Sorry about the long delay in posts, it has been super busy especially as I have been working on a new arcade book which means that free time tends to go there. Or on farming weapons in EDF2025 as my son is prone to demand if he sees me not doing anything.
Game news has also been sorta slow, at least for what I care to talk about. Nothing really coming along for any of the big systems that I can think of. I did get Runbow (WiiU) to play with friends but it’s a party game so not something you spend back-to-back days on really.
So in the meantime I just caught this very cool development that is in the works for the Atari 7800 by the name of Bullet Festival. As the 7800 was created to be a sprite pushing machine (for its time), one area it was really under-served in back-in-the-day was shoot ’em ups. As you will see from this WIP video, it looks like some big opportunities were missed in making the machine the home for scrolling shooter games:
As I have mentioned in the past on the blog here, I am excited to see new and original developments for the old ProSystem. The library was never huge (only around 60 games) and among that it had a high percentage of arcade ports: Asteroids, Centipede, Commando, Crossbow, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Double Dragon, Food Fight, Galaga, Hat Trick, Ikari Warriors, Joust, Kung Fu Master, Mario Bros., Mat Mania Challenge, Ms. Pac-Man, Pole Position II, Rampage, Robotron 2084, Xenophobe and Xevious – games like KLAX, Paperboy, Pit Fighter, Rampart and Toki were in development for it but went unreleased. It also had a few ports of games that existed on either Atari computers or the Commodore 64.
Since a nice chunk of the library was arcade ports, a lot of present 7800 fans have demanded ports of as many 80s arcade games as are possible to the console. That demand means they have got them. At this point, post official releases created by intelligent homebrewers have included: Armor Attack II, Asteroids Deluxe, Astro Blaster, a Breakout-like game, Burgertime, Crazy Otto, Frenzy, Frogger, Jr. Pac-Man, Moon Cresta, Pac-Man, Q*Bert, Rip Off, Scramble, Space Duel, Space Invaders, Super Pac-Man and some others – Defender is in the works too. I don’t mean to be a jerk and diminish the hard work that went into making those ports, as I can’t manage coding, just design. I understand that in various cases they were used to help the coder learn the quirks of the difficult 7800 hardware. But where the library was already strong on the port side for a relatively small library, I think we are pretty well rounded out now. The point is well proven that the system could handle pretty much anything from the early 80s, games which you can easily play in MAME or find at a local retrocade/barcade that stocks the classics.
I’m much more excited about games like Bullet Festival, ReZolve, or Crystal Quest. If it came down to being a port, I would be interested in seeing 7800 takes on 2600 games like Yars Revenge, Adventure, Star Raiders (well, that was more Atari 400/800/5200) since those games have only been featured on less powerful hardware. Either way, Bullet Festival is looking like there is plenty of space to grow for scrollign shoot ’em ups.