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ATARI BYTES

Remember those great Atari 2600 games? Sure, they were fun to play, but didn't you ever wonder why they needed to call a plumber to take out Donkey Kong? What exactly Yar was seeking revenge against? What the Defender was defending? What was making those robots so Beserk? Me too! ATARI BYTES is a game review podcast like no other. On this show, we take a BYTE (get it?) out of a classic Atari 2600 game and see if the story within the game BYTES (now do you get it?) us back.
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Remember those great Atari 2600 games? Sure, they were fun to play, but didn't you ever wonder why they sent a plumber to take out Donkey Kong? What Yar was seeking revenge against? What the Defender was defending or why those robots went Berserk? Me too! ATARI BYTES is a game review podcast like no other. We review not just the game play, but the STORY within these classic games. We take a BYTE out of the story (get it?) and see if that story BYTES us back (now do you get it?).

Jun 18, 2017

Episode 73 is a heapin' second helping of River Raid-esque goodness. RIVER RAID II from 1988 takes what we loved about the original Activision legend and overlays an early era flight simulator. Does the game soar or crash and burn?

Hmmm. 1980s. Fighter jets screaming overhead, performing death defying maneuvers as the sexy pilots complete their mission while trading witty banter. Does any of that sound familiar? Let's discuss...

Here's the article about the true "Age of Aquarius" we talked about in the show.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes and much, much more!

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - Hey, that's my other show!

Find cool mugs and shirts and more at my store AB_Pod_Store on Zazzle.com

You can support the show financially on the Atari Bytes Patreon page.

Jun 11, 2017

ATARI BYTES EPISODE 72: CHOPLIFTER! has taken flight! That's two exclamation points already. That means you know the 1987 port of this 1982 Apple game to the Atari 7800 has to be good.

Who are the Bungelings? How fast can the delegates run? Who knew the post office could be this exciting? So. Many. Questions. But we're here with the (made up) answers.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes notes, links and more

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - Hey! That's my other show!

Support the show on our Patreon page.

Get cool Atari Bytes merch at our Zazzle.com page AB_Pod_Store

Jun 4, 2017

For Episode 71, ATARI BYTES gets back to nature with an adventure in the animal kingdom - WOMBAT...

*Checks Notes*

Whoops! I meant, we're playing the 1977 Atari original COMBAT. Tanks! Bi-planes! Jets! Mayhem abounds!*

*No wombats were harmed in the production of this episode.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes, episodes and links

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - my other show!

Consider support the show at our Patreon page here.

Cool shirts, mugs and more in our store AB_Pod_Store at Zazzle.com

May 28, 2017

EPISODE 70 invites you to be a star and to get your RAID on! STAR RAIDERS is here!

This 1982 Atari game was the first to utilize the space-age video touch pad peripheral. It was also the last. That may give you a clue how this game is going to go.

Speaking of firsts doubling as lasts, listen to this episode closely for the first appearance of my wife - Mrs. Bytes - on the show. She was thrilled to do it...so thrilled that this will also probably be her last appearance.

Yes, sir, this episode is one for the record books. Join us, won't you?

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Pinball Spring", "Reformat" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes and links.

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - Hey! That's my other show!

Support the show on the Atari Bytes Patreon page.

Cool shirts! Cool mugs! Cool stuff of other kinds! AB_Pod_Store at Zazzle.com

May 21, 2017

What's in a name? Exactly what you'd expect when the name is a title like the 1979 Atari game CANYON BOMBER. What's that about? Well, there's these canyons....and you bomb them. Truth in advertising!

Find some sandbags to hide behind, then join us. It'll be a blast!

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Pinball Spring", "Take a Chance" and "Reformat".

Atari Bytes show notes and more.

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - a show for all your Snoopy needs.

Check out cool mugs, shirts and more at the AB_Pod_Store at Zazzle.com

Support the show at our Patreon page here.

May 14, 2017

One day at the Atari Labs in the 1970s, they looked at Breakout and said, "Yeah, this is pretty good. But we can make it better. We have the technology. We can make the paddle smaller. The balls bouncier. The colors colorier. And we can make 'colorier' a word too. We're Atari and there is zero chance we'll implode in a video game crash just a few years hence."

