Classic Games

My, now classic, games are for the Atari 2600, and Atari 400/800. While there were a few ported to other platforms, the best versions run on Ataris.

The reason for this is that I designed them specifically with specialized features that Atari had and no other platform could emulate.

They were all written in 6502 assembly except Mindwheel which was a compiled byte code interpreter.

 


SUICIDE MISSION
Created in 1981

I created this while reverse engineering the Atari 2600 for Starpath. This is the result of many ideas and experiments from myself, Stephen Landrum, and Scott Nelson. The game took about four months to create, and ended up totaling about 4k of code and data. Hand optimized and tweaked 6502 assembly. This was the summer that the 6502 opcode set became burned into my memory. (A9 0, 60)

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SLIME
Created in 1982

This was a take over project for the Atari 400/800. The original coder decided that making games wasn’t his bag, so he bailed. I was working on Fort Apocalypse at the time, and the designer, Ihor Wolosenko, asked me to take over. I ended up starting the code over, using only a small fragment of the graphics. This ended up being a fun game to code. Lots of cool sound programming. All told, this project took about four months and 8k of code and data.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Slime © 1995 Steve Hales

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FORT APOCALYPSE
Created in 1982

This idea came to me in a dream the summer before I saw Choplitfer. If you remember,1981 was the failed helicopter mission to rescue people from the Iranian US embassy during the last days of the Carter Administration. Probably a connection, and I suspect Dan Gorlin had the same dream.

Check out this niffty t-shirt.

Here's a review of that last version ported to J2ME mobile phones via PocketGamer.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Fort Apocalypse © 1995, 2007 Steve Hales

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DIMENSION X
Created in 1983

This was a graphics special effect created by Stephen Landrum. He had no interest in creating a game for it, so he passed it along to me. Some days in the following year I wished he had never done that. This turned out to be the hardest game design I’ve ever created. Mainly because of the limits to the design imposed by the forced perspective nature of the effect. The design is my take on the old ‘Trek‘ games of the time.

Atari 400/800 emulators are plentiful now. The best one on Mac OSX is Atari800MacX which is a port of David Firth’s fantastic Atari 800 Emulator. It can be found here. Follow links from there for other platforms.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

Dimension X © 1995 Steve Hales

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MINDWHEEL
Created in 1983/1984

This was a mind-blowing experience, and in fact my first experience with many computer science concepts that are commonplace now: Object oriented programming, Virtual Machines, AI, language processing, and cross platform coding. High-level operating systems. This was a team of people, in which I was the lead for this title. I worked with William Mataga, Bill Darrah, and David Bunch, while Robert Pinsky wrote the story, approved of all text changes, and generally inspired a sense of whimsy into this game. This was the first game I was involved in that could surprise me with its actions during game play.

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