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ATARI BYTES

Remember those great Atari 2600 games? Sure, they were fun to play, but didn't you ever wonder why they needed to call a plumber to take out Donkey Kong? What exactly Yar was seeking revenge against? What the Defender was defending? What was making those robots so Beserk? Me too! ATARI BYTES is a game review podcast like no other. On this show, we take a BYTE (get it?) out of a classic Atari 2600 game and see if the story within the game BYTES (now do you get it?) us back.
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Remember those great Atari 2600 games? Sure, they were fun to play, but didn't you ever wonder why they sent a plumber to take out Donkey Kong? What Yar was seeking revenge against? What the Defender was defending or why those robots went Berserk? Me too! ATARI BYTES is a game review podcast like no other. We review not just the game play, but the STORY within these classic games. We take a BYTE out of the story (get it?) and see if that story BYTES us back (now do you get it?).

Jul 31, 2016
EPISODE 28: ATLANTIS

This week, we go above and beyond by going under the sea to defend the lost city of Atlantis from annihilation by the Gorgons. Make your old high school Greek mythology teacher stop regretting her life choices and actually use some of that stuff she taught you.

Who knew the Loch Ness Monster could kick butt so righteously? * And Not-Dead Elvis is deadly on the sentry post.**

*The Loch Ness Monster does not actually appear in this game.

**Him either.***

***OR DO THEY?

 

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Inompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

The Atari Bytes Patreon page.

Get cool Atari Bytes stuff at Zazzle.com - AB_Pod_Store

 

Jul 24, 2016
EPISODE 27: STAR TREK: STRATEGIC OPERATIONS SIMULATOR

This week on the podcast, we boldly bravely cluelessly go where no one has gone before!

That's right, in honor of the new Trek film out this summer, Star Trek: Beyond, we slingshot around the sun to go back in time to 1983 and check out the Sega game STAR TREK: STRATEGIC OPERATIONS SIMULATOR. So beam yourself up to this episode and enjoy it at warp factor 10.*

*I'm stopping here to avoid any more Trek references. It's the logical thing to do. (Darn it!)

Bill Kendrick's XEGS Podcast Atari Party

The Atari Bytes Patreon Page

The Atari Bytes store on Zazzle.com

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

 

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Jul 17, 2016
EPISODE 26: GHOSTBUSTERS

We came. We saw. We kicked its...Well, you know.

In 1984, GHOSTBUSTERS left an indelible, Mr. Stay Pufft-sized, footprint on comedy/adventure movies. With the new 2016 Ghostbusters finally out, this seemed like a good time to revisit the 1985 Activision take on the Ghostbusters universe. Does the game live up to the film? To find out, who you gonna call?

PODCASTERS!

(The management requests that you please don't slime the podcasters)

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

The Atari Party is happening July 30! Book your trip now.

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The AB_Pod_Store at Zazzle.com

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

 

Jul 10, 2016
EPISODE 25: BURGERTIME

BURGERTIME was one of my favorite video games as a kid...when it was on the Intellivision.

But no matter! Atari Burgertime is cool too! Homicidal human-sized hot dogs, massive walking eggs and severely erect breadsticks want to kill our man Chef Peter Pepper, apparently, because he keeps walking all over the giant hamburgers this restaurant serves. As the chef, armed only with a pepper shaker and, we're guessing, clogged arteries, you have to dodge the junk food and stay alive long enough to finish building your hamburgers. It's DELICIOUS fun!

Bill Kendrick's Atari Party

Atari Bytes website

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons license to his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

Get cool Atari Bytes stuff at Zazzle.com

Jul 3, 2016
EPISODE 24: COSMIC ARK

If the ark is a-rockin', don't bother knockin'...

On episode 24, the 1982 iMagic game COSMIC ARK is our focus. You pilot your ship, the Cosmic Ark, into a solar system where the sun is about to go nova, blast away bombarding meteors and then deploy shuttleships equipped with tractor beams to scoop up the creatures below and whisk them off to safety. It's like poor man's Star Trek, only not, because that would be trademark infringement.

Bill Kendrick's Atari Party

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons license to his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Zazzle.com store

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

Jun 26, 2016
EPISODE 23: SURROUND

This week we look at Atari's 1978 game SURROUND.

Yep, there it is.

This...strategy game, I guess? pits you against the computer or your opponent to see which one of you can paint lines on the screen faster to box the other player in. The graphics are rudimentary; the gameplay simple (though addictive). There are no characters, dialogue, back story or even stakes. PERFECT for a story-based, game review podcast.

