Jeff Minter‘s Matrix: Gridrunner 2 was unfortunately re-titled and marketed as “Attack of the Mutant Camels” for the Atari 8-bit North American market, which causes considerable confusion about this game even now. I’m sticking with the original titles, to avoid confusion, for the HESWare re-titled versions of Matrix.
Jeff Minter‘s early grass-cutting maze game, Hover Bovver, was first released by Llamasoft in 1983 for both Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit systems. Both versions are fairly pointless points-scoring exercises with gameplay and maze layouts that don’t really make much sense.
Jeff Minter‘s affinity for Atari 8-bit computers meant that it was inevitable that the machine would get a version of his game, Gridrunner. Which it did in 1983.
The Atari 8-bit version of Attack of the Mutant Camels came out simultaneously with the Commodore 64 version, in 1983, and is pretty much the same game, but with a few graphical tweaks.
Jeff Minter‘s 1982 Atari 8-bit game, Turboflex, is an interesting but frustrating bouncing ball game where the aim is for you to deliberately bounce a ball into a target inside a box by dropping flippers onto it – diagonal posts that spin the ball in different directions, depending on its position when hit by the ball. The target, depending on your game settings, moves, reverses or does other tricks, so as not to get hit/caught by you.
I was hoping that the Atari 8-bit version of Rogue might be better than the other 8-bit versions (or at least a balance between the awful C64 version and the half-decent Amstrad version), but I was hoping for too much – especially as it’s another Mastertronic “special” (ie. a good example of a publisher not giving a sh*t about what they released).
Boulder Dash co-creator Peter Liepa created Boulder Dash II on Atari 8-bit machines first, before converting it to the Commodore 64. He’s said openly in interviews that he prefers Atari‘s machine when it comes to programming games, so it should come as no surprise to find arguably the best version of Boulder Dash II on the Atari 8-bit.
As far as I know, though, it was only released in North America as part of the “Super Boulder Dash” package from Electronic Arts (alongside a re-release of the first Boulder Dash). The Atari 8-bit version was never released as a stand-alone game. At least not by First Star Software.
Jumpman Junior is the Atari 8-bit cartridge version of Randy Glover‘s classic 8-bit platform game, Jumpman. It was first published by Epyx in 1983.
Since the game came on cartridge the number of levels has been reduced, down to 12, but they are at least all-new levels and not recycled levels from the disk version.
Based on the classic 1983 ZX Spectrum game by Mervyn Escourt, Deathchase XE is an Atari 8-bit remake first released in 2013. It is a first-person bike shooting game where the aim is to speed through a forest full of trees, shooting enemy bikers, helicopters and tanks, while at the same time avoiding collisions with arboreal obstacles that come zooming towards you.