped up and it looks as though that on first inspection the Atari ST version is the ONLY Atari outing. Seems odd though doesn’t it? If you know better than me then by all means yell at the computer screen or let me know in the comments box at the end of this article.

The ST version seems to be a winner as it gets 91% in CVG magazine. Although as with most of the home ports (apart from NES and SMS) there was no lightgun support and only joystick control. If ever there was a need for an accompanying peripheral then Operation Wolf was one title that was ripe for it! A Taito desktopUzi would have sold many a unit i’m sure. It could have had a rubber sucker to secure it to your desk while you blasted away at the screen in true OW Arcade styley!

The Outlaw
Outlaw is the single-player arcade game by Atari which was released in 1976.
It’s based on the Wild West quick draw gun duel between two opponents (Player vs CPU)
Outlaw was in fact a response by Atari to Gun Fight which was released by Midway in 1975.

The game cabinet was one of the first to include a light gun and screen display had an overlay representing a Wild West scene.

Players are able to select either “Half-fast Pete” or “Billy-The-Kid”.

Pete is a more accurate shooter while Billy can draw that bit faster than Pete.

An outlaw will appear in the town and the object of the game is to draw your gun before him and shoot him down. Shooting an Outlaw gives you points and give you an end-of-game rating such as "Dude", "Greenhorn", and "Top Gun".

The legendary David Crane produced the home console port for the Atari 2600. T

The Atari 2600 version is more directly comparable to Midway's Gun Fight which allows two players to engage in gun slinging action using the Atari 2600's joysticks.

Added to this difference, Crane introduced multiple types of game play, that differ from the arcade version. Game types include target practice and versions with obstacles that must be shot around or shot through.

More recently the Atari 2600 version was made available on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console in 2010.

So there you have it, the O’s are greedy and have 3 games in the A-Z although only Outlaw truly meets the Atari criteria.

Can YOU Suggest Any More Atari O's?

Let Me Know In The Comments Box Below....