• Tag Archives Atari 600XL
  • Shamus (Atari, Commodore 64)

    Shamus was a knife-throwing robot who liked to dress like Doctor Who. Released in 1982 by Synapse Software for the Atari 800 and Commodore 64. Artwork by Tim Boxell.


    Shamus was originally released by Synapse for Atari 8-bit computers in 1982. It was soon ported to the VIC-20, Commodore 64, TRS-80 Color Computer, TI-99/4A and PC (DOS). It was also re-released in cartridge format for the Atari XEGS in 1987. Much later, in 1999, a Game Boy Color port was released and eventually an iOS port as well.

    Atari title screen

    The goal of the game is to navigate through different rooms fighting off various robotic enemies with your electrified throwing knives while collecting various special items and keys needed to access some locations with the goal being to reach the Shadow’s Lair. This is an extremely difficult game to finish as most versions have 128 rooms and you often have to backtrack in order to use a key you’ve collected elsewhere. Given that some rooms have more than one exit, remembering your way around can be a challenge. Plus, there is no save feature and most versions don’t even have a pause function. The VIC-20 versions is a little easier if only for the fact that it has fewer rooms…32 instead of 128. I had the Commodore 64 version and while I can’t say I ever made it all that far, it was a fun game to play.

    Atari screen

    As far as I know, there haven’t been any other re-releases or remakes other than the Game Boy Color and iOS versions. However, it is interesting to note that the same developer that created the original Atari version also did those versions as well.

    Commodore 64 screen

  • Picnic Paranoia (Atari 8-bit)

    Picnic Paranoia (1982) by Synapse Software for the Atari 800XL.


    Picnic Paranoia was a game developed by Synapse and released for the Atari 8-bit line in 1982. The following year it was also ported to the TI-99/4A.

    Like most Synapse games, this is a high quality, fun (though simple) arcade type game with excellent graphics and sound for the time. This is the type of game that the Atari 8-bits excelled at. The goal of this game is to prevent insects from taking your food off the table. You have to swat the insects to kill them as well as move food back to the table. If a round finishes without any food on the table then the game is over. I don’t think this game is quite as good as some of Synapse’s other games (Shamus, Blue Max, Pharaoh’s Curse, etc.) but it isn’t bad.

    Picnic Paranoia was available on cassette and disk for the Atari and required only 16K to run so it should work on any Atari 8-bit. The TI-99/4A version was available on cartridge. Apparently it was also released for the Apple II at some point though that version seems more rare for some reason.

  • Antic (March 1987)


    Source: Antic Vol 5-11 1987-03

    ANALOG and Antic were the two big magazines that covered Atari 8-bit computers. While ANALOG stuck to being mostly 8-bit exclusive throughout its life, Antic moved to covering both the Atari ST and the 8-bit line when the ST was introduced.

    Pictured above is the March 1987 issue of Antic. Contents Include:


    • Rainbow Screen Customizer – Flashy displays for your programs
    • Today’s Victorious Atari Corp. – A close-up look inside
    • Dvorak Keyboard – Turbo typing for the Atari
    • Page 6 Grab-Bag: Part I – Add punch to your programs with useful routines
    • Wage/Hour Paymaster – First fruits from the Practical Program Contest
    • Multi-Autorun – 27 files at your fingertips


    • Game of the Month: Vectron – Atomic arrow strategy game
    • Starting Out New Owners Column – Lesson 12: Graphics Modes
    • Product Reviews – Seikosha SP-1000A, Kyan Pascal, Leader Board, Vestor
    • Tech Tips – Pinout master charts

    ST Resource

    • Using INP and OUT – From keyboard to screen or modem in ST BASIC
    • ST Puzzler – Jigsaw puzzle generator
    • Basic Alert – Create alert boxes in ST BASIC
    • Starglider – Fantastic space warfare simulator
    • Hippo Sound Digitizer – Easy-to-use sound tool

    …and more!