• Tag Archives Centipede
  • Atarisoft



    Atarisoft was a brand used by Atari, Inc. to sell games for competing systems. Atari themselves typically only developed games for their own systems (Atari 8-bit computers, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, etc.) so Atarisoft titles were mostly developed by third parties. Atarisoft was only around as a brand for about two years (1983-1984), until the Atari consumer division was sold to Jack Tramiel.

    It seems to me that Atari could have done better by focusing on selling their own systems and making these games exclusive, at least for a period of time. Despite the short amount of time the Atarisoft brand was used, a relatively large number of games were produced. Twenty titles were released on at least eight different systems (home computers and video game consoles other than Atari). A number of others were partially developed but cancelled before being completed after Atari was sold.

    The above ad includes the earliest releases from Atarisoft for the Commodore 64, VIC-20, IBM (DOS) and TI-99/4A.

  • Centipede (Atari 5200)

    Centipede (Atari 5200)


    Centipede was another genre defining game by Atari. It was similar to Space Invaders in that you operated from the bottom the screen at things coming towards you. The differences are higher speed, more varied objects and the ability to move vertically to some degree. It was one further step towards the vertical scrolling shooters that would soon come along.

    In Centipede, the goal is to destroy centipedes and other bugs that infest your garden. The centipede weaves its way back and forth across the screen, changing directions whenever it encounters a mushroom. Periodically other menaces will come along like the spider that bounces across the screen, the scorpion that crawls across or the flea that dive bombs you. To make things more difficult, the centipede breaks into multiple pieces any time you hit a part other than the head or tail. As levels progress, the bugs get faster and faster.

    There were many home ports of centipede. The Atari 5200 version, which is essentially the same as the Atari 8-bit computer version, is a very good port and was a nice step up graphically from the Atari 2600 version. For the best experience you can use a trackball instead of a joystick to mimic the arcade experience.

    There have been a number of releases of the arcade version of Centipede and the Atari 7800 version has been released via the Atari Flashback consoles. However, as far as I am aware there has never been a re-release of the Atari 5200 or Atari 8-bit versions. To play these you will have to track down some original hardware and software or resort to emulation. If you have never played centipede (and I can’t imagine there are that many people who call themselves gamers that haven’t), you should definitely try at least one version. The arcade version is best of course but the vast majority of home ports are very good as well. Even the Atari 2600 version plays well even if the graphics are a step down.

  • JoyStik (January 1983)


    Source: JoyStik – January 1983