Thursday, September 8, 2016

Atari Emulator -> Incoming!!

Mushca Disk 45.  A variation on Air-Sea Battle, but without submarines.  I actually kinda like a game like this, like Alien Swarm (disk 62), where your score depends on how many bullets you shoot.  Or Tail of Beta Lyrae, for a better, messier example.  Here, in INCOMING!!, however, the cost of bullets is far too high.  Sure, you can guide them to your targets and what not, but five or six shots to bring down a helicopter?  That's... that's quite a helicopter!  Either the helicopters are really strong, or your bullets are really weak.  Could be both, actually!  So, helicopters brought down are worth 50 points, and your bullets are worth 10.  Good luck scoring more than 100 points.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Atari Emulator -> Starion

From the programmer of Vorrak comes... Starion.  For those of you who thought to yourselves, well... I like Vorrak and Zardon, but I don't like having to use the Basic cartridge to play it.  Isn't there a version entirely in machine language?  Welp, your prayers have been answered.  But man cannot live on the same game alone, so Starion is like a combination of Vorrak/Zardon and, say, Defender.  Or maybe, Mike Potter's much hated (by me) Protector series.  It's much like Vorrak, but you have a different, faster ship.  And you can actually move backwards!  To a fault, that is.  You cannot go past the current level backwards to the last "level."  Forward, always forward.  Also, you must rescue "castaways" with your beam.  Don't worry if you bite it by hitting something that's not blue; the castaways will be fine.  Warning: you can only carry four castaways at a time, and you can only drop them off in one place.  And once you finish depositing all the castaways, well... can someone help me out here?  Are you doomed to wander in Starion land forever and ever amen?

Official Atarimania home of Starion

Official Mushca home of Starion

Starion Energy web site - no relation...

Atari Emulator -> Matterhorn

While we're waiting for the new Words with Friends challenge to begin... bastards... here's a question for you.  Ever wonder why you're not making it anywhere in life?  Well, first of all, it's probably networking.  You're just not kissing the right ass, probably.  And second, it's all about patience.  And Tigervision's Matterhorn is the kind of patience test that I simply cannot pass.
First of all, take the first level.  Admittedly, I'm the kind of gamer that doesn't like to waste time with the instruction manual, so I just figured out that you can take the vertical white lines and use them as ammo against the laser-shooting birds above.  It's the old fisherman patience test, for one: fish or cut bait?  Do you keep running, or do you stop and shoot at the laser-firing birds?  Well, seeing as how many times they killed my weak ass, I had to blast me some birds for a while.  And, just like the one the Mortals refer to as 'Rimrock Lobster,' I too had to use the Atari emulator's save function just to get ahead.  Oh, the game's just that worth it, people.  And I do appreciate how tough it is for an Atari to do special effects.  When you die, mainly by the bird's laser, the screen shuts like an eyelid, thereby straining the 6502's capabilities.
Second level: it's like that part of Jungle Hunt, or B.C. Quest for Tires to a lesser extent, but without the bouncing boulders.  The birds still come at you, slightly fiercer even.  You're able to climb up tiny outcroppings of rock, but so far it seems to suit no purpose other than wasting time.
Third level: it's like that part of Jungle Hunt, but now there are bouncing boulders, and it's steeper. And no birds, thank God.
Fourth level: ...ah, sweet insanity.  This is what it's all about right here.  The word 'matterhorn' seems to imply mountain climbing, doesn't it?  Well, on levels 4 and up, you lose your ability to jump, probably due to the lack of oxygen at alti(tude) 41.  There's two sides of a chasm that you have to ascend.  The only way across are these teeny cyan platforms that move horizontally across the chasm.  And should you not intimately know the rhythm of these platforms, you fall to your immediate death... you know, mountain climbing.  Also, there's dragons that you have to shoot.  You have horizontally flying bullets for this purpose.
Fifth level: Much like the fourth, but there's a red gem you have to get to.  Your reward?  Back to level one to start all over.  Oh, if only coming down the mountain were so simple.  Would that it twere...

