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