I must have been crazy to pick this one. Clearly I'm unwell. Have pity and give it a listen. Thanks!

The Atari Party sponsored by the XEGS Podcast.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons license to his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Our Zazzle.com AB_Pod_Store for cool Atari Bytes merchandise

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

 

Jun 19, 2016
EPISODE 22: KOOL-AID MAN

SUMMERTIME! AND THE LIVING IS EASY!  The gameplay, on the other hand...not so much.

KOOL-AID MAN, 1983 from Mattel Electronics, is our focus this week. This game is basically the video equivalent of my six-year-old after a Tootsie Roll. The Thirsties are running around ruining your pool party by drinking all the water. Kool-Aid Man is running around like a maniac trying to stop them. It's like you and your kid at your kid's birthday party. The sugar rush keeps the game going until all at once it's over and you just feel a little light-headed and tired. Drink up!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons license to his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring."

Bill Kendrick at the XEGS Podcast told us about the Atari Party.

Atari Bytes

Support the show on our Patreon Page.

Find cool Atari Bytes merchandise at Zazzle.com. Type in "Atari Bytes" or go to our store AB_Pod_Store

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown!

Jun 12, 2016

This week on the podcast, we're MAD!  No, we're not angry. That's MAD as in Mutually Assured Destruction - the Cold War thory that no country would fire nuclear missiles at another country because that would bring about a counter attack and no one on the planet would survive. In the game, on Zardon, the planet in question, you control a small arsenal of missiles to fend off of an interplanetary air attack. Will you be able to defend your planet's right to exist?

LINKS:

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Party

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for the creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring".

The Zazzle.com store AB_Pod_Store

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

Jun 5, 2016
EPISODE 20: FIRE FIGHTER

Maybe you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, but you can yell it all you want in Imagic's 1982 game FIRE FIGHTER, which is our focus on this week's episode.

You can stop yelling now.

This is an intense (ish) game of man against the elements (well, one element - namely FIRE) battling against time to rescue a desperate victim.

Okay, seriously, you can stop yelling now. Sheesh.

More info about the Atari Party here.

The Atari Bytes website.

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Patreon Page

Our Zazzle.com store AB_Pod_Store

May 29, 2016
EPISODE 19: BERZERK

This game is so crazy, it needed to employ a "z" in the name, instead of the ordinary "s". Emotionless robots and maniacal, smiling evil-doers seek to destroy you. It's much like American politics. But unlike in politics where only the third rail is a dangerous place to be., in this game, the very walls that imprison you are electrified. And fighting to get out will make you...well, you know.

Bill Kendrick's Atari Party

The Wallpaper Cave has some cool Atari wallpapers.

Like my words, but can't stand my voice. I blog too! (Occasionally) Check out a new post here.

Like my words and my voice, but not so darn often. Then check out my monthly podcast It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown.

Support us at our Patreon page or by shopping at our Zazzle Store.

May 22, 2016
EPISODE 18: PITFALL!

The exclamation point in the game title is well deserved! This week on the podcast, we look at Pitfall!, a 1982 game from legendary game designer Activision!  Awesome! (I just can't stop with the exclamation points!)

This game is all about quicksand and alligators and swinging from tree to tree like Tarzan. Grab your pith helmet, loin cloth and joystick and jump into this high-flying jungle adventure. The treasure is just waiting for you!

Here's the interview with Pitfall! game designer David Crane at Arcade Attack.

Bill Kendrick's (XEGS Podcast) Atari Party info.

Show music - "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring" - was provided courtesy of creative commons license from Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com

Support the show at our Patreon page.

Get cool stuff at our Zazzle.com AB_Pod_Store

Not sick of my voice yet? Check out my other show. It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown.

 

May 15, 2016
EPISODE 17: SNOOPY & THE RED BARON

Good grief! This week's episode is Atari's 1983 game SNOOPY & THE RED BARON! High flying adventure with Snoopy AND seemingly endless machine gun fire? I'll drink (root beer) to that!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for the creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring."

You can support the show at Patreon and Zazzle.

Check out my other show: It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

 

May 8, 2016
EPISODE 16: WARLORDS

This week's game is Atari's 1981 classic: WARLORDS. And this week's theme is ...family.

Parents, man.

You and your brothers are goofing around, innocently catapaulting fireballs at each other when your dad, ruler of the land, gets in your face being all kingly and banishes you to the forbidden lands. But you guys get bored easy so you each pick a corner to barricade yourselves in and fling lightning balls at each other. King Dad always warned if you didn't stop you'd end up imprisoned in endless battle for all eternity inside an Atari game cartridge. But what do parents know? The 'rents are so stupid.