The result of this bravado was 1980(?)'s Atari game SUPER BREAKOUT. Is the game indeed super? Well, no. No, it's not. Spoilers hurt sometimes.

But this episode definitely is SUPER. I'm wearing the cape and codpiece to prove it.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring."

Atari Bytes show notes and more

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - Hey! That's my other show!

Cool shirts, mugs and more at the AB_Pod_Store on Zazzle.com!

Consider supporting the show financially on our Patreon page.

May 7, 2017

We're back!

After an unplanned week off at the exotic locale of my local hospital, ATARI BYTES is back. And we promise you, this episode is worth the wait!

First, we talk about the 1982 Atari legend SWORDQUEST: EARTHWORLD, the first in a famously unfinished series of games and pack-in comics at the center of a contest that also went unfinished, courtesy of the video game crash. 

Then, after the game stuff, you can hear my conversation with Chad Bowers and Chris Sims. (Thanks again, guys!) They are well-known comics writers on a lot of big things - Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, to name but a few - and are now writing an all-new SWORDQUEST - inspired comic series for Dynamite Entertainment. Preview issue Zero just dropped on May 3 at the sweet, low, retro price of twenty-five cents!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Pinball Spring", "Take a Chance", "Reformat" and "The Curtain Rises". 

Atari Bytes show notes, episodes, links and more.

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown - my other show!

Consider support the show financially at our Patreon page...here!

Check out cool "Go Play Some Old Games, They've Missed You" shirts and mugs and more cool stuff at Zazzle.com, AB_Pod_Store

Apr 23, 2017

On episode 66 of ATARI BYTES, we're gonna BREAK...OUT. Mighty mighty. Gonna let it all hang out...

And by IT, we mean the 1978 Atari original BREAKOUT. It's a game about smashing bricks and...well, smashing more bricks.

And providing the ying to our gaming yang, we also have a Lego correspondent in the studio giving a play-by-play of his assembly of a stack of Lego bricks into...well, you'll just have to listen to find out.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take  Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes, links and more.

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Check out cool Atari Bytes stuff you can own at Zazzle.com

Consider supporting the show financially at our Patreon page.

Apr 16, 2017

Join us for episode 65 featuring the debut of what we expect will become a recurring segment on the show: Conversation Bytes!

Our guinea pig guest for this new interview segment is Scott Rhoades, fiction author and longtime writer of technical manuals - including manuals for games like BasketBrawl and Shanghai on the Atari 7800 and the Lynx during a stint with Atari in the 1980s and '90s. Thanks for chatting with me, Scott!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Pinball Spring", "Reformat" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes links, show notes and more can be found here!

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown show notes, episodes and more are here.

Consider helping the show out financially on our Patreon here.

Check out cool mugs, shirts and more in our Zazzle.com store AB_Pod_Store.

Apr 9, 2017

See the flag. Capture the flag. It's all in the name.

Our subject this week is: FLAG CAPTURE, a flag-ship game (see what I did there?) for Atari, being one of the first eleven games released in 1978. You and an opponent race across the field of play, striving to be the first to "capture" the "flag" and which point...well, not much happens.

Is this a pirate game? I don't know, but it sure feels like a pirate game. Jolly Roger and all that? Mostly, I just want an excuse to wear an eye patch and say "arr" a lot. As if anyone needs an excuse for that sexy and totally not annoying behavior.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance."

Atari Bytes episodes and show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Check out mugs and shirts and more at Zazzle.com

Consider supporting the show financially at Patreon.com...Thanks in advance!

Apr 2, 2017

Ahh! Baseball! The smell of the grassy outfield and the dusty infield. Does Atari's 1978 appeal to the Louisville Slugger in all of us score a HOME RUN or is it the sporting equivalent of AMIDAR? (We're never going to forgive that game for wasting our time.) Head down to your digital ballpark and find out!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes and episodes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Check out cool Atari Bytes mugs, shirts and more at Zazzle.com

Consider supporting the show financially at Patreon.com

Mar 26, 2017

We're taking another spin through the time vortex and jumping out in the era of the Atari 7800 this week to play the 1986 iconic Atari game ROBOTRON 2084. If you're one of the few who hasn't heard of or played this legendary game, this might help: just imagine this is an even MORE dystopian version of the world set out in George Orwell's novel 1984. It's no surprise that Orwell might be interested in writing about robots. Orwell, famously, was a cyborg novelist.*

*That might not be accurate.**

**But how cool would that be????

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Pinball Spring", "Take a Chance", and "Reformat".