Official Atarimania home for Tigervision's Matterhorn

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Atari Emulator -> Len Dorfman's 'Erg'

Now, surely there must be some of you out there who are thinking to yourselves "You know, I love that old Konami game called Tutankham, but I just think it's too easy.  What if there were a version of Tutankham where the walls kill you?"  Well, Len Dorfman's 'Erg' is just what the doctor ordered.  (Mushca disk 32)  It's also a grim reminder of the limited sound capabilities of those old Atari computers.  But for some reason, I found that typing 'SOUND 0,0,0,0' into Atari Basic was much easier than, say, learning how to play the piano.  Gruesome, huh?  Eighty-eight keys, my ass.
Now, if you go to the official Atarimania home for Len Dorfman's 'Erg', you might notice that its Atarimania community score is 3 out of 10.  For comparison, Boulder Dash has an 8.6; not to mention all the glowing comments from people who grew up with it.  Anyway, at first blush, 3 out of 10's not good.  Also, a '3' means 'Really mediocre,' according to the drop-down menu that lets you select a number.  But do bear in mind that only one Atarimania user even bothered to cast their vote for it.  Think of the hundreds out there who hate this in silence!  And '3' is surely much more preferable to '2' (Incredibly poor) or the dreaded and lonely '1' (Pathetic).  Yes, in the gamer's word cloud, the word 'pathetic' is probably one of the larger ones.  But I did just rewatch half of that Scorsese documentary about George Harrison, so I feel like I'm floating above this ethereal plane, asking the big questions.  Maybe all these video games with non-lethal walls have just made us soft gamers!  What if, say, Pac-Man had killer walls?  Berzerk certainly does!  We'd have a different kind of gaming world if it were full of hypervigilant Pac-Man players, being extremely extremely careful about guiding the big yellow softie in between the deadly, narrow walls, having to engorge on those hundreds of dots in constant fear of instant death by wall.  There's already a certain amount of dread in those last few dots you have to get, way on the other side of the maze.  But having to navigate through five hundred feet of electric fence to do it? ...actually, I'm kind of glad we live in the world we do with the softie Pac-Man we do have.  We've already got enough to be vigilant about in the real world as it is.  Maybe that's why Len Dorfman's 'Erg' is so unpopular.
Oh, and the bad guys fly above the maze, rather than being forced to navigate its walls.  Reminds me of Jens Woehrmann's "Labyrinth."  (Mushca Disk 43) Same principle, but with a page flipping maze instead of horizontal scrolling... oh, and "Andromeda." (Mushca Disk 108)

Official Atarimania home for Len Dorfman's 'Erg'

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Atari Emulator -> TwoMaze (Muscha disk 49)

You know, we've all got our little dreams in life.  Better home life, more money, better job, what have you.  But judging from the fever dream that is "TwoMaze", I think Frank Ostrowski's dream was something like this: I, Frank Ostrowski, will program a Pac-Man clone for the Atari 800, but instead of the same old maze, I'm going to generate a random maze with lots of dead ends.  And instead of Pac-Man's ghosts, I will have three ugly spiders, and a diamond that can breathe.  Also, there will be TWO Pac-Mans on the screen at the same time... but the typical user will be using a PC emulator to play, so this second Pac-Man will typically lie there, dormant, waiting for a keypress.  That is my dream.  That is the dream that I am having, and have had since I was but a wee tot.

But wait! someone cries.  That's SIX player-missiles you're talking about!  You'll have to make them glitter!

You're right.  Make that TWO ugly-ass spiders and a diamond that can breathe.  And the power pills, instead of being in each of the corners, they will all be in the lower half of the screen in an upside-down T formation.  The two Pac-Mans will occupy the upper left and right hand corners, respectively, like giant power pills that can move and eat other pills.

But will there be a box that the ghosts live in, and come out of when the game starts?

