Dandy, Atari 8-bit

Dandy is an overhead maze shooter for up to four players, created by John Palevich for the Atari Program Exchange in 1983. It is the precursor to Gauntlet, Dark Chambers, and a whole host of other games.

Although Dandy may not look like much, it is in fact a great little game. It is much more difficult and strategic than it looks.

Key to this strategic layer is how the player character fires. Once a bullet (or arrow) has been fired, you can’t fire another until it either hits something, or goes off the screen. Also, certain objects block monsters, and also turn into monsters when shot. This can make things very interesting, and rather than just blasting away recklessly you have to be careful where you shoot.

Dandy is also quite a challenge. There are 26 levels (A to Z), and some of them are relatively hard. The monsters might looks a bit basic, but they certainly come at you with enthusiasm at times – especially when they are being re-spawned by a skull and crossbones generator (the prototype for the monster generators in Gauntlet). So shooting the generators is generally a priority.

It’s easy to write Dandy off because of the graphics, but I urge you not to do that. It is a classic video game and deserves appreciation (in spite of the silly name). It’s even got a built-in level editor, so you could make your own levels if you wanted to.

More: Dandy on Wikipedia

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