Total Number of Games in Collection Purchases: 382
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Atari XE Video Game System (Atari XEGS)

Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
My Rating:
Release: Sep 1987
Comments: The deluxe set consists of the console, the CX40 joystick, a keyboard which enables home computer functionality, and the XG-1 light gun.
Summary: The Atari XE Game System (Atari XEGS) is a home video game console released by Atari Corporation in 1987. Based on Atari's 8-bit 65XE computer, the XEGS is compatible with the existing Atari 8-bit computer software library. Additionally, it is able to operate as either a stand-alone console or full computer with the addition of its specially designed keyboard. In computer mode, it may utilize the majority of peripherals released for Atari's 8-bit computer line. Atari packaged the XEGS as a basic set consisting of only the console and joystick, and as a deluxe set consisting of the console, keyboard, joystick and light gun.

Under the auspices of Jack Tramiel, Atari re-released two game consoles in 1986: the Atari 7800 and the Atari 2600 Jr., an updated version of the Atari VCS/2600. The XEGS followed, building on Atari's 8-bit computer line which had started with the Atari 400 and 800. In practice the XEGS is a repackaged Atari 65XE and is compatible with the existing range of Atari 8-bit computer software and peripherals, and thus could function as a home computer.

The XEGS shipped with the Atari 8-bit version of Missile Command built in, Flight Simulator II bundled with the keyboard component, and Bug Hunt which is compatible with the light gun. As the XEGS is compatible with the earlier 8-bit software, many games released under the XEGS banner were simply older games rebadged. This was done to the extent that some games were shipped in the old Atari 400/800 packaging, bearing only a new sticker to indicate that they were also compatible with the XEGS.

The XEGS was released in a basic set and a deluxe set. The basic set includes only the console and a standard CX-40 joystick (albeit with a grey base to match the XEGS, rather than the original black). The deluxe set consists of the console, the CX-40 joystick, a keyboard which enables home computer functionality, and the XG-1 light gun. The keyboard and light gun peripherals were also released separately outside North America. This is the first light gun produced by Atari, and it is also compatible with the Atari 7800 and Atari 2600.


Blue Max

Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Action, Arcade
My Rating:
Release: Jan 1987
Comments: Bob Polin
Summary: The storyline is based on a fictional pilot, Max Chatsworth, being (in-game) one of Britain's Flying Aces. Chatsworth's fame began in battle, when he was out on a reconnaissance mission, and his squadron was decimated by enemy planes. The pilot survived, and in the process shot down seven enemy fighters. He shot down thirteen more the next month. For these actions, Germany offered their Blue Max medal to anyone who could shoot Chatsworth down—and Chatsworth got a new nickname—Blue Max.

As Blue Max, you go out on sorties—flying missions—attacking assigned targets. Targets include bridges, buildings, enemy planes, tanks, bridges, anti-aircraft batteries, vehicles and ships. You progress to new missions as you take out your targets. Various settings can be adjusted before beginning play including control type (normal or pilot), skill level and whether gravity will affect the plane.

You must drop bombs to take out the ground targets, and this action also represents a key danger for you. Unlike the modern bombers that drop bombs on targets far below, early aircraft engaged in semi-suicidal bombing runs. The pilots started at high altitude, then tipped the planes nose downward towards their ground-based target, and pulled up before they hit the ground. In the middle of the dive and pull up process, they released the bomb. There were problems of coordination, found in the game as well—if you time it wrong, or start too low, you will crash. You only have one life in this game.

If your plane is destroyed or you complete a mission a ranking is given which ranges from Kamikaze Trainee to Squadron Leader.

This game has aroused some controversy too, which supposedly caused it to be banned in Germany. In the course of your missions, you end up bombing houses.

(The actual Blue Max/Blauer Max, is a nickname for the Prussian medal 'Pour le Mérite', first given to the pilots Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke. It required downing 8-20 enemy planes, with requirements increasing as the war progressed.)


Bug Hunt

Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Shoot-'em-Up
My Rating:
Release: Jan 1987
Comments: Robert Zdybel / Alan Murphy
Summary: A one or two player (pass & play) game, Bug Hunt presents the player with a 4x2 grid representing a circuit board. As "bugs", literally insects, begin to infest the board the player must shoot the bugs using the XG-1 light gun to complete the wave. The game tracks hits, bullets fired and overall accuracy. Points are scored based on the different enemy types, with large static spiders offering fewer points than small mobile ticks. The games ends if the player fails to maintain the minimum accuracy rating for the wave, usually around 40%, or when the player completes all seven waves. Upon completion or failure the player is graded and given a rank ranging from CEO (for poor performance) to Engineer.



Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Shoot-'em-Up
Rated: Everyone
My Rating:
Release: Jan 1981
Summary: The player controls a small insect-like Bug Blaster. It is moved around the bottom area of the screen with a trackball and fires small darts at a segmented centipede advancing from the top of the screen through a field of mushrooms. Each segment of the centipede becomes a mushroom when shot; shooting one of the middle segments splits the centipede into two pieces at that point. Each piece then continues independently on its way down the screen, with the rear piece sprouting its own head. If the centipede head is destroyed, the segment behind it becomes the next head. Shooting the head is worth 100 points while the other segments are 10. The centipede starts at the top of the screen, traveling either left or right. When it touches a mushroom or reaches the edge of the screen, it descends one level and reverses direction. The player can destroy mushrooms (a point each) by shooting them, but each takes four shots to destroy. At higher levels, the screen can become increasingly crowded with mushrooms due to player/enemy actions, causing the centipede to descend more rapidly.

Once the centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, it stays within the player area and one-segment "head" centipedes will periodically appear from the side. This continues until the player has eliminated both the original centipede and all heads. When all the centipede's segments are destroyed, another one enters from the top of the screen. The initial centipede is 10 or 12 segments long, including the head; each successive centipede is one segment shorter and accompanied by one detached, faster-moving head. This pattern continues until all segments are separate heads, after which it repeats with a single full-length centipede.

The player also encounters other creatures besides the centipedes. Fleas drop vertically and disappear upon touching the bottom of the screen, occasionally leaving a trail of mushrooms in their path when only a few mushrooms are in the player movement area; they are worth 200 points and takes two shots to destroy. Spiders move across the player area in a zig-zag pattern and eat some of the mushrooms; they are worth 300, 600, or 900 points depending on how close the player shoots it. Scorpions move horizontally across the screen, turning every mushroom they touch into poison mushrooms. Scorpions are also worth the most points of all enemies with 1,000 points each. A centipede touching a poison mushroom will attack straight down toward the bottom, then return to normal behavior upon reaching it. This "poisoned" centipede can be both beneficial and detrimental to the player; the player can destroy them rapidly as it descends down, while at the same time, they can be very challenging to avoid, especially if already split into multiple segments.

The Bug Blaster is destroyed when hit by any enemy, after which any poisonous or partially damaged mushrooms revert to normal. 5 points are awarded for each regenerated mushroom. An extra life is awarded every 12,000 points.


Computing Language: Basic

Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Utility, Programming
Rated: Everyone
My Rating:
Release: Jan 1979
Summary: BASIC is an acronym for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
Developed by John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz in the mid 1960s at Dartmouth
College, BASIC is one of the earliest and simplest high-level programming
languages, incorporating components of FORTRAN and ALGOL.

In October 1978 Atari contracted with Shepardson Microsystems, Inc. (SMI;
headed by Bob Shepardson) to create a version of BASIC (as well as a File
Management System) for the upcoming Atari personal computers. Credits:
Paul Laughton - Main programmer (also wrote: FMS for DOS I and DOS 2.0S)
Kathleen O'Brien - Floating point routines (also wrote: Assembler Editor)
Bill Wilkinson - Preliminary specifications for the language;
floating point scheme design
Paul Krasno - Implemented the transcendental routines

While SMI developed Atari BASIC to occupy 10KiB of ROM, including a 2KiB
Floating Point Package (FPP) for internal use by the language, Atari placed
the FPP component in operating system ROM (memory locations 55296 to 57343 or
$D800 to $DFFF) for universal availability. Thus, the Atari BASIC ROM was
slimmed to 8KiB. Please see the "What is the Atari OS" section of this FAQ
for further information about the FPP.

Atari released 3 different Revisions of Atari BASIC:

Revision A
- Shipped with the 400 computer systems from 1979-1981
- Shipped with the 800 computer systems from 1979-1982

Atari BASIC Rev. A was produced by Atari on cartridge (CXL4002), standard
400/800-style brown label, which reads either "BASIC Computer Program" (early)
or "BASIC Computing Language" (most).

The cartridge was produced in mass quantities before SMI had finished
debugging it. One place these bugs are documented is in this article by Steve
Hanson from Compute! magazine, Oct. 1981:

On February 25, 1981, the source code to Atari BASIC (including the FPP) was
purchased from SMI by Optimized Systems Software (OSS), headed by former SMI
employees Bill Wilkinson and Mike Peters.

The Atari BASIC Source Book (Compute! Books, 1983, 0-942386-15-9), authored by
Bill Wilkinson, Kathleen O'Brien and Paul Laughton, made the source code to
Atari BASIC (Rev. A; and including the FPP) available to the public.

Revision B
When the 600XL/800XL computers shipped in the fall of 1983 they included a
newly debugged Atari BASIC Rev. B built-in on ROM. Unfortunately, while most
existing bugs were fixed, Rev. B introduced a new bug more serious than any of
the earlier problems. In his article in the June 1985 issue of Compute!, Bill
Wilkinson writes:
Each time you LOAD (or CLOAD or RUN "filename") a program, rev B adds 16
bytes to the size of your program. If you then save the program, the next
time you load it in it grows by ANOTHER 16 bytes, and so on.
The problem can be alleviated by periodically, if not exclusively, using
LIST instead of SAVE or CSAVE to save your programs.

Atari never produced Atari BASIC Rev. B on cartridge.

