Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Tail of Beta Lyrae (Atari 800)

Here's one of my favorite Atari 800 games from the early 1980s, an arcade shoot-em-up called The Tail of Beta Lyrae.  It was designed and programmed by Philip Price, with music by Gary Gilbertson, and was published by Datasoft, which was one of the big publishers on the Atari 8-bit computer.

I'm sharing this video for two reasons: Project Phoenix and iOS.  For Phoenix, the ultimate goal is a "Criterion Collection" for video games, and this means expanding beyond the Sega systems.  The Dreamcast became a home to many emulators, and with some added muscle to the hardware, it should be capable of running classic emulators at perfect speed.  This would open the doors to a number of classic video and computer games, such as Tail of Beta Lyrae.

Reason #2, as I've said, is iOS, and it's the more practical option.  I'd like to hire a programmer who could adapt an Atari 8-bit emulator for the iPhone and iPad, and reissue a few of these classic games.  Tail of Beta Lyrae and Mr. Robot are the first two titles that came to mind.  They're both easy to play and offer classic arcade thrills.  I'm very curious to learn if there's an audience for these "lost" classics, which haven't been commercially available for a generation.

Tail of Beta Lyrae was inspired by Scramble, the arcade hit, but also features pseudo-random level designs, which introduce different landscapes, obstacles and enemies to each new game.  Procedural level generation is in vogue today, thanks to blockbuster iOS hits like Tiny Wings and Temple Run.  It's impressive to see this design mechanic from the early 80s.

So whaddya think?  Does this sound like a good idea?

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Yeah, sounds great. I'm sure there's a fan base.

I hope you include all possible quality games when you say "Criterion Collection" and keep an open mind.