Atarisoft was the name used by Atari to sell its games for a variety of computers, including the TI99/4A.
Console Version 2.2
Some TI99/4a consoles would not run Atarisoft modules due to changes made by TI in console version 2.2
Corrupt screen characters
Some Atarisoft games had "corrupt" large characters on some consoles as Atari's programmers were reading the large character definitions directly instead of using a location table, and on some consoles this was 4 bytes out. When queried Atari indicated that their games all worked on their console. Singular.
For games where the title screen only was affected it was not a big problem, but in Picnic Paranoia you could not read the scores.
The same error was seen in one Milton Bradley module, Sewermania, which did not affect game play.
Advertised but never seen
Some Atarisoft games were advertised for the TI (packaging shown in adverts) but there has been no evidence they were ever converted to run on a TI99/4a.
Some released Atari games include:
Requires Joystick 1. Shoot aliens (and captured humanoids that have been taken to the top of the screen) - you can't shoot mines.
Use the Plus (+) key to return to options, SPACE to destroy all aliens on screen, P for pause on/off, any other key to move to a random location.
- Fly low. Good Defender players seldom fly more than two inches above the planet, in order to protect their humanoids.
- Mutants are not as hard to destroy as it might appear. Thrust, then reverse direction and adjust your height simultaneously, and fire.
- Listen to the game sounds. Most of the time you'll hear a humanoid cry for help before you see it. Use the Scanner to find it. Try playing Defender using the Scanner alone a few times to get a good idea of how it works.
- You can carry a humanoid around with you so that the aliens can never destroy all ten of them without destroying you. But if you touch the planet, the humanoid will immediately jump free.
- Use Smart Bombs only in extreme emergencies, or if there are enough aliens on the screen to push you past a 10,000 point mark.
- When you're thrusting, move up and down and fire continuously to sweep your area clean.
- Aliens become confused if you quickly reverse twice, giving you time to blast them.
You begin the game with ten humanoids. When a humanoid is kidnaped, it cries out for help. The Scanner is the fastest way to spot its position.
There are two ways of rescuing a humanoid: either destroy the Lander and let the humanoid fall back to the planet; or destroy the Lander, catch the falling humanoid, and carry it back to the planet. Letting the humanoid fall only works if it's low enough to fall safely. If the humanoid falls safely, you score 250 points, plus 150 points for destroying the Lander. If the humanoid dies, you score only the 150 points for the Lander.
Catching a humanoid in midair is more difficult and earns you more points. To catch a humanoid, shoot the Lander and maneuver Defender to touch the humanoid, then carry it to the planet. This earns you 1000 points, plus 150 for the Lander. If you catch the humanoid but don't return it safely, you still earn 500 points, plus 150 for the Lander.
If the Lander succeeds in carrying a humanoid to the top of the screen, the humanoid becomes a Mutant and returns to attack Defender. When all of the humanoids become mutants, or are destroyed, the planet explodes and vanishes. You continue to play and score points. With every fifth wave, a destroyed planet reappears and all ten humanoids are replaced.
Dig Dug was created by Namco and used by Atari under licence.
Requires Joystick. Spacebar is pause on/off. Plus (+) key to select level.
Dig Dug starts each game with three lives. After he burrows to the center of the earth on his own, use your joystick to send him where you want. When he enters a tunnel where Monster 1 is lurking, the monster begins to chase him. Explode Monster 1 quickly by pressing and holding the fire button, or by pumping it repeatedly. Pumping the button just once or twice will stun the monster so that Dig Dug can slip past. Touching Monster 1 when he's not stunned will knock Dig Dug out.
You can handle Monsster 2 in almost the same way, but dragons breathe fire, so be careful if you approach him while he's looking at you. Attacking him from the side is worth more points than attacking from above or below.
Another way to handle the monsters is to drop rocks on them. To do this, tunnel underneath a rock when one or more monsters are chasing you. If you're tunneling upward, make a sharp turn just before you reach the rock and let it fall on them! If you're tunneling sideways, time yourself so that the rock falls just as they run underneath! Dropping rocks on monsters scores more points, especially if you can hit more than one monster with one rock.
After two rocks have fallen in any round, a veggie or fruit appears at the center of the earth for 10 seconds. If Dig Dug can gobble it up, he earns extra points.
Unless you destroy the monsters quickly, they turn into ghosts and move through the ground directly toward Dig Dug. As soon as they enter a tunnel completely, they become solid again, but while they're still ghosts, Dig Dug can only drop rocks on them.
