Atari 1040ST and Atari SM124 Hi-Res monochrome monitor
- Tag Archives Atari ST
I think that people, particularly console owners who never owned an 8 or 16-bit computer, underestimate the number and variety of games that were available on those platforms. There were just so many games. Far more than were ever available on a console, especially if we are talking about machines like the Commodore 64. Not all of them are good of course but many were, including many that most people have probably never heard of.
BMX Simulator is just one example. While initially developed on the Commodore 64, it was ultimately ported to a variety of 8-bit and 16-bit computer platforms, including the Atari ST. Released in 1986, it was very similar to other overhead racers like Super Sprint only with a BMX theme. This wasn’t a terribly realistic simulation of BMX racing despite the name, or at least the tracks were often unrealistically unsafe. There were various obstacles to spice the game including puddles, tires and other things. However, that only added to the fun.
While a relative few people have probably heard of this game, it got fairly good reviews and is better than many games on the consoles of the day. The graphics were much better too once you start considering the 16-bit computer ports like the Atari ST version.
Unfortunately, games like this are seldom re-released. While the occasional 8-bit or 16-bit computer game will make it to a modern console in the form of a digital download, it is relatively rare compared to 8/16-bit console re-releases. Perhaps this will change, at least on the Atari side of things with the upcoming VCS. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
The photos above are from the Atari ST version of the game. In addition to the original Commodore 64 version, BMX Simulator was also released for the Atari 8-bit, Amiga, MSX and other computer platforms. However, I don’t know of any modern re-releases so check out an original or try it via emulation.
BMX Simulator (Atari ST)
Source: PC Games – January February 1991
Three-Sixty Pacific was known for their simulations and war games on the PC in the DOS days. Though they were only around for about nine years, they produced a number of popular and highly rated games in these genres. This ad is for two of their probably lesser known games.
The first is Blue Max. Subtitled “The Aces of the Great War”, this isn’t the Blue Max you are probably thinking of if you owned a Commodore 64 or Atari 8-bit computer. That one was an isometric overhead shooter with a World War I theme. Though the theme is the same with this Blue Max, it is a simulator in which you get to fly various World War I era planes. Blue Max had a couple of very unique features. First, it allowed for two player split-screen play for cooperative or competitive play. This is pretty unusual for a simulator. Second, dogfights could optionally be played as turn-based strategy games. In this case a hexagonal map was shown but a frozen 3D view of the current action would also still be shown in a window.
The second is Das Boot (literally translated “The Boat”). Also a simulator, Das Boot has you controlling a World War II German U-Boat. It was somewhat based on the novel of the same name. This was quite a realistic simulation of a Type VII German U-Boat in 1941 with the player having full control of engines, torpedoes (multiple types) and all other aspects of the submarine. It was far more complex than something like Silent Service.
Blue Max was available for the Amiga, Atari ST and DOS based PCs. Das Boot was available for the Amiga and DOS. To play either one you’ll have to have an old computer handy or be willing to delve into something like Dosbox or an Amiga emulator.
The above ad is from the January/February 1991 issue of PC Games magazine.