Task: Play an Atari Game You Have Never Played Before
Needed: Web browser, Emulator
Time: 10-15 mins
There are hundreds and hundreds of games for the Atari 8-bit computers and video game consoles. One of my favorite things to do is to try new games I have never played before. Often I am disappointed with my random selection. However, every once in awhile I find a hidden gem. I recently loaded the Homesoft game collection onto the microSD care of my FujiNet and loaded up the one with Donkey Kong (Homesoft #15) for a few rounds with Mario. On that ATR is a game called The Bean Machine which I had never heard of before. I gave it a try and found it to be a really fun and engaging game.
The gameplay is really simple. An elevator grabs white balls from the bottom of the screen and takes them up where they are released onto a series of tilting beams. You can select the beams one at a time and control the tilt. Your goal is to get all the balls to your receptacle at the bottom in as little time as possible. You must avoid creatures which destroy the balls and keep the balls from touching each other. I really loved this game and am so glad I discovered it!
Here is a description of the game taken from an Antic magazine ad: “THE BEAN MACHINE by Steve Robinson is an Award Winning Arcade game that will drive you crazy balancing a series of beams while trying to get all the beans to roll down, without touching, all the while avoiding ‘strange creatures’ who drop in to steal the beans. It’s addicting!”
You can find this game on ATR #15 from the Homesoft Collection. Here is a zip file with an ATR containing just the game. I found this one at atari.vjetnam.cz.
These can be loaded into the Altirra emulator for play on your PC, booted from your PC using SIO2PC, written to a floppy disk using AtariMax ProSystem software with an SIO2PC, or loaded onto a flash device such as FujiNet or SDrive-Max.
The Bean Machine was originally listed with the Atari Program Exchange (APX) for $24.95. Here is an ad for it in a 1983 APX catalog.
Here is an interview with the programmer, Steve Robinson, from the ANTIC podcast. Here it is on YouTube.
Let me know if you find a gem!