"Revision C Converter: Type-in fix for buggy BASIC revision B" by Matthew
Ratcliff was published in the September 1985 issue of Antic:

Revision C
Atari BASIC Rev. C is the final "fully debugged" version. Rev. C was first
shipped on cartridge (CXL4002) by Atari, Inc. in June 1984 according to Antic
( The silver
label on the first Rev. C cartridges reads "(c)1982 Atari, Inc." and "Made in
U.S.A." Atari, Corp. also produced Rev. C on cartridge, using two different
silver labels designs, both of which read "(c)1985 Atari Corp." and "Made in
Taiwan". Rev. C was also built-in on ROM in late-production 800XL computers
as well as the 65XE, the 130XE, the XE System Console, and the 800XE.

Determining Revision version
When running Atari BASIC, memory location 43234 ($A8E2, BASIC ROM) indicates
which Revision of BASIC is running. At the READY prompt, enter:
? PEEK(43234)

If the result is: You have Revision: Atari Part#:
162 A C012402+C014502
96 B C060302A
234 C C024947A

All 3 versions of Atari BASIC may be available for download here:

Manuals from Atari:
(See the "What is the Atari OS" FAQ section for FPP documentation.)
- Atari BASIC (Wiley Self-Teaching Guide) C014385 by Albrecht/Finkel/Brown
(c)1979, 332 pages (see:
- Shipped with the 400 computer systems from 1979-1981
- Shipped with the 800 computer systems from 1979-1982
- BASIC Reference Manual (400/800 ed.), C015307, (c)1980, 120 pages
- Authors: Carol Shaw and Keith Brewster
- Shipped with the 800 computer systems from 1980-1982
- Inside Atari BASIC, C060992, Carris for Reston, (c)1983, 183 pages
- Atari BASIC Reference Manual Update, C061038, (c)1982, 6 pages
- BASIC Reference Manual (400/800/1200XL ed.), C061456 / BX4211, (c)1983,
126 pages
- Atari BASIC Reference Guide For Experience Programmers, C061570, (c)1983,
14 pages
- Atari BASIC Reference Guide, C061948, (c)1983 (international; 61 pages)


Flight Simulator II®

Publisher: SubLOGIC Corporation
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Simulation
My Rating:
Release: Jan 1987
Comments: Bruce Artwick
Summary: This flight simulator simulates a real aircraft, the Piper PA-28-181 Archer II. For those with the knowledge, it offers practice with the variables of flight, including the avionics. The Atari ST and Amiga releases instead simulate the Cessna 182RG single engine propeller aircraft and the Gates Learjet 25G twin engine jet.

The game has more features than first generation flight simulators. Pilots are expected to pay attention to small details. SubLOGIC encouraged the players to go to flight stores and purchase flight-training manuals and aeronautical charts to help them understand the variables within the program. The game is oriented toward pilots-in-training, but there are options for laymen too: an easy mode, and a slightly more detailed reality mode. These modes do not require the same level of knowledge.

Flight Simulator II is packaged with a WWI dogfighting game, called WWI Ace. In this game the plane is armed with bombs, machine guns, and a radar screen. The radar screen is anachronistic for a game set in World War I, but it is there to make the gameplay easier.


Food Fight

Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Arcade, Platform
My Rating:
Release: Jan 1987
Comments: John Sanderson
Summary: Overview
Food Fight is an action game released in arcades by Atari in 1983; it was later ported to the Atari 7800 game console and Atari 8-bit computers. In the game players control Charley Chuck with the goal of eating an ice cream cone before it melts and without getting stopped by the four chefs that are in constant pursuit.

On each level in Food Fight Charley Chuck starts out on the right side of the screen with an ice cream cone along the left side; the goal is to reach the ice cream cone before it completely melts. Scattered throughout the screen are numerous piles of food (which can include bananas, peas, pies, tomatoes, and watermelons) along with several manholes in the floor. There are four chefs that are constantly trying to stop Charley Chuck, and they each appear from one of the manholes. Once the level begins, both the chefs and the player are able to pick up food from one of the piles and throw it at each other. If the player is hit by food, falls into a manhole, or comes into contact with one of the chefs a life is lost. If a chef is hit by food, he will be knocked out for a few seconds before appear again from one of the holes. The piles of food are limited in supply; each time a chef or the player picks up food the pile gets smaller and eventually disappears (one exception to this are the watermelons which are infinite in supply). Each level is slightly different; the manholes and food piles are in different locations and the types of food can vary. While most levels have a mixture of food types, some levels have only a single kind.


River Raid

Publisher: Activision, Inc.
Platform: Atari 400 800 XEGS
Genre: Shooter
My Rating:
Release: May 1983
Summary: River Raid is a vertically scrolling action game. You fly a jet up a river in an attempt to destroy bridges which are vital to the enemy. The river is heavily guarded, however, with balloons, ships, choppers, and enemy aircraft trying to stop you. Along the way you will need to fly over fuel stations to refuel your jet and keep flying.

The plane is armed with a cannon with unlimited ammo. It can be used to destroy the enemy vehicles and bridges, but a careless player can accidentally destroy a fuel station. Colliding with the riverbanks or with the enemy aircraft destroys your plane and makes you lose a life.


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