Outpost: Atari. (evaluation of inexpensive software) (column) Arthur Leyenberger.
Winter is upon us in this part of the country. Fewer daylight hours mean that my Atari (and probably yours too) is seeing a lot more use. I have spent the day at the keyboard previewing software and drinking hot chocolate. My eyes are blurry from megadoses of VDU emissions and the thought of a fifth cup of cocoa sends my mind racing back to the thought that has plagued me all day.
I cannot help thinking that software is just too expensive--especially game software. I know I have said it before, but it is really starting to bother me. I also hear this complaint from many other users. When you think about it, $40 or more for game software in cartridge format and $30 to $40 for disk format is rather expensive. For example, does it make sense that two of the most popular games for the Atari computer, Pac-Man and Star Raiders, if purchased at the list price, would cost more than the Atari 400 they run on? Of course it doesn't.
It is for this reason that I am eager to champion software that is inexpensive and useful. Below are some capsule reviews of software that I think you ought to know about. The programs are either inexpensive, a good value or both. After that, I offer a new version of the Relisting the Unlistable program which originally appeared, complete with a bug, in the September Outpost. No Frills Game Software
In keeping with the topic of inexpensive software, there is a new line of software from Datasoft selling under the Gentry label. Let me tell you a little about what Datasoft is doing before I describe one of the games. The entire selection of game software from Gentry is deliberately priced to sell for under $20. In fact, the usual selling price is closer to $15.
What do you get for a sawbuck and a fin? You typically get both a disk and a cassette of the game along with some simple instructions. And you get a game that, a year ago, would probably have been among the top 20 best sellers. Now, before you rush out to buy every piece of Gentry software you can get your hands on, listen up.
I had a chance to take a comprehensive look at three of the new releases. These three games were essentially chosen at random from the dozen or so that hit the stands at once. Two out of three were quite good and kept me occupied for many hours. The other one did not get the same amount of "air time" on my Atari. I have only enough space to describe briefly one of the two better ones.
Like many Atari computer owners, I started out with an Atari VCS game. My wife had surprised me with the most unusual anniversary gift, an Atari VCS and two cartridges. The games were Asteroids and Space Invaders. It was late that night when we exchanged presents, so video game fever did not set in until the next day.
We played Asteroids and Space Invaders all day and all night on Saturday. On Sunday, the marathon continued. The leaves did not get raked that weekend. Our chicken dinner burned in the oven. The cats missed their meals. All work ceased. The obsession was recalled by Starbase Fighter from Gentry.