The last monster left in any round gets scared of Dig Dug and runs to the surface, turning into a ghost, if necessary, to make his trip as fast as possible. Once on the surface, he scampers to the left side of the screen. To catch him, Dig Dug has to race toward the surface himself. If Dig Dug doesn't catch the monster before he reaches the left corner, the round ends.
Introducing Mario. Created by Nintendo and used by Atari under licence.
Use Joystick. Spacebar to pause, move joystick to unpause.
Move your joystick left or right to make Mario run in that direction. Move the joystick up or down to make him climb or descend ladders. Press the red joystick button to make Mario jump. He can jump while standing still or running but not while on a ladder.
Mario always begins at the bottom of a stack of girders. He must climb ladders, and leap over a barrage of bouncing barrels.
If Mario finds himself at the bottom of a pyramid of girders, he must dash over all eight steel rivets to accumulate points while avoiding fatal torching by the fireballs. But after removing the rivets, he must take care to leap over the gaps.
When Mario jumps on to a series of fast-moving elevators to get to the top, he has to avoid the pursuing fireballs.
Mario also faces a complicated chain of conveyor belts. He must sidestep moving buckets of sand while continuing to battle the unrelenting fireballs.
He has only three chances to reach the top of the heap though he can win an extra chance by scoring 7,000 points all the while racing against the clock.
Speed counts, especially when you're challenging the broken girder ramps. Dawdling fuels Donkey Kong's anger — he'll bowl barrels faster and harder. So move Mario quickly!
The hammers, which last for about 10 seconds, can be very useful. But, you'll need to make sure Mario stops running before smashing a fireball or barrel — each of these tricksters can easily slip under a hammer on the upswing and polish Mario off.
Be careful when approaching ladders. Barrels have minds of their own, and may drop down on Mario's noggin at the last possible moment.
While Mario runs in one direction, you can slam the joystick to the opposite side a split second before using the jump button — he'll back-jump over unplugged rivets or other foes.
When two obstacles approach, get a running start, then press the jump button — he'll execute a flying broad jump. Timing his jumps is the key to Mario's success on the elevators and conveyor belts.
Joystick or Keyboard - keys ESDX or IMJK for direction with Y or Q the equivalent of the fire button.
You must swing through an impassable jungle on ropes, swim through a crocodile-infested river, maneuver through a landslide of boulders, and finally fight off the horde of savages wielding poisoned spears. You need to resuce someone suspended over a steaming cauldron of bubbling broth, who is steadily slipping into the drink.
You start with four lives and earn a fifth upon scoring 10,000 points.
When the hunt starts, your timer will count down from 5000. You must finish the rescue before it runs out. You'll score more bonus points for a fast rescue!
Swing from the dangling ropes and jump by pressing the Fire button from one to the next. Since some ropes swing faster than others, you'll have to time your leaps carefully. Don't wait too long to jump, or the hunter will become weak and fall into the brush.
From the last of the trees, you jump into the crocodile-infested river. Once in the water, you must swim out of the way of the crocs or fend them off with your knife. Press the Fire button to stab them. Beware: make sure you stab them in the snout your knife is useless if their mouths are open. Keep an eye on the air gauge though, because if you run out of air while under water, you'll lose a life. Just re-surface to replenish your air supply When you reach the river bank, the boulder field lies ahead.
As the rocks tumble toward you, jump over them or run beneath to avoid being crushed. You can control your left or right movement with the joystick, leap into the air by pressing the Fire button, and jump higher if the joystick is pressed up.
Once you've passed the boulders, you're finally in reach of your companion, guarded by spear-wielding savages. You must dodge the dancing cannibals by running left or right and jumping over their spears. You finally leap up to the captive followed by a reward of additional bonus points for any time remaining.
Spacebar to pause / unpause. Uses joystick or keyboard- "fire" is V or Y, jump with I or E and change speed- slow is J or S and fast is K or D
Each course is divided into 26 segments, marked by points A-Z. A gauge at the bottom of the screen indicates your location. The gauge is divided into five sections: A-E, E-J, J-O, O-T, and T-Z. At the end of each section, you're awarded bonus points based on your travel time. The faster you complete a section the more points you'll score.
- Play the Beginner game variation first, to learn how to control your patrol car.
- You'll jump farther when your patrol car is moving fast. Be sure you're driving fast enough to jump over an obstacle.
- Try taking one long jump over two closely positioned obstacles.
- Your laser bullets are only effective a short distance in front of you. Don't fire too early or you might miss your target.
