Monday, May 28, 2018

My Favourite Games (Atari ST Era)

Back in 2016, I wrote about my favourite arcade games, my favourite console games of the second generation era, and the Atari 8-bit era. Once the family retired the Atari 400/130XE, I moved on, midway through university, to the 520ST (and eventually the 1040 ST).

For the first time, I had a computer with two monitors: one black and white Atari monitor, and a colour Commodore 1702 monitor that needed an adapter to work with the ST. Most (though not all) of my favourite games were presented on the colour monitor:


This is the big one, the game whose many iterations have consumed more of my leisure time than any other: Civilization. Civilization for the ST came out during the brief time I lived in the Bleak House of Blahs, and the hours I spent in my basement bedroom playing this game of scientific progress and world conquest consumed a significant chunk of that halcyon era. With pottery you can make granary, and yes, that barbarian phalanx will indeed sink your battleship.



Dungeon Master was, perhaps, my favourite ST game before Civilization came along. It was a first-person dungeon crawl with a huge underground world to explore, a great team of adventurers to bring along, fast-paced combat, creepy monsters, tricky puzzles, and plenty of food, weapons, and treasure to collect. I remember being pretty desperate for food before I was able to compel myself to eat one of the "worm rounds" I'd scavenged from a giant caterpillar thing.



Sundog was a fantastic space trading simulator/roleplaying game in which the character you create inherits a small cargo spaceship and some starting cash. That's all you need to explore the stars and start trading, hoping to earn enough money to upgrade your ship, repair damage from pirates and other space hazards, and buy other supplies. My friend Pete loved this game so much that he brings it up once in a while, lamenting the lack of a modern-day version. 



Speedball was a fast-paced future sports game, one that reminded me a lot of the game they played on Battlestar Galactica in the 1970s. Gameplay was simple but elegant and smoothly animated; the graphics and sounds were great as well.



Falcon put me in the cockpit of an F-16 bristling with a weapons load that I put together myself for each mission! Though not as complex as today`s flight simulators, Falcon was certainly more complex than its competitors of the day, with very impressive graphics for the time. I got pretty good at blowing up bridges and tanks, not quite as good at shooting down enemy fighters.

SPECIAL BONUS GAME

Preparing today's blog brought some old memories back to the fore, including the many hours I spent on the Atari 130XE playing Star Fleet I: The War Begins. I believe I worked my way up to Lieutenant Commander before trading in the old 8-bit 130XE for my 520ST. 

1 comment:

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

I lost a lot of time to Speedball and Falcon on my Amiga in my college years.