By Jeff Fulton (@8bitrocket on twitter)
To the majority of the public, Atari died in 1983 and is relegated to hipster t-shirts and trucker hats with ironic joysticks on them. While 90% of the USA and 70% of the UK gamers were playing with their C-64’s, Nintendo’s, Spectrums, Amigas, and the like, there were a large number of game players who stuck by the various Atari incarnations and their machines of varying quality. The first Lucas Arts games were actually made as a partnership between Atari and Lucas to create the most advanced games possible for the Atari 8-bit machines (800XL computer and 5200 console). If you read thorough (the otherwise fantastic) Retro Gamer magazine you would be hard-pressed to even know that Atari existed after 1984. The Magazine has the Amiga, Speccy and c=64 so far up its butt (in a nice way) that incredible titles released for the Atari 7800, ST, Lynx, 2600, Atari-8bit and even the Jaguar are relegated to the “Spinal Tap Where are they now radio ads”. To help rectify this injustice slightly, I have compiled a list of the Lucas Arts titles released for the Classic Atari Machines (actually there are no non-classic machines other than the Flashback consoles).
Atari 8-bit Computers (Most released by Epyx, produced by Lucasfilm Games
Atari 5200 (Releases by Atari, developed by Lucasfilm games)
Atari 7800 (Released by Atari)
Atari ST Computers (Developed or Published by Lucasfilm/Lucas Arts Games)
Yes, there were many more titles released for the Amiga and C=64, but it seems like the Atari computer titles are always relegated to “Oh yeah, there might have been other versions also”. If they name the ST version at all, it is usually with a disparaging remark like “The Amiga 500 version was nothing more then an ST port”, never actually talking about the quality of the ST games. In fact, in most instances I will see a game comparison in a magazine (looking at you Retro Gamer) where it will show a 3 color ugly screen of blobs (Speccy version) along with a colorful ST version and seemingly the Speccy version is always called out for being the better port. There is so much Atari ST and Atari 8-bit computer hate and indifference out there in the magazine and on-line world that it sometimes makes me ill just to read retro reviews or publications. Yes, the Amiga was an awesome machine, but the ST certainly was no slouch in the game department. We happily played our original 1040 ST from 1987 all the way through 1993, when we finally had to get a PC for work reasons. Even then, there was no game as good as an ST game on the 386DX40 until Wolf3d came out.