- Some UFOs drop missiles that form new craters. Learn to recognize these UFOs and eliminate them quickly.
- When an enemy car or missile appears from behind, jump over it, then blast it when it's in front of you.
Ms Pac Man
The follow up to Pac Man. The first of many. Created by Bally Midway Mfg. Co. sub-licensed to Atari Inc. by Namco-America Inc.
Spacebar to pause / unpause. Joystick or keyboard- keys ESDX or IJKM for direction. Four mazes, three lives.
Eat dots and prizes, avoid ghosts. Eat energiser and ghosts turn blue and can be eaten but only for a short time, they will revert to normal color and will attack you.
- Make sure Ms. Pac-Man eats the dots as quickly as she can. But don't let her take the energizers too early, or she'll lose her only edge over the ghosts. Wait until they start to gain on her. Then she can tease them toward an energizer before she gobbles it up and turns the chase on them.
- Remember, each maze has escape tunnels that lead off stage and back on again and safe spots where Ms. Pac-Man can hide. They could save her life.
The classic game which followed Invaders in the arcades all those years ago. There was even a pop record Pac Man Fever. This is a faithful reproduction of the arcade game, with graphics which come very close to matching the arcade version.
Created by Bally Midway Mfg. Co. sub-licensed to Atari Inc. by Namco-America Inc.
TI's own version of Munch Man was modified when Atari took a dislike to the similarity to Pac Man. The unmodified version escaped after TI had exited the market.
Uses joystick. Space to pause, move joystick to unpause.
Eat dots and prizes, avoid ghosts. Eat energiser and ghosts turn blue and can be eaten but only for a short time, they will revert to normal color and will attack you. Each ghost uses a differing strategy.
Created by Synapse Software Corporation manufactured under license by Atari Inc.
You may select level of difficulty at the beginning, but you score no extra for higher difficulty levels, and once you have accomplished your task, that is that. The task is to move people from one city to another while an alien craft is picking them up and dropping them into a volcano. Stage two involves moving them from the 2nd city, which is now being engulfed in lava, to a further place of safety. There are a few aliens trying to stop you too.
Spacebar to pause / unpause. The documentation makes no mention at all of controls apart from telling you to plug a joystick in! Use Joystick.
You launch your fighter from your base deep inside the defense post. Refuel your fighter by docking at the refueling pod from where your fighter was originally launched. The alignment of the fighter pod is critical. If it is not exact, you may crash.
In order to transport people from one city to another, you must "hook" each person, one at a time, by passing immediately above the person that you wish to lift. You will know when they are hooked as they will stop waving their arms. After hooking them you must ascend and the person will cling to the bottom of your fighter. In order to "drop" a person you merely fly over the area where you wish to deposit the person (making sure that they touch the disembarking area) and he/ she will pop off.
All of the people must first be brought to the City before the barrier to the Fortress will be opened. It is possible (in some of the easier levels) to catch people before they sink into the mouth of Dragonmaw This maneuver requires great skill and timing. Also the unpredictability of the volcanic eruptions makes this a very risky procedure.
Created by Synapse Software Corporation, manufactured under license by Atari Inc.
Spacebar to pause / unpause. Joystick control.
Your goal is to reach the very core of The Shadow's Lair and destroy him. This is accomplished by progressively exploring each level of the Lair and accumulating the greatest number of points, bonuses, and extra lives.
The Lair consists of four levels, the colors in order of progressive difficulty are black, blue, green, and red. You gain extra points for completely clearing each room of intruders. In the Lair you will encounter POD rooms, which exist in another dimension and have only a small time window which must be opened to gain entrance.
Each of the colored levels of the Lair contains various colored Keys which are paired with matching colored Keyholes. These Keys are picked up by Shamus by touching them. As they are touched they are displayed in the right-hand bottom of the screen. When encountering a Keyhole of the matching color, Shamus merely makes contact with the Keyhole and the wall retracts permitting you to proceed through the Lair. If the wall does not drop, you have not obtained the correct color-coded Key, and you will not be permitted past the Keyhole. This is the only way to gain entry from one color level to another.
Be extremely careful when you hear a low-pitched pulsing begin. This is a signal that The Shadow is about to enter the room. You cannot kill The Shadow but you can stun him. He remains stunned for a short time, after which you had better move quickly!
The current number of lives is displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. If you encounter a bubbling bottle in a room you need merely to touch it to obtain an extra life. By passing over pulsating question marks you will invite either bonus points or an extra life.