Dragonfire - Imagic - Title

It’s Atari Day…Watch Out For Dragonfire!

Happy Atari Day! Since it is indeed the 26th of the month that means it is time to celebrate all things Atari. From it’s importance in the history of video games to it’s future. Although in this case I am going to be crowing about 1982’s Dragonfire. Not only one of my favorite Atari 2600 titles but in my list of top ten cartridges of all time.

Dragonfire - UK Ad - Atarimania

Image courtesy of Atarimania!

I have said on both the Diary podcast as well as on this site. Back in the glory days of Atari, my Grandmother and myself put a lot of faith in two companies. Beyond Atari itself of course. Those were Activision and Imagic. Obviously Activision is still a powerhouse gaming empire today. During the time of the 2600 though they were releasing some classic titles to say the least. Pitfall, River Raid, and Keystone Kapers were a few of those games. The company also happened to be the first third-party developer to throw down stakes. Made up by a handful of programmers from Atari at that.
Dragonfire - Pitfall

Imagic however was the second company to become a third-party publisher. Founded by Denis Koble, Bob Smith, Bill Grubb, Mark Bradley, and Rob Fulop. All jumping from Atari to form the new company. In fact Grubb was vice president of marketing for Atari at the time he jumped ship. Imagic also nabbed some talent from Mattel at the time of it’s founding. Dave Durran, Jim Goldberger, as well as Brian Dougherty. Imagic was responsible for such titles as Atlantis, Riddle of the Sphinx, and naturally Dragonfire.

[Via] My Saturday M0rnings

Bob Smith was the one responsible for programming Dragonfire. However Smith also worked on the Atari 2600’s 1981 title Video Pinball. In addition to Moonsweeper, Star Voyager, and Riddle of the Sphinx. Bob would also work on the home port of Atari’s Star Wars – The Arcade Game for the 2600. Then go on to contribute to the arcade titles Night Stocker and Rescue Raider.

[Via] Ace1000ks1975

The story for Dragonfire is that Dragons have invaded a kingdom. Driving the King and his court from their castles. It is up to a lone brave prince to attempt to cross each castle’s drawbridge, avoiding fireballs in the attempt. Ducking those hurled at head level and leaping over those that might roast your legs.
Dragonfire - Ducking Fireballs

Once within the storeroom where a Dragon has holed up, the prince must begin looting. Avoiding the dreaded fire balls the Dragon flings at the prince.

Actually in this case, I suppose the prince is actually reclaiming the treasures. Jugs of wine, goblets, chests of riches, diamonds and more. Once a storeroom is cleared the prince must escape by way of the upper left door. To once again attempt to cross another drawbridge and brave yet another storeroom. The difficulty level of course continuously increases. Those fireballs speeding up so much they are practically a blur.
Dragonfire - Storeroom

Now then, now that you know the basics of Dragonfire how about seeing it in action?

[Via] Juan Jose Abellan Vazquez

Atari Day - Atari.IO

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


Would you like to know more about Atari Day?


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Title

Did You Know About The Atari 2600 Garfield Game?

Do you know what today is, friends? It is the 26th of the month. Which of course means that once again it is Atari Day! That fan chosen time every month where we try to take a moment and remember the legacy of Atari. Past as well as present. In addition to celebrating the games that could have been classic but were never released. Of course I am referring to the Atari 2600 Garfield game from back in 1984.
Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Cartridge

Obviously while the video game crash of ’83 had already taken place. It’s not like Atari was quite ready to throw in the towel yet – attempting to find properties to boost game sales. Which is certainly why popular franchises such as The A-Team, The Pink Panther, and The Incredible Hulk were targeted. In 1984 however, Atari’s parent company was hemorrhaging money thanks to the market saturation of games. Which is sadly how the Atari 2600 Garfield game was cancelled.

Honestly, I had no clue that an Atari 2600 Garfield game had even been developed. A couple of days ago I was attempting to find something to share on the Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page. Which is how I came across the game, thanks to AtariProtos in fact.

This, at least to me, looks nothing like a quick cash grab. While the Garfield game was never officially released. Thanks to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis, the Roms were made available. Of course considering how popular the character was at the time, it is easy to see why Atari was developing the title.

[Via] Treadman28

The game itself was programmed by none other than Steve Woita. Who had a in hand in such classic titles as Asterix, Quadrun, Kid Chamelon, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to name a few.

[Via] Video Game Ads

As for the goal of the unfinished Atari 2600 game? The Player must help everyone’s favorite sarcastic feline hop across fences. Devouring flying hamburgers and avoiding thrown potted plants.
Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Chomp

Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Ducking

As well as contending with the likes of Odie. Thanks to that AtariProtos page, Steve Woita claimed that the hamburgers stage would have taken place in a dream. I say that the whole game would have ended up being a dream as Garfield’s goal was to rescue Nermal!
Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Odie

Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Nermal

You know a bit about the Atari 2600 Garfield game now. Ready to see it in action?

[Via] Epic Game

Would you like to know more about Atari Day?


Atari Day - Atari.IO

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

Kangaroo - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Kangaroo (1982)

Kangaroo is the pick this week for Christopher Tupa’s Retro Arcade Art project. Much like with Dig Dug this is another classic arcade game that many of you will remember. Developed as well as published by Sun Electronics in 1982. It was in fact distributed by none other than the legendary Atari. And when you get down to it, Kangaroo shares some slightly similar aspects to 1981’s Donkey Kong.