Atari Bytes show notes and episodes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Please consider supporting the show on our Patreon page!

Also check out cool "Go play some old games" shirts and more at our Zazzle.com store, AB_Pod_Store

Mar 19, 2017

So, what do we get in Atari's 1978 adventure game SPACE WAR?

There's space.

There's war.

Sort of.

Tune in to find out just what we mean by that!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Find awesome "Go Play Some Old Games" shirts, mugs and more at our store on Zazzle.com

Consider supporting the show financially on our Patreon page.

Mar 12, 2017

For all you haters who think video games rot the mushy brains of impressionable youth, the 1978 Atari game BRAIN GAMES is for you. It's like a console version of the classic handheld games Simon and Merlin without the portability. Or the bright colors. Or the fun.

Doing its part to foster a generation of drug free, sex free, non-fun-having gamers, playing BRAIN GAMES is like being the 1980s teen our parents dreamed of all over again!

Sorry for all the thoughtless Wargames: Dead Code spoilers this week! You've been warned. (Settle down, you've never heard of that movie before now either.)

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat", and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes store AB_Pod_Store at Zazzle.com

Contribute financially at our Patreon Page.

Mar 5, 2017

I wear my sunglasses at night.

This made it a bit difficult to play this week's game NIGHT DRIVER, the 1980 game from Atari. I pretty much crashed into everything, then just reset the game and pretty much acted as if nothing happened. It's kind of like what Congress does.

Put on your sunglasses and hop into the driver's seat.

Atari Bytes episodes and show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Patreon page where you can help support the show.

Pick up "Go Play Some Old Games" shirts and more at Zazzle.com AB_Pod_Store

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Feb 26, 2017
EPISODE 58: TUTANKHAM

WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN...

Seriously. Do it. Do it now.

Okay, sit down, you look ridiculous.

This week on the podcast, we have a 1983 Parker Bros. game about looting ancient Egyptian ruler King Tut's tomb. The game is called TUTANKHAM, and is apparently so good, you won't have time to put the last "en" on the name before you must rush off to play it.

Do we agree? More importantly, what stories has the mysterious ancient tomb left to tell?

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat" and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes show notes and episodes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Patreon donation page

The Atari Bytes store at Zazzle.com AB_Pod_Store - new t-shirts and mugs!

The Nerdist Weird Al Yankovic interview

The History of Digital Games by Andrew Williams

Feb 19, 2017
EPISODE 57: STAR FOX

We wondered why one reviewer declared that the best thing about Mythicon's 1983 game STAR FOX, the intended first in a series of games, was that Mythicon didn't make any more games in that series.

Now we know.

This space adventure(?) has something to do with recuing mysterious space-y energy crystals, which might just be Walter White's blue meth, for all we learn from the game, from some vague enemy race.

Sound fun? No, really. Does it?

Well, a bad day of Atari is still better than a good day at work. Right? And if work is bad too, maybe this good (?) episode will get you through it.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes show notes and episodes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Zazzle.com store AB_Pod_Store - now with new shirts and mugs!

The Atari Bytes Patreon page - help support us financially!

Feb 12, 2017
EPISODE 56: CHOPPER COMMAND

We love us some Activision on the podcast, so doing the 1982 high-flying adventure CHOPPER COMMAND was a no-brainer.

But is this helicopter game hella-good? Will the Sun God Helios be favored or displeased by all the heli-stuff that isn't him?

So many questions. Also, we shoot things with lasers. Go find an air sick bag and join us!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance", and "Pinball Spring".

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

Atari Bytes

The Atari Bytes page on Zazzle.com for cool shirts and mugs and stuff

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

Feb 5, 2017
EPISODE 55: SNEAK 'N PEEK

Red rover, red rover...

Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish...

Olly olly oxen free...

So, at some point in the early 1980s, someone had the idea to turn the perennial children's backyard pastime, good ol' hide and seek, into a two-dimensional, piexelated video game. SNEAK 'N PEEK, 1982, from U.S. Games Corporation, was the result. How'd that work out? About as well as you'd expect.

