Do You Remember Wings For The Atari 2600?

Wings was an 1983 game intended to be released on the Atari 2600. I say intended as while you might remember seeing the TV ad online – it was never released. Programmed by Stuart Ross for CBS Electronics. The Video Game Crash of ’83 scuttled it’s release. I have to say that judging by the television commercial it looks to have been rather in-depth.

[Via] Retro Commercial Forever

As you could see from the TV ad. You would have had to keep an eye on the various gauges of your aircraft. Power, Altitude, Airspeed, Fuel, in addition to the Compass, Radar, and Artificial Horizon.
Wings - Gauges

Wings was designed to be played using the Booster Grip. A device that would slip over your standard joystick. It would plug into the 2600 unit and give a player two buttons to operate. One button would control the engine throttle with the second button required to engage your weapons system. However I can’t say whether the third button – the one on the base of the joystick would have any use.

As was pointed out in the ad, the game had the addition of RAM Plus, which is how it was able to include so many features. RAM Plus was an additional chip on the cartridge board that would give the 2600 game more memory. Letting Stuart add those extra bells and whistles.

[Via] hyperspinbrasil

Here is an excerpt of an interview with Stuart Ross from Scott Stilphen of Digital Press.
“The game was basically finished (although marketing wanted clouds added…which were never implemented). We were about 2 weeks from having Wings ROMS manufactured when CBS pulled the plug. They even had some promotional material ready (hats and scarves), as well as a TV spot!”

Definitely make sure to follow that link to the full interview on DP for more about Wings. Furthermore when you hop on over you will get to see a bit of awesome behind the scenes photos. Of the development of not just Wings but Tunnel Runner. As well as the RAM Plus chips and even some of the merchandise Ross mentioned in that quote!

While the game was shelved before release – two prototypes have surfaced. Back in 2004 the prototypes were found and while buggy you could at least get a feel for what the finished product would have been like. Moreover if you would care to try the game for yourself, you can locate it on the Internet Archive!

What about other flight simulators for the Atari 2600 other than Wings?

I definitely wish that Stuart’s game could have seen the light of day – that it could have been completed. On the other hand I don’t think we should forget the most challenging flight simulator for the Atari 2600. Released in 1983 by Activision and programmed by Steve Kitchen was the amazing Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space. A game that required an overlay for the 2600 unit itself as all switches were used during gameplay!

Seriously. Check out the instructions for flying the Space Shuttle – courtesy of AtariAge!

Overlay and Manual Images courtesy of AtariAge.

Overlay and Manual Images courtesy of AtariAge.


[Via] High Retro Game Lord

After 29 Years…You Can Finally Buy Tempest For Your Atari 5200!

About three weeks ago the always impressive AtariAge made available a port of the classic arcade game Tempest for the Atari 5200! Follow the link provided to secure your own copy from AtariAge. Another exciting bit of news is that cartridge was cancelled back in the day but in 1999 the prototype was found and the original programmer, Keithen Hayenga, finished up the job he started 29 years earlier.

From the Press Release: “The hit Atari coin-op finally comes home in this exciting and challenging 3-D game for your Atari 5200 System. You control the “Blaster”, patrolling the rim of an electric “tube” playfield, in a constant battle with the myriad enemies that are making their way up the tube’s rails.

Your enemies are fast, varied and devious. Each class of enemy has its own special attack. All you have are your wits, your Blaster and your devastating, but limited, SUPER ZAPPER. Destroy every enemy and you will warp through the liberated tube, on to an even more challenging one.

Tempest was Atari’s first color vector arcade game, released to arcades in 1980. Known for its frantic, addictive gameplay, Tempest was one of Atari’s most successful vector arcade games. Versions of Tempest were being developed for Atari’s 2600 and 5200 game consoles, but they were never completed or released commercially. A box for the 5200 version of Tempest is actually visible in the 1984 movie Cloak & Dagger.

For 15 years, the existence of an Atari 5200 version of Tempest was thought to be only myth. No prototypes had ever surfaced. A crude 2600 version had come to light, along with a prototype box. Then, in 1999, an unfinished working 5200 prototype appeared on eBay. The game was eventually dumped and the binary freely distributed around the Internet. Another decade has gone by since the game’s discovery, and the original Atari 5200 Tempest programmer, Keithen Hayenga, worked to complete Tempest so it could finally see the light of day in completed form!

You can read about the “unfinished” 5200 prototype on

Additional Information

Tempest 5200 includes the game cartridge with glossy label, twelve page full-color, glossy manual, professionally offset printed box using chipboard paper stock, and cartridge insert to keep the cartridge in place. Only 250 boxed copies of Tempest will be produced! After that, the game will be sold without the box. If you want a boxed copy of the game, don’t wait too long!”

Number of Players 1 – 2
Controller Atari 5200 Joystick Controller or Atari 5200 Trak-Ball Controller
Cartridge Size 32K
Programming Keithen Hayenga
Additional Programming Ken Van Mersbergen, Dennis Debro
Graphics Michael Kosaka
Box, Manual, and Label Design George Reese, David Exton

Wizard Of Wor – CBS Challenge Of The Champions Commercial (1982)

I can almost recall seeing this commercial for the CBS Challenge of the Champions with John Madden for the Atari 2600 from back in my youth. Thanks to Scottith Games over on YouTube for loading this up for all of us to enjoy.

Scottith added this bit of info: “It’s very possible that CBS’s first 2 releases (Gorf and Wizard of Wor) were developed by Gabriel Industries, who subcontracted it out to Roklan Corp. Gabriel was a toy company owned by CBS, as they are the only carts labeled as such . Later titles were done by CBS Video Games, which was a division of Gabriel Industries.

The magazine ad showed high scores from Buz Pryzby and Frank Merollo. Buz Pryzby was actually CBS programmer Ed Pryzby, though it’s unknown whether either Ed or Frank helped program it. CBS offered a small medal for scoring X number of points.”

A big thanks to AtariAge for that awesome box art you see up top.

Box Art: Xevious Atari 7800 (1988)

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Xevious, even back in my youth when I would try to last more than a minute while playing it in the arcades. I still feel it was way too hard, not a Donkey Kong level of difficulty perhaps…but still a tough one.

I will say this though, the Atari 7800 port of the title has some really nice box artwork!

[Via] AtariAge

As I’ve stated before I sadly never owned an Atari 7800 but this video by Machines2jeux makes it look like a fairly nice port.

Xevious by the way was never released to the Atari 2600 or Atari 5200 home gaming systems. I find that odd.

Box Art: Omega Race – Atari 2600 (1983)

As I was busy searching for a particularly nasty program on the Game Grid last night I came across this wonderful piece of Box Art for Omega Race, this is the Atari 2600 port of the arcade game, which was programmed by Ron Haliburton and released by Midway to the arcades back in 1981.

[Via] AtariAge

Omega Race was apparently the only Vector Graphics title that Midway released but I’ll be honest, I never bumped into in any of the local arcades in my neck of the woods. Home ports of the game were also released to the Colecovision, VIC-20, and the Commodore 64. So far Midway has failed to include Omega Race in any of it’s Midway Arcade Treasure collections.

The Atari 2600 port also included a free “Booster-Grip” Joystick Adaptor to aid in a closer feel of the arcade game, a button for firing the ships lasers and the second button for thrust.

Judging from this video it looks like a simple but fun game, feels a little like Asteroids.

[Via] High Retro GameLord 89 over on YouTube!