Atari 7800 programming has been shucking and jiving on the real for nearly 20 years now, and leading the charge for most of this time has been Pac Man Plus (Bob Decrescenzo). Bob's games are not only well done, filled with options and made with care, the sheer amount of titles he has created and released is impressive.
But watch out Bobby, there is an Invasion on the horizon.
Out of the blue, a mysterious Brit named "Muddyfunster" started spinning yarns about a number of fantastic Atari 7800 original homebrews that he was creating around 2019. Surely he was jesting, right? NO! The amount of a games he is working on is impressive, and the variance of game styles are interesting, to boot. But similarly to Bob's titles, his creations seem to be rife with customization and gameplay options galore. He is another British creator whose real name is Lewis, and his Atari 7800 library version of the Chronicles of Narnia is something to pay attention to.
This graphically impressive re-imagining of the flying portions of the seminal game Combat is slated for release very soon. Combat was the pack in game for the Atari 2600, and almost every Atarian of a certain age has poured hours into that game as a kid. While a drawback to Danger Zone may be that it requires two players to really enjoy it since there is no AI, the customization of the aircraft and the play field is impressive. From my memory, this amount of custom control is unheard of on any other Atari 7800 game at this point.
Bernie & the Cubic Conundrum
Here's a game with original mascot flex. Bernie and the Cubic Conundrum takes inspiration from Q*Bert and Pippo but changes up the main gameplay tropes with lots of additional elements. An evil robot has captured Bernie, and our adorable yet ugly-ass eponymous hero must escape the rooms by changing the floor tiles to one color while evading baddies of all ilks. There will be 50+ levels, 1 and 2 player simultaneous support, Atarivox compatibility (but he assures us no cusses like that Q*bert guy... dammit). AND... his wife even crocheted the mascot, Bernie... I'm not sure what you are supposed to do with that information, but here's the picture.
If the British are truly invading us with Atari 7800 games, EXO is their secret weapon. This is an Atari 7800 AAA title contender, for sure. I have played this game extensively and I can report that this game is gonna absorb your time like crack rock did with my uncle. Not to bore you will storylines, but the game's space traveling hero commands a ship that looks like a mech but can move like a spaceship. He is a part of a badass military group that deals with evil aliens, but his friends have been captured and are being held on various planets. There are actual cut scenes in this game, a great opening menu, terrific music, and punishing gameplay. Part maze shooter, part Metroidvania, part puzzle game, part mech game... this adventure will excite the 9 year old imagination inside of your little dumb brains unlike any game in the 7800 library. I don't wanna say that its cooler than Rikki & Vikki (but c'mon... there's a girl involved) or Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest (but c'mon... its a big fat bear that wears dumb hats) but its definitely cooler.
If you combine those three games with the rumors of Track and Field and other small games, Lewis (Muddyfunster) is looking to make a splash on the Atari 7800 scene. The British Invasion is upon us folks. Good thing for us that they are on our side this time.
I would also like to report that Muddyfunster included a screen in the game named after yours truly: Funk's Burrow! It's in world 3, and even though it looks like its in a shit-stained sewer, I'm gonna take it as a compliment. I wonder how he knows what my apartment looks like?