Happy Independence Day American readers!
It has been a while since we’ve talked about a prototype/unreleased video arcade game. Granted, such news is always a bit random since it is not unlike archaeology – you can go for long periods of time without a discovery. Today we have two unreleased and recently re-discovered games from Atari Inc. to talk about so let’s get to it! Both games follow Atari’s love of a space theme, something that had done quite well for them in releases like Asteroids. These two were uncovered by Scott of The Atari Games Museum (links to the Facebook Group), whom I asked for permission to share the info in advance.
First off is Star Trap, a game that likely was being designed around the 1980-82 period as it was running off of the Warlords hardware. Scott has the original source code but lacked the character ROMs to complete the appearance. What you see in the video below is probably the collision detection boxes that would not have been visible in the final game.
The goal of the game was simple – You would control the ‘trap’ that had an opening within the energy ring. Suns/stars would bounce around the screen and you need to capture them into your trap without them being able to escape. Naturally this becomes more of a challenge with the more stars you catch since they continue to bounce around. When the stars on the outside would hit your ring, it would lose energy, reaching zero would mean game over. From this footage, it looks like it was fairly complete, apart from getting the sprites restored it could use some tweaking on the collisions and maybe the physics but is otherwise playable. I imagine that it would look pretty much like Warlords with those sprites in place:
Designed as a variation of Avalanche (which concept became more popular as Activision’s Kaboom!), players would have been faced with asteroids or comets that were falling at them and a few energy shields placed in front of your craft to absorb them with.” The play area is narrower, the objects fall faster, and you can miss more objects.” Judging by the font and the UI layout, it seems like this one was being worked on around the ’78/’79 era before Atari had Asteroids. There is no video of this one so here is a pic:
When there are new details on these games we’ll be sure to update this page. What do you think about them from what little we do know about these efforts? Would you have enjoyed these ‘back in the day?’