Or ARE they?

Bill Kendrick's Atari Party.

The Atari Bytes Zazzle store AB_Pod_Store

The Atari Bytes Patreon page.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for Creative Commons use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring".

 

 

May 1, 2016
EPISODE 15: BARNSTORMING

If you think a "barnstormer" is what a stormtrooper becomes after leaving the Empire to work a moisture farm on Tatooine, you need to listen to this episode.

This week's game is BARNSTORMING. Activision goes down on the farm and up in the air all at once in this 1982 plane-flying adventure. Test your reflexes and your nerves as you maneuver your bi-plane over windmills and through barns, all the while asking yourself: "Why am I doing this?" And then you smash into the south end of a north-flying goose. It's kind of like life, really.

Want to know more about the Atari Party? Go here.

The Atari Bytes Patreon page.

Get AB stuff at Zazzle.

 

Apr 24, 2016
EPISODE 14: AMIDAR

On EPISODE 14 of ATARI BYTES, we down some of the leftover 'shrooms from the Centipede episode, indulge in some peyote and wash it all down with a bottle of Jack and...Oh, wait. No actually, we just played AMIDAR. But that does even weirder things to your brain.

Gorillas that want to paint while being chased by WILD warriors that really just look like boogers. Gorillas that turn INTO PAINT ROLLERS and are pursued by pigs. That's the game.

No, we're not kidding. We couldn't make this up. But there's some OTHER stuff we could...listen to find out what sort of story we can possibly cobble together from this madness.

Here's where you go to find out about Atari Party.

Here's the Atari Bytes Patreon page.

Here's the Atari Bytes Zazzle store.

 

Apr 17, 2016
EPISODE 13: TURMOIL

This game is TURMOIL-ISH!

TURMOIL-SOME!

TURMOIL-U-TUOUS!

Lookit, there's lots of turmoil in this 1982 20th Century Fox game. With weird creatures that look like tanks, UFO's, pink tie-fighters and Andes candies, we're not sure if this game is a space alien shooting gallery or the weird office cubicle fever dream you might experience after inhaling copier toner all day.

Find out more about the Atari Party in California here.

If you can, donate to the show on Patreon.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for the creative commons license to his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes is a Carnival of Glee Creation.

Apr 16, 2016
ATARI BYTES IS NOW ON PATREON!

A podcast like Atari Bytes is a lot of fun to make and, I hope, a lot of fun to listen to.

However, that fun comes with a sizeable commitment of time and resources. The host services, storage and games are not free. And as the show grows and we try to do more things, those costs will grow too.  

And so, I made the decision to put Atari Bytes on Patreon. Here. A lot of you probably know how Patreon works. It's kind of like an Internet tip jar. If you like a thing - such as this podcast - you can go to Patreon and leave a tip or donation or hush money or whatever you want to call it. It can either be a one time thing or an ongoing one. It's just another way for you to say "Thanks, Bill. Keep it up." But its also a way to help offset some of those expenses I mentioned so that we can try more things with the show.

I'm going to keep doing the show for as long as I can whether you go to Patreon or not. But if you can, I'll really, really appreciate it.

Thanks.

 

 

 

Apr 10, 2016
EPISODE 12: POLE POSITION

DRIVERS, START YOUR ENGINES!

Seriously, you can't drive if you don't start the car, doofus.

Atari's 1983 POLE POSITION, a formula one Grand Prix racing game, is our focus this week. How can we make a story out of little more than a race car on a track? Listen and find out! The finest twenty-two minutes of a man alphabetizing his toothpaste collection you'll ever hear.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons license to use his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat" and "Pinball Spring".

Go here to get more info about this summer's Atari Party.

Here's our Patreon page

Apr 3, 2016
EPISODE 11: CENTIPEDE

PASS THE 'SHROOMS, MAN!

Atari goes down on the farm in this episode. Atari's CENTIPEDE from 1982 is our topic.  While other elves are out fighting wars and hanging with Hobbits on epic quests, your poor little elf Oliver is stuck tending a mushroom farm. If that isn't bad enough, you're being pummeled by giant centipedes, scorpions, spiders and FLEAS.

No one would blame you if you used that magic wand to teleport yourself out of here. But no! That's not the Atari way. On this farm, we beat our swords into plowshares...then use those plowshares to beat the holy crap out of anyone who messes with our 'shrooms. Nobody messes with our 'shrooms. NOBODY.

Does the story hold up? Are the steaks, er stakes, er mushrooms clearly defined? Pull up a toadstool and we'll figure it out.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for the creative commons use of his songs "Pinball Spring", "Reformat" and "Take a Chance".