But we played it anyway.

Also, the junior podcaster, Henry, is along for the ride to help us through this nonsense as only he can.

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Take a Chance", "Reformat" and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes store (AB_Pod_Store) at Zazzle.com

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

Jan 29, 2017
EPISODE 54: DOUBLE DRAGON (7800)

This week on the podcast, we experience our own days of future past as we leap forward in time to the 7800 era of Atari to check out the 1987 classic DOUBLE DRAGON, a throwback '80's mullet and leg warmers classic. Also, lots of people get punched in the face.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring".

Thanks also to bensound.com for the use this week of his song "Funny Song".

Atari Bytes show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes store AB_Pod_Store at Zazzle.com

The Atari Bytes Patreon Page

Jan 22, 2017
EPISODE 53: SKIING

This week on the podcast, we hit the slopes for a little downhill fun...by which we mean sit in the ski lodge with a hot toddy. Or two.

Activision's 1980 SKIING is our focus. We love us some Activision on the podcast. Does this game make all the gates in record time or is it just one big ugly series of moguls all the way down? Tune in to find out.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring", "Take a Chance", "Killers" and "Volatile Reaction".

Atari Bytes show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes store at Zazzle.com

The Atari Bytes Patreon donation page

Jan 15, 2017
EPISODE 52: ROAD RUNNER

BEEP BEEP!

This week, we take a bird seed break, which should give us just enough time to talk about the 1985 Atari game ROAD RUNNER before the coyote catches us.*

*Kidding. You've seen Looney Tunes, right? No WAY is he going to catch us.**

**Actually, I haven't gotten past level 2, so the coyote does catch us. A LOT.

Discussion topic for the week: Is the Acme Corporation really just the 1940s version of Amazon? I'll expect your five-hundred word essay answers on my desk by Monday morning.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes show notes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes store at Zazzle.com

Atari Bytes Patreon page

Jan 8, 2017
EPISODE 51: ADVENTURE

Well, 2017 has firmly affixed itself to our calendars, much like a parasite feeding on our very souls.

So! Do we hide in a carton of ice cream and binge Netflix? Or do we embrace the adventure that life has in store?

Well, we here at Atari Bytes have a compromise. If adventuring outside is too scary...just play this week's game -  Atari's 1980 legend ADVENTURE!*

*You can still have the ice cream.

Side note: the artwork on the cartridge is great. That just needed to be said.

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance".

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

The Atari Bytes store at Zazzle.com

Jan 1, 2017
EPISODE 50: GALAXIAN

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hey! Wake up. Splash some cold water on your face and drown your hangover in coffee. Then crawl feebly onto the couch to check out this first episode of 2017.

Our focus this month is Atari's 1983 port of the legendary GALAXIAN (legendary mostly in the sense of being the forerunner of the way more popular Galaga). Like the Baby New Year, does this game fills the diaper of our souls with the promise of great things to come or a steamy pile of eight-bit poo?

Now, let's fire up the Atari and get our galaxi-ON!

Thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Pinball Spring" and "Take a Chance."

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes store at Zazzle.com

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

The video of that dude making me look bad by getting 99 points in Sky Diver is right here. Grrrrrrr! How I hate that guy!*

*I don't really hate him.**

**Well, maybe a little.

Dec 25, 2016
EPISODE 49: THE CHRISMYSTERY EPISODE

It's Christmas Day! Merry Christmas! (If you're listening to this in, like, June, then, um, happy Tuesday or whatever.) Here's a brand new, shiny yuletide package of pod-goodness from me to you.

And maybe, just maybe, if I've been a good little podcaster, there'll be a new game under my audio tree. But what game will it be....? It's a Chrismystery!

So ignore your relatives for thirty-eight minutes or so and come find out!

My thanks to Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com for creative commons use of his songs "Reformat", "Take a Chance" and "Pinball Spring".

Atari Bytes

It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown

The Atari Bytes Patreon page

The Atari Bytes store at Zazzle.com

Check out my year in review at my blog. It's GOODNIGHT, 2016! presented in the style of "Goodnight, Moon".

Here's an Amazon link to Bill's novel IN THE ST. NICK OF TIME, but you can get it wherever you like to get books.

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