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?).

May 1, 2016

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

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

This game is TURMOIL-ISH!



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 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

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.





Apr 10, 2016


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 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


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 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:


                                                    /              \

                                                   /                \

                           RISING ACTION                    FALLING ACTION

                          /                                           \

                        /                                               \

INTRODUCTION                                                   RESOLUTION (DENOUEMENT)

Mar 27, 2016

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 for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance."

Mar 20, 2016


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

Find out more about the Atari Party at


Mar 13, 2016

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.


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

Find out more about the Atari Party at

Check out the XEGS Cart by Cart Podcast at




Mar 6, 2016

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

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


Feb 28, 2016

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'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 for the use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat" and "Pinball Spring".


Feb 21, 2016

The carnival is in town! The majesty of the Ferris wheel. The roar of the ferocious lions. The siren call of demons from the underworld enticing you to play their game. If you do, you're off on a hellish roller coaster of demons that mock, diamonds that bounce and skulls with post-nasal drip. What in the world is going on here? Put down that corn dog and help us figure it out.

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


Feb 14, 2016

Episode 4 is up! Old Man River, that Old Man River...He says, "Keep the noise down!" What noise? EXPLOSIONS! This week's game is the 1982 Activision game RIVER RAID. It has jets. It has helicopters and fuel depots. Boats and bridges all over the place. And they're all blowing up...Thanks to you. I've been playing Atari games for 30+ years, but I've only had this one about a week. AND IT'S AWESOME. Where has this thing been all my life? And yet, such is the nature of this podcast that we have to ask, "Sure, blowing up stuff is fun, but WHY?" And so we do. Take your Dramamine and hop aboard.

Feb 7, 2016

If your knowledge of the Old West comes primarily from "Back to the Future III", then this is the episode for you. OUTLAW is our game; the game where gunslingers rule the town...unless there's a stagecoach or a cactus blocking their path. This 1978 Atari game promises players they "can become expert gunslingers during these games". Go head to head and leave your opponent in the dust. Throw in a sarsaparilla six-pack and shine my spurs and I am all in.

Music provided by Kevin McLeod at via creative commons license.

Jan 31, 2016

Q*Bert! He was adorable, wasn't he? Sure he was. But man, he was a little guy with issues. Can't really blame him though, what with Coily and Sam trying to push him off that pyramid. All the guy wanted to do was change the color of those cubes. In this episode, we decide whether this plot makes any sense and, along the way, psycho-analyze a fictional character from a thirty-year-old video game. Anyone who tells you the Internet is a waste of time...should listen to this podcast.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod, as always, for the creative commons license to the songs "Pinball Spring", "Reformat", and "Take a Chance".

Email the show at Like Atari Bytes on Facebook and follow as on Twitter @ataribytes

Jan 24, 2016

Here it is! Episode 1! We're a real show now! The 1981 Atari game Yar's Revenge is our focus.  Who is Yar? Why does Yar want revenge? Against whom? Does Yar succeed? All this and more in this episode.

Music: Thanks to Kevin McLeod at for the use via Creative Commons License of "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring".

Jan 19, 2016

The Atari Age website has a ton of great Atari news and history, including all the Atari Force and Swordquest comics. Here's the link:


Music on the show courtesy of a creative commons license by Attribution 3.0 from Kevin McLeod at Incompetech:

"Discovery Hit" Kevin MacLeod (

"Pinball Spring:

"Take a Chance":




Jan 18, 2016

Remember those classic Atari 2600 games? They were fun to play, but didn't you kind of wonder why they sent a plumber to take down Donkey Kong? What the Defender was defending? What Yar was trying to get revenge against? What made those robots go berserk? Me too! This podcast tries to divine those answers from within the games. Then, if we can't, we make 'em up.


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