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Cafeman's Blog - RL5204 Escape From AirWorld


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In the early 2000's decade, there was an effort to make a 5200 version of Swordquest Airworld. It didn't get too far, but it inspired me to draw up a couple of screens just for fun - a palace in the clouds with ladders and platforms, and rooms with items. I never really liked any of the Atari 2600 Swordquest games. None of them. But I did like the concept. Especially of an "Airworld". I had my own idea of such a game, and it was nothing like the original Atari Swordquest games. Years ago I had a game design I called "Joust Adventure" - a man in a poor and arid world discovered a huge egg, hatched it, and then rode the hatched ostrich-like bird into the skies and discovered a world above the clouds. It was kind of influenced by Joust, kind of influenced by SEGA's Panzer Dragoon without me realizing it.

I abandoned that idea, then later I created a different type of design around the 'idea' of an Airworld type of game. My idea was more a game like Pitfall , or Montezuma's Revenge. It is a platformer with single flip-screens. You explore a land in the clouds. Not just a palace, but I wanted there to be multiple palaces and spooky/dangerous misty/cloud 'land' areas between them. Here are some of the gameplay and level features to differentiate this from every other platformer:

  • You walk on palace platforms and climb ladders. This world was designed for creatures who can fly, and you can't - yet.
  • Your goal is to get to the end of the entire game and finish it. Along the way you want to find and pick up treasures for points. Treasures will be inside Treasure Rooms, each with creatures which you must avoid touching.
  • To beat the game, you'll need to find the Sky Sandals. This will allow you to walk on cloud platforms. Then you can find ALL the hidden treasure rooms.
  • Another type of item to find are Wings. You can still make progress if you don't find every one, but you won't survive the end of the game if you don't find enough Wings. After all, you have to get back down to the ground level many miles below. Each time you find another Wing, you start to grow wings on your back and you can float a bit longer. This enables you to reach certain platforms which will lead to out-of-the-way screens and more treasure and items.
  • Imitating Pitfall, there is a "perfect" score if you find all the treasure and play perfectly, and the game can be beaten and thus has an ending.
Here are the Antic4 screens demonstrating the basic look of the outside platforms, and the inside Treasure Rooms.

Here's the description so far:

A powerful storm propels your prototype air craft many miles into the sky! Above the clouds you land in a strange, undiscovered land in the sky, full of sky palaces, strange creatures, and many dangers. Collect Golden Crowns, Ancient Weapons, and Precious Gems. Find power-ups to assist you and escape from the mysterious Air World!

I liked the idea so this is my theoretical 4th Atari 5200/A8 homebrew game.

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