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The Atari 5200 Podcast

Apr 12, 2017

In this episode of the Atari 5200 Podcast...

The crew covers the game that changed the computer and gaming world, STAR RAIDERS!

David's meticulous notes pay off by giving more detail than you ever needed to know about a single game. Glen keeps the show on track. And Bob waxes poetically about how he wasted his teenage years and how he got lucky only by picking a career that uses video game skills. And since it's always good to get a second set of prints at a crime scene, we drag the ever-amazing Bill Kendrick of Atari Party fame and other retro endeavors into being a guest host to talk about this amazing game.

Memories, Allergies, Technical Difficulties, and more! On this episode of The Atari 5200 Podcast!!!

six and a half years ago

Hi guys:

Former writer for Atari mags ANALOG Computing and ST-Log, as well as Video Games & Computer Entertainment here.

Star Raiders was one of my favorite 5200 games. In fact, I prefer it to the 800 version for a few reasons.
1. The analog control makes Star Cruiser 7 feel more like a fighter and less like a lumbering jumbo jet
2. Having the keypad on the controller means, once you get good, you can thumb the keys whilst simultaneously maneuvering and firing, which is not easy to do with the control scheme on the 800
3. The improvements on the sector scan allow you to tell what kinds of enemies you’re up against before you’re in firing range (and also helps you not waste time chasing asteroids)

The only advantage of the original 800 version is that it’s faster to go into hyperwarp from the map, but the puny time that saves is more than compensated for by the other 5200 advantages.

Back in 1983 or so my brother and I got so good at Star Raiders that we could—no lie—hit Star Commander Class One some >80% of the time on the Commander level mission. It got to the point that in order to compete, we started tracking how quickly we could finish the game. You'd play until there was only one Zylon ship left, flip the chart up to see the clock, and then count the final seconds before you nailed that last ship.

My best time: 6.9 minutes