Here's a link to Bill Kendrick's Atari Party info.

 

Apr 2, 2016

When we talk about the story within the games on ATARI BYTES, we approach it as if we are analyzing a piece of literature. Every story basically has five points: Introduction, where the setup happens; the rising action (building up to the big reveal); the climax (te high point of the story), the falling action (where the story winds down); and the resolution or denouement (how the story is wrapped up)

If you charted it, it might look like this:

                                                       CLIMAX

                                                    /              \

                                                   /                \

                           RISING ACTION                    FALLING ACTION

                          /                                           \

                        /                                               \

INTRODUCTION                                                   RESOLUTION (DENOUEMENT)

Mar 27, 2016
EPISODE 10: ASTEROIDS

In Cosmic Space Patrol, "roid rage isn't a failing, it's a job requirement.

On a routine patrol, your ship is beset by a monster asteroid storm. Even armed with photon torpedoes and hyperdrive, will you have the quick reflexes to survive?

Well, no. You only get so many ships and the game will end eventually. But in the meantime, you've got a job to do. Cosmic Space Patrol is a cruel mistress, but she's the only one for you. Why is that? Well, that's the story within the game part and we have thoughts. If we didn't, this would be a really short episode. 

Be vigilant, Space Cadet.

Here's more info about Bill Kendrick's Atari Party

Here's the link to the Ms. Pac-Man article I talked about in the show. Click Me.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance."

Mar 20, 2016
EPISODE 9: SUPERMAN

IT'S A BIRD! IT'S A PLANE! IT'S A PODCASTER! Er, I mean, IT'S SUPERMAN!

That's an easy mistake to make.

This week's game is the 1979 Atari game Superman. Will Superman defeat Lex Luthor? Will he save Lois Lane from the evil (?) helicopter? Or will he be left powerless by the kryptonite satellites?

There's a whole lot of plot in this game - and the story within an Atari game is this podcast's KRYPTONITE (See what I did there? That's why I have a show.) Join me, won't you? Metropolis needs us.

The songs you hear in the show - "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring" - are courtesy of creative commons license from Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com

Find out more about the Atari Party at http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/atariparty/

 

Mar 13, 2016
EPISODE 8: MS. PAC-MAN

Why send a Pac-MAN to do a job when Ms. Pac-Man can do it so much better? Episode 8's game is Atari's 1982 version of Arcade legend MS. PAC-MAN. The gameplay does not disappoint. It looks and sounds about as close to the arcade version as you could get. Sure, the artwork in the manual has Ms. Pac-Man wearing thigh high boots and crimson lipstick, but, then, so am I.

Ahem.

As always, we'll go beyond the fun of merely playing to dig into the story within the game. Is Ms. Pac-Man looking to pick up where Pac-Man left off? Is she looking for revenge? Is she totally unrelated to Pac-Man an just shares a name because "Pac-Man" is as common a name in their universe as "Smith" is in ours?

So many questions. You just better listen.

The songs you hear in the show - "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring" -are courtesy of creative commons license from Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com

Find out more about the Atari Party at http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/atariparty/

Check out the XEGS Cart by Cart Podcast at http://www.xegs8bit.com

 

 

 

Mar 6, 2016
EPISODE 7: PAC-MAN

Feeling a little warm? Aching for an adrenalin rush? Does the echoing siren call of wanna-wanna-wanna drone in your brain?

YOU'VE GOT PAC-MAN FEVER, BABY! And this week on the podcast, so do we.  This 1981 Atari version of the iconic arcade classic is the focus of our story-telling gamer scrutiny.

For more about the movie "Pac-Man: Come Out to Play" from Australian filmmakers Fury Fingers, talked about in this episode, go to www.ausretrogamer.com/fury-fingers-pac-man-come-out-to-play

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for the use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring".

 

Feb 28, 2016
EPISODE 6: CIRCUS ATARI

OH, THE CLOWN-MANITY! In this 1980 Atari game, clown after clown face-plants under the Big Top trying to bounce off a trampoline onto a teeter-totter. After then leaping from the teeter-totter and popping some balloons, you, player, are supposed to catch them. But you can't. Because you stink at this game. Or maybe...it's serial clown murder. Either way, this is good, family, slaughter-fun. Pass the circus peanuts and let's do this.

WARNING: At about the ten minute-thirty-eight-second mark, I more or less spoil the ending to Stephen King's DARK TOWER novel series. It seemed like a good idea at the time. You might want to skip from about 10:37 to 10:47. Sorry.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for the use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat" and "Pinball Spring".

 

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