Classic Games

My (now classic) games are for the Atari 2600, and Atari 400/800. While there were a few ported to other platforms, the best versions run on Ataris. I designed them specifically with unique features that Atari showcased and no other platform could emulate. They were all written in 6502 assembly except Mindwheel which was a compiled byte code interpreter.

SUICIDE MISSION

Created in 1981

I created this while reverse engineering the Atari 2600 for Starpath. This is the result of many experiments and ideas from myself, Stephen Landrum and Scott Nelson. The game took about four months to create and ended up totaling about 4k of code and data. Hand optimized and tweaked 6502 assembly. This was the summer that the 6502 opcode set became burned into my memory. (A9 0, 60)

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SLIME

Created in 1982

This was a take-over project for the Atari 400/800. I was working on another project when the original Atari coder decided that making games wasn’t his bag. The designer, Ihor Wolosenko, asked me to take over. I ended up starting from scratch with the code, using only a small fragment of the graphics. Thankfully, it was an enjoyable process, as this project took about four months and 8k of code and data.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

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Slime © 1995 Steve Hales

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FORT APOCALYPSE

Created in 1982

This idea came to me in a dream shortly before I saw Choplifter and soon after the highly publicized, Operation Eagle Claw. If you remember, the helicopter mission failed to rescue staff from the Iranian US embassy during the last days of the Carter Administration. Probably a connection, and I suspect Dan Gorlin had the same dream.

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Here's a review of that last version ported to J2ME mobile phones via PocketGamer.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

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Fort Apocalypse © 1995, 2007 Steve Hales

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Check out this niffty Fort Apocalypse t-shirt.

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DIMENSION X

Created in 1983

This was a graphics special effect created by Stephen Landrum. He had no interest in creating a game, so he passed it along to me. It was not too far into the following year that I wished he hadn’t. This turned out to be the hardest game design I’ve ever created. Due primarily to the limits of the design imposed by the forced perspective effect. The design is my take on the old ‘Trek’ games of the time.

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Atari 400/800 emulators are plentiful now. The best one on Mac OSX is Atari800MacX which is a port of David Firth’s fantastic Atari 800 Emulator. It can be found here. Follow links from there for other platforms.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

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Dimension X © 1995 Steve Hales

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MINDWHEEL

Created in 1983/1984

This was a mind-blowing experience and my first encounter with many computer science concepts: Object Oriented Programming, Virtual Machines, AI, Language Processing and Cross Platform Coding are now all commonplace in the industry. I lead a team of talented people for this title: William Mataga, Bill Darrah and David Bunch, while Robert Pinsky wrote the story, approved of all text changes, and generally inspired a sense of whimsy into this game. I am sure it was due to his influence that Mindwheel was the first game that could surprise me with its actions during play. Working with Robert Pinsky, the famed poet and author, changed the way I read and write words forever. He was writing, History of My Heart, during the development of Mindwheel, so they have familiar themes. You can even get a deeper meaning behind Mindwheel by reading his book. Although, he claims they are not connected.

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