Arcade news is pretty slow at the moment, although in a few days on Arcade Heroes I will have a post up to show off the new graphics update for InJoy Motion’s Allied Tank Attack. It should get the game where it belongs on a graphical level but I will have to wait and see for myself.
Anyways in the meantime I have a new toy for my Atari 8-bit computers (Atari 800XL & XEGS) (more thoughts below the pic):
This is an Atarimax MyIDEII cartridge. While it offers program loading via the CompactFlash card, it comes with a built-in BIOS and MyDOS utilities if I ever wanted to go in deep with the computer. Honestly I’m not sure what that would entail aside from game programming but it is still a nice upgrade. I have dabbled a little bit with Atari programming before but my head just doesn’t wrap around coding very well. I can plan out games beyond just the “good idea” phase, so it would be nice to code them up myself so maybe I’ll take another stab at it down the road. With the CF this becomes an SSD for any Atari computer I happen to have, it can load different types of images although I have not had any success in getting .ATR (disk drive images) to load yet. It’s supposed to be able to do that but I need to figure out the configuration. I also can’t get cassette images to load but fortunately most everything is available in a format that will work on stock hardware.
This lets me enjoy a lot of the library that I played as a kid. I have a bunch of floppy disks in storage but last time I tried to use them the 1050 disk drive wasn’t working very well. I do have a SIO2PC cable, which turns your PC into a virtual disk drive but it is serial port based and newer PC OSes hate serial devices so I wan’t having any luck with that. Anyways this is also allowing me to introduce the library to my kids, who are about the same age that I was when I first used an 800XL at my friend’s house. My son really likes Q*Bert, Qix, Alley Cat, Ninja, & Pitfall II (he likes that on the 2600 as well, they are pretty much the same thing) so far. While playing Alley Cat I remembered that I had a friend who was a huge fan of the game back in the 80s and we played it on the PC DOS of the time, with those horrid 4-color CGA graphics. The Atari version is definitely much better in that department and it sounds better on the real thing than in emulation.
One gem I have discovered after filling up the card with some content is a recent title by someone named XXL called Ridiculous Reality. It is a very interesting puzzle/logic game concept where you have the screens divided up between a few or several slides. You can move the slides around by holding the button down and this allows you to access other areas by lining the rooms up. Normally I wouldn’t care for these sliding puzzles but this did the concept in a unique way that makes it fun. The music is great too. Here is a video of it in action, it does look better on real hardware+CRT TV of course (less pixellation than is seen here)
I also managed to clear Ninja (Mastertronic) this morning. This is one of those games that I don’t really get tired of, just trying to best myself. Thanks to the randomization of items and enemies it stays interesting as you go through it to see how you can do. It also has one of the most catchy tunes in a ninja game from the era. An arcade version of this was released back in the 80s using Amiga hardware but it is very difficult to find. I would love to find one and set it up in the arcade. While it probably wouldn’t do better than something like Donkey Kong, I imagine it would outearn Mars Matrix (which makes 50-75¢ a week) or Ninja Gaiden (maybe $2/wk if I am lucky).
I need to download some manuals for a few of the games like Stari Raiders II, Nightshade, The Eidolon and Mountain King. While with most Atari games you can eventually figure out what to do by trial and error, some its better to know what you are dealing with going into it.
One nice thing about these kinds of carts is that they let you sort through some crap too. I tried Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and it shows how lazy Parker Brothers was with that. Much like Activision’s efforts on the Atari computer lines, often times most of the graphics are exactly the same as the Atari 2600 versions. At least with games like Pitfall II they added an extra level but still, they were lazy in the ports. Parker Brothers seems to be much worse by the indication of this port, which has a better hyperwarp screen and a slightly more detailed Death Star and fireballs. That’s about it. I haven’t come across too many stinkers yet as I’ve already sorted through a lot in the past from my disks or the SIO2PC.
Overall it’s a great cart. I can’t really think of anything negative to say about it, unless it ends up like my Cuttle Cart II six months from now (that was an Atari 7800 cart where you plugged an MMC card into it for the same effect; it was very pricey and my cart died after six months, I never have been able to figure out what is wrong, even after replacing some of the surface mounted chips). I just need to figure out how to warm reset the cart to get back into the menu so I don’t have to keep on cold resetting the machine. Either way, if you have an Atari XL/XE computer that you want to game or code on, I would certainly recommend a MyIDE ][ cart!