The 7800 was originally planned to be released in 1984, but the great video game crash and Atari’s sale to Jack Tramiel, held up the release until 1986. Some games that were in development were shelved at that time and others when Atari stopped making the 7800 in early 1992. As it turns out, there were some great games, that were nearly complete, that were never released.
Over the years, the code for some of these games has been located and a few of these games have been made playable and released by 7800 enthusiasts. Some of these games were able to be complied and released on carts to the 7800 community. Three outstanding games that have been made available are: Klax, Plutos, and Sirius.
Klax was a 1989 Atari coin op game that was released for the 2600, the NES, and the Sega Genesis, but not for the 7800. Klax is a computer puzzle game along the lines of Tetris. Klax for the 7800 was, apparently, completed but never released. Almost a decade ago, Klax was rescued and can now be played on the 7800. I don’t have a copy of Klax for the 7800 yet, but it is on my wish list and it should be on yours as well.
Plutos and Sirus were games in development by the British company Tynesoft. The source code for these games was found in 2008 by Curt Vendel and three talented programmers (Bob DeCrescenzo, Mitchell Orman, and Eckhard Stolberg) were able to compile stable versions. A couple of other enthusiasts have made carts available to the 7800 community. Theses games are very similar; Plutos is a vertical scrolling space ‘shoot um up’ and Sirius is a horizontal scroller. I was recently able to get my hands on carts of these games and they are amazing. The graphics in these games set the bar for what the 7800 is capable of and they are fun to play as well! Had they been released back in 1990, they probably would have been big sellers.
Other games that have been found in various states of completion are: Gato, Pit Fighter, Missing in Action, Rampart, and Rescue on Fractalus. Games that were announced for the 7800, but are still missing are: Electrocop, Millipede, Sky Fox, and Steel Talons. One day, the source code for one or more of these missing games may be located and released to the 7800 community.
For more info on the games in this blog check out Atari Protos.