• Tag Archives Atari 7800
  • Galaga (Atari 7800)

    Galaga (Atari 7800, 1987)


    Galaga was an arcade game released by Midway in 1981 and was the sequel to Galaxian. I always thought it was a little strange that there seemed to be so few home ports of this game. Despite being one of the most popular arcade games of all time, the first home port was not released in the U.S. until the Atari 7800 version came along six years later in 1987 (though to be fair, it was originally scheduled to be released in 1984). The following year, it was also released on the Nintendo. As far as anything that could remotely be considered contemporary, that’s all there was.

    Galaga could be described as a more sophisticated version of Space Invaders. Like Space Invaders, you control a ship that can move along the bottom of the screen and shoot at aliens firing at you from above. However, there are several types of aliens in Galaga and they attack by swooping down at you in formation. In addition to destroying your ship, they can also capture it. In this case, you have the chance to shoot that alien with a remaining ship (if you have any) and then your ship will return and connect to your current ship for double the firepower. You have to be careful not to shoot your own ship though.

    Much later on, starting in 1995 and continuing today, it has been re-released on a wide variety of systems as online downloads and as part of various compilations but there were not many choices back in the day. It seems like good conversions could have been done on the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit and Atari 5200. I’m also surprised there wasn’t an Atari 2600 version given all the arcade conversions on that system though it obviously would have had to have some compromises.

    I did play black and white knock-off called Galagar (I think) on my Commodore 64. It played pretty well but was also pretty ugly.

  • Mat Mania Challenge (Atari 7800)

    Mat Mania Challenge, Atari 7800.


    Mat Mania Challenge is an Atari 7800 game released in 1990. 1990 was the last year any games were released in the U.S. for the Atari 7800 so it is a pretty late release. It is based on the Mat Mania and Mania Challenge arcade games. While there had been previous wrestling games, these stood out as the first to have a high level of playability.

    The Atari 7800 port does a fairly good job keeping the graphics and gameplay faithful to the arcade originals. However, it had a fatal flaw for fans of the original arcade game. All of the villain characters were missing. Apparently, in an effort to keep costs down, most Atari 7800 carts had a limited amount of memory. This necessitated cutting out stuff that really shouldn’t have been. In this case, it was a loss of several of the game’s opponents. However, it really isn’t that bad and games like this are usually more fun with two players anyway. Plus, if you are looking for a wrestling game for your Atari 7800, your choices are pretty limited. This game is also fairly unique in that it is the only port ever released that I am aware of.

    This game was also planned for the Atari XEGS but was never released. However, a prototype does exist. In addition, an emulated version of the original arcade game was released for the PS4 via Arcade Archives in 2015.

  • Missing In Action (Atari 7800)

    “The title screen from an unreleased Atari 7800 side-scroller based on the 1984 Chuck Norris film. It was about 85% complete when cancelled.”


    Missing in Action is a rather appropriate name for this game as that is what it was. A rather large number of games that started development on the Atari 7800 went unfinished or were otherwise unreleased. Missing in Action is one such game.

    Missing in Action was developed by TNT Games and is a side scrolling action game based on the Chuck Norris movie of the same name. The movie came out in 1984 while the game has a copyright date of 1989. Apparently it was about 85% complete when development was halted.

    I don’t know the particular reasons why this game was never released. The Atari 7800 was still being supported in 1989 but it had long been painfully obvious that the Atari 7800 would never be competitive with the NES and next generation video game consoles were being released in 1989 in the form of the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. Still, at 85% complete and a development cycle that probably was under a year you have to wonder why the change of heart.

    However, released or not you can still play this game thanks to a prototype that was discovered and ultimately made available to the world around 2007. Apparently you have to skip a level or two to finish the game but it is otherwise quite playable.