No, no.  No time for fancy-schmancy stuff like that.  Strictly no frills.  Also, I don't have time to program a decent A.I., so the ghosts will just move around randomly.  No rhyme or reason to it, just strictly random.  Mostly going back and forth, so you can't follow them too closely, lest they turn around and touch you.  Also, if they even touch you slightly, you instantly die and reappear in your corner.  No time for the whole disappearing act of quote unquote "regular" Pac-Man.  Harumph!  So much wasted time.

Will there be a fruit for each level, like cherries and peaches?

...what?  Oh, Lord no.  Nothing like that.  No, the action just gets faster and faster.  That's all the player really wants, really. 

But won't the action eventually be TOO fast, like the "Expert" level of Mataga's Shamus 1?

Oh, Lord no!  Atari computers aren't that fast.  This isn't an early MS-Dos text game (with no timer whatsoever) we're talking about, after all!

Then, go, the one they call Frank Ostrowski!  Go and make ALL our dreams come true!

And scene.  My One Act Play, ladies and gentlemen.  Revel in its glory!  Shower me with your applesauce... I mean, applause.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Atari Emulator -> Jawbreaker vs. Pac-Man

Welp, looks like you get a little bit extra maze with "Jawbreaker 1."  Neat!
 Okay, okay... time to use my old moldy copy of Flash

Atari Emulator -> Steeple Jack

English Software Inc. presents "Steeple Jack."  I do like their "Jet Boot Jack."  That was a fun game.  Also "Air Strike II."  But this one?  I hate to sound like Donald Trump, but... the hero in this is kinda fragile.  I prefer video game heroes that aren't so fragile.
I mean, everything kills you in this game.  A gap in the ladders kills you.  The diagonally moving Pac-Man reject kills you.  The dropping rainbow fireball from the sky kills you.  What's there to live for exactly?
...okay, the sound's pretty cool.  They should've done Ms. Pac-Man's sound for the Atari.  Also, if you go to the bottom of the screen, it doesn't kill you.  Unlike, say, "Diggerbonk."

Atari Emulator -> Attack of the Mutant Camels

This is the most insane game I've ever played... and yet, it's got something!  Nice variation on "Defender," I guess you'd say.  Gotta like... I mean, can't totally hate a game where you're trying to shoot giant, evil camels that can shoot homing fireballs out of their ass.

Atari emulator -> Lawkeeper

So before I go to bed, I feel compelled to profile yet another Atari game that I apparently haven't done yet.  It's called Lawkeeper and it's brought to you by the people who gave us the world renowned "Lode Runner."  It's very definitely not up to the quality of "Lode Runner," but somehow that didn't seem to matter much when I once had my Indus disk drive for 5.25 inch disks, and my old Atari 1200XL, I believe it was.  Every once in a while I'd give Lawkeeper the old test run.  You know, just to see if I had what it takes.
But now that I'm practically an old, grey-haired pensioner, I realize that it's actually a very, very cheap knockoff of Taito's classic Zookeeper, and as always, games like Lawkeeper showcase the deep limitations of the Atari 8-bit computers when it comes to games.  I believe it's Graphics 13 mode with the modified font; like Graphics 0 but with the more solid colors.  See, in Graphics 8, you have to space out pixels to get the reds and greens... I'll tell your grandchildren someday while they're using their virtual reality Google glasses to pay attention to something else.  ANYTHING else.
Once you get the youthful convicts inside the walls, they can't escape.  Hence the yellow balls that bounce rather predictably around to help break down said walls.  They bounce diagonally, then to the left.  Apparently, the emulator isn't able to show you, the brown circle that tries to reign in all the chaos.  I do kinda like those "Chomp Levels."  I remember now!  You have to get your reaching claw through the mouth to get it to disappear and not eat the walls of your prison.  Ugh.  What a mediocre game.  SOOO glad I didn't buy it for $39.99 way back when.

Friday, August 5, 2016

10,000 views and counting!

