New Swordquest Comic

Celebrate Atari Day With The New Swordquest Comic!

It is the 26th of the month. Atari Day is here again and you can totally celebrate it by downloading the new Swordquest comic book. In fact if you hop on over to Comixology you can get the #0 issue of Dynamite Entertainment’s new Swordquest comic book absolutely free.

New Swordquest Comic - Dynamite Comics

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

In the event that you are not aware of Atari’s Swordquest. I will give you a brief summary before talking about the brand new Swordquest comic book series.

Image courtesy of AtariAge.Com

In 1982 Atari released the first of four planned Swordquest titles with Earthworld. More than just an epic adventure/puzzle series the goal was to solve a riddle – one that could lead you to laying your hands on the Talisman of Penultimate Truth. A real life piece of jewelry worth $25,000!

Image courtesy of the 2600Connection.Com

To aid with the solving of the puzzles, Players received a DC comic book. Written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway as well as being illustrated by George Perez with inking by Dick Giordano. The book introduced Players to the twins Tarra and Torr – two thieves of noble blood. Furthermore throughout the comic they are set on the path to retrieve not only the Talisman of Penultimate Truth but the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery.
New Swordquest Comic - The Sword of Ultimate Sorcery

Players would navigate minigames to reach rooms in Earthworld, based on the zodiac. Moreover when figuring out what items were needed in said rooms, a message would appear.

That message directed Players to a hidden word in a panel of the Swordquest comic book. In this case for example, the Player would turn to page 25 and look closely at panel 6 for the hidden word.

Image Courtesy of AtariAge.Com

At the end of the day there were 5,000 entries for Earthworld. In fact a mere 8 were correct. Then after a special competition in 1983 between those 8 Players, it was Steven Bell who earned the talisman!

For further information on Steven Bell as well the fate of the Swordquest game series. You might wish to read Could You Have Won The Talisman of Penultimate Truth?

So it has been 33 years since a new Swordquest comic has been released. As well as the fact this new series isn’t a continuation of the saga of Torr and Tara. Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers have instead set their story in the real world. With the plight of Peter Case, a 45-year-old man who is delivered a nasty blow by fate.

New Swordquest Comic - Peter Case

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

Forced to move back in with his Mother, Peter is reminded of his all-consuming passion for the Swordquest games. Remembering how two of his childhood friends, Alvin and Amy Perez, stood by his side in an attempt to solve the riddles. All three using their imagination as they played the Atari 2600 games. However the video game crash of 1983 put a halt to their dreams of the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery.

New Swordquest Comic - Peter and Friends

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

Sims and Bowers have done an incredible job of making Peter a relatable character. You are going to feel for him I am sure. And as the first issue of the new Swordquest comic ends it appears that Case…is on a new quest. One fueled by nostalgia and second chances.

New Swordquest Comic - Peter's Guide

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

The artwork for the new Swordquest series is handled by Scott Kowalchuk. Who you might know especially from his work on the Batman ’66 comic series. I have a feeling that the story for this series will remain firmly in reality. With the magic of the original DC Comics being replaced in fact with the gift of nostalgia to these new characters.

In addition this is actually the first wave of Atari related comic books from Dynamite. Coming in July is none other than Centipede!

Image courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.

So hop on over to Comixology to get your free issue. Or better yet take an epic journey to your favorite comic book shop and pick up a physical copy for a mere twenty-five cents. Can you think of a better way to celebrate Atari Day?

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 site by following the link here!

Now that you know about the new Swordquest comic why not check out Earthworld in action?

[Via] High Retro Game Lord

Wings

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.
booster-grip-atari-2600-cbs-electronics

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!
space-shuttle-overlay-atariage

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.


space-shuttle-manual-2-atariage

[Via] High Retro Game Lord

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

tempest
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 AtariProtos.com.

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.