2003   SEPTEMBER 3   #246

Atari - Fly, Yar Warriors/Missile Command/Atari Theme

I file these records under the "Who-The-Heck-Bought-These-Things" category. These LPs were thrifted by an old roommate of mine, still in their shrink-wrap, and I had to BEG him (ultimately sacrificing a couple of Pioneer speakers) for their possession. It would appear that back in the early 1980's, when America's obsession with video games was still in its infancy, the good people at Atari recognized that their was a significant population of people (namely children under the age of 6) who, due to lack of eye-hand coordination, were unable to spend their money and time playing video games.

Recognizing the injustice of this situation, Atari had the folks at Kid Stuff Records put out albums with stories and music about popular video games to prime these young people for the glorious day when, they too, could waste precious hours (perhaps eventually years) of their childhood's holding a joystick while staring at a video screen.

However, one good thing appears to have come out of the project: the music. While no credits are given to the musicians, one can only hope the Gary Numan cover band they recruited to do these tunes were laughing themselves sick at the end of the session. I know I was the first time I heard this monstrosity!

- Matt Grayer

TT-9:20 / 4.3MB / 64kbps 22khz
from the