I'm never going to get this done anyway, so might as well post it now, in honor of passing 10,000 views.  As a gamer, the number ten thousand obviously has special significance.  After all, you get your bonus life in Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man at 10,000 points, and you flip the score at 10,000 in Atari 2600's flatulent "Space Invaders."  So thanks to everyone who found me through Google and Yahoo search and bothered to stop by, and of course to the Russian click farms who have taken an unhealthy interest in my blogs in general.  Dasvedanya!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Candy Crush Jelly

...the rumours were true!  The King game syndicate have branched out even further!  Are they not overdue to be hoisted upon their own petard?  Well, Candy Crush Soda used to be the hot game to be involved with, but clearly now Jelly has taken that place.  Quasi 3-D effects when scrolling from level to level... however, they seem to have used the same game engine as Soda.  Regular Candy Crush programmers must be feeling pretty damn left out right now.  I'm only at about level 25 currently... and nothing's loading tonight!  Fuddruckers!

Oct. 29 - what's happening to the internet?  I mean, Candy Crush Regular and Candy Crush Soda load fine and dandy... but not Jelly.  I get as far as the special "Loading..." screen, but I apparently have to wait a couple hours for the level to actually load.  That must be quite a level!  But that's the nature of the gamer... just gotta keep trying

Jan. 12, 2017 - Hmm!  Haven't written much about this one.  But I just noticed something... the inbox.  Sometimes it'll say I have two messages, so I go to open the inbox and... nothing.  But mostly what happens is what happened today.  I actually had two messages and, well... it's all pleas for assistance.  Get to the next level, needing free lives... where's MY free lives?  I mean, WHERE ARE THEY?  WHERE THE F..........

Mar. 4, 2017 - I think I found a glitch...
...found it again.  Seems to have to do with the frosting.  And they want to get rid of Flash player altogether!  For shame, internet!  What are you gonna replace it with?  Blender?  Don't make me laff!

5/10/17, 12:56am - ...hmm!  Wonder if I make a reference to Russia here, if this blog will get swamped with traffic from a certain country that... anyway, quick update time.  I'm stuck on level 302, and I have a feeling I'm going to be here a while.  Why, you might ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  Because it's a hard level, but not just that, mind you... it's a SUPER hard level!  And honestly, it doesn't seem that much harder, but I'll take their word for it.  No new feature to worry about, no multiple screens to conquer.  We used to call it "page-flipping" a long time ago... scrolling aside, I know.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Atari emulator -> Mars Mission 2: Mars Boogaloo

I knew that was gonna suck.  Well, it's your typical hasty sequel.  Plus, it only takes up about 5K, so of course they're going to skimp on the graphics.  Is it a glorified Super Huey Cobra?  Yes.  And why does it have a score of 7 digits when it takes about 10 minutes to crack 5?  So let's see, it would take about... 160 hours of game play to flip the score?  If memory serves, your ship gets less fuel efficient as the game progresses, so even that may just very well be impossible.  Stick with Caverns of Mars and / or Phobos instead.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Atari Emulator -> Quarxon

While I'm waiting for my 2nd facebook account to load... God, how I love how slow Firefox is.  Must be an extra security feature or something... let me just blog a brain fart or two about Scott Ludwig's "Quarxon."  Pretty slick and sophisticated game play for 16K!  It's one of the great regerts... regrets of my life is that I didn't play the Expert difficulty of Quarxon more often.  No, I was content with kicking the Beginner opponent's ass.  That's just how good the A.I. is in this game.  Well, that, and the red line with gaps in it goes really really fast at the expert level... oh, I mean... Now I'm one of these people who would live their lives completely the same over and over again if I had to, and I probably don't.  But I do consider it one of the great failings of my life that I consistently chose level 0 Beginner of play over level 9 Expert in Peter Fokos' 1982 classic, Alien Ambush.  Scott R. Ludwig's 1982 classic, Quarxon.  I mean, level 9's Expert's hard!  It's hard work!  And plus, you keep getting blowed up and all that!  I just HATE that!  So I'm trying to make up for lost time by playing level 9 Expert now... oh, wait.  I haven't yet.  That's how much I hate it.  So let that be a lesson for you parents out there.  If you walk in on your kids and they're playing video games instead of doing homework, here's what you do.  Ask them if they're playing the hardest level of the game.  And if they're not, you make them play the hardest level, otherwise they can't borrow the car for the weekend.. or something.  Why fight it?  Homework sucks.  All school did for me was reinforce my bad procrastination habits, and get me on a God-awful reunion mailing list.  I keep trying to tell you!  They didn't like me, they tolerated me.  You know, like that one co-worker of yours that everyone hates.  Same thing with school, only there's hundreds more of them.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Atari 8-bit emulator ---> Alien Ambush