I have to say that as a protagonist. A mother Kangaroo wearing boxing gloves might seem like an odd choice. That is of course until you read the description of the game. Your little joey has been abducted by some rather nasty acting monkeys. So it’s up to you to get your baby back…by throwing a few good jabs.

As a ten-year-old I can certainly say I felt up to the task. Although my first experiences with it were at the fabled Showbiz Pizza of my youth. It was well past the point it was in the “showcase” row. It had been placed down in the lower level of the arcade alongside Donkey Kong Jr. and Popeye. However I really took a shine to the gameplay.

Kangaroo is a platformer. You have to jump, climb, and hop up a variety of stages in your attempt to rescue your joey. All the while you must contend with those monkeys. Who enjoy nothing more than rearing back and hurling apple cores at you. Thankfully the Player can duck the edible projectile or hop over it if tossed across the ground. Of course you can also punch the apple cores too for some bonus points but your timing better be pretty good.
Kangaroo - Stage 1

Besides the thrown apples, a monkey will move back and forth across the tops of the four stages. His job is to try and drop apple cores down upon your head. I’ve always found this occurs generally when you are making a jump or scurrying up a ladder. Also there is a pink Gorilla that will occasionally appear. His goal is to steal the boxing gloves from our hero. No boxing Gloves means no ability to punch monkeys or thrown fruit.
Kangaroo - Stage 2

Kangaroo - Stage 3

Stage 3 is one of my favorites. You have to knock out a row of monkeys holding joey in a cage!

Fun fact. I have never actually made it to the fourth stage.

Now how about you take just a couple of minutes and watch Kangaroo in action?

[Via] Mame Player

Kangaroo may not have been as popular as the likes Donkey Kong or Pac-Man but it did well enough to receive home versions. Ports were made available to the Atari 8-Bit computers as well as the Atari 2600 and 5200. Most fans prefer the 5200 which I will admit I’ve not had the pleasure of playing before. However if you happen to feel like reading what I thought of the 2600 port back in 2010 – just click here.

Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

At the very least, Kangaroo was popular enough to warrant a spot on CBS’ Saturday Supercade!

[Via] Kiddo Cabbusses

Remember to check out CTupa’s past entries for the Retro Arcade Art Project!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)
(Dig Dug)
(Inferno)

First Atari - Missile Command

Celebrate Atari Day With…well…My First Atari!

It is once more the 26th of the month. Which of course means that it is time to celebrate Atari Day! Furthermore I felt that perhaps a more personal recollection would be in order. Case in point the memories of how I got my first Atari.
First Atari - Vic Sage

As you can certainly see I was rather excited to unwrap this particular Christmas gift. In addition I should say that it certainly wasn’t a bad holiday up to that point. If you look closely behind me you will spy the likes of Imperial Troop Transport as well as the remote controlled R2-D2.

[Via] Sarlaac Pit Podcast

Of course if you keep checking out that late 70’s photograph. You will likewise see a few more equally important toys in my youth. I will direct your attention to the then desired Mortimer Snerd ventriloquist dummy sitting…patiently…in the decorative chair behind me. Bear in mind this was before I was instilled with an overwhelming fear of dummies. This was naturally before Steven Spielberg delivered 1982’s Poltergeist!
First Atari - Poltergeist

Besides a collection of wind-up toys, something I will admit I was totally captivated by in my youth. We have some of those faithful blue friends, The Smurfs. Going off my memory I want to say that it the three present were Doctor Smurf, Lion Tamer Smurf, and possibly Hang Glider Smurf.
First Atari - Lion Tamer Smurf

Which I am sure you will be more than glad to hear leads us to my first Atari. Finally. So as I have already stated this was a good Christmas. It was all done or so I thought. My Grandmother asked what was that in the Christmas tree. I will admit to not being able to remotely find what had captured her attention. At this point my Father had joined in – trying to direct me to behind the tree where one wrapped gift remained hidden, nestled in the branches. It was small and box shaped, I literally had no idea what it was. Moreover when I ripped off that wrapping paper I discovered I was an owner of Atari’s Missile Command!
Missile Command

I think you can imagine how excited I was, right? The dawning realization that this obviously meant I got my first Atari! In the nearly seven years I have written for The Retroist have I ever let on I was remotely that sharp? I can vividly recall looking at the box and just shrugging my shoulders. I mean this gift was wasted as I of course didn’t own an Atari VCS.

That is when my Grandmother opened a closet door and pulled out a much larger wrapped gift. Heady with the joy of not just the Holiday but the thrill of civilized destruction I tore into the wrapping paper. You can see the absolute joy on my face in that photo, which was snapped by my Grandfather by the way. As much as I loved all of my Star Wars gifts and other presents…my first Atari was the best thing in my eyes.

In addition to Missile Command there was another Atari cart hidden in the tree. That was Adventure, a game I still love to this very day. Very quickly I was sitting in the middle of the living room floor with my Grandmother. After my Father had set up the Atari 2600 to that large television of course. But as you can see from this photograph of my Father and myself…even though he disliked video games in general. The fun of my first Atari was enough to coerce him to join me in game or two of Missile Command!
First Atari - Missile Command

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O/s site by following the link here!

Now that you have learned about my first Atari featuring Missile Command. Perhaps you would like to know another fan of that classic Atari game?


That would of course be none other than Steven Spielberg. Yep. The man responsible for many of our most cherished films as well as instilling a lifelong case of Automatonophobia was also a fan of the 1980 arcade game!