I do actually have some fond memories of loading this one into the old Indus disk drive and playing on the old Atari 1200 XL.  Those were the days when you'd have to wait about 20 to 30 seconds for the game to start... maybe a little less in the case of this one.  Oh, it's got everything.  Player missiles, graphics 7, display list interrupts, getting three colors out of two player missiles mashed together, doubling the size of player missiles with the peeking of one poke... I forget those numbers now.  I think 53770 is for a "random" number between 0 and 255.  Ah, brain cells.  How you continue to impress me.
Now I'm one of these people who would live their lives completely the same over and over again if I had to, and I probably don't.  But I do consider it one of the great failings of my life that I consistently chose level 0 of play over level 9 in Peter Fokos' 1982 classic, Alien Ambush.  I mean, level 9's hard!  It's hard work!  And plus, you keep getting blowed up and all that!  I just HATE that!  So I'm trying to make up for lost time by playing level 9 now... oh, and on a technical note, I'm using disk 60 142 from the Mushca collection, because the official unofficial Satan's Hollow Alien Ambush ROM for the Atari emulator doesn't load... oh, right.  I never tried it out.  Might work!

Peter Fokos' profile at something called zoominfo dot com

Alien Ambush's official home at atarimania.com.  The nice thing about atarimania.com is that they organize games into broad categories... or is it?  Doesn't that take away some of the mystery?  Don't we lose something when we gain the organization and collation of all things?  And besides, this is more of a Shoot 'em Up than a Space Invaders clone.  The aliens here aren't as regimented.  Also, I don't feel so bad anymore about not being able to dodge the simple, diagonal paths of things bouncing around in a room... I probably should.  I mean, how hard is it to get out of the way of something coming sort of at you at a rapid pace?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Atari 8-bit Emulator ---> Satan's Hollow

Boy!  This blog post must be cursed!  But by what?  And for whom?  Anyway, while you're waiting for your flaky quote unquote "Facebook friends" to send you new lives 'n stuff, sometimes you just gotta blast some daemons.  Especially if they're in control of your network.  Well, that's where "Stan's Hollow" ... "Satan's Hollow" comes in.  I never played this one in the arcade, mind you.  If they were making this one today, you'd definitely go up that hill in your ship to the big house!  No, this is the minions of Hell in the guise of a Space Invaders - Phoenix - Gorf type deal here.  Demon Attack, but with the big man himself.  I'm getting good at hitting him just after the theme song finishes.  Shoot at the thousands digit at the right moment, and you'll hit him, and avoid all that red spear and yellow sphere nonsense.
Now I'm one of these people who would live their lives completely the same over and over again if I had to, and I probably don't.  But I do consider it one of the great failings of my life that I consistently chose level 1 of play over level 9.  I mean, level 9's hard!  It's hard work!  And plus, you keep getting blowed up and all that!  I just HATE that!  So I'm trying to make up for lost time by playing level 9 now... oh, and on a technical note, I'm using disk 60 from the Mushca collection, because the official unofficial Satan's Hollow ROM for the Atari emulator doesn't load.  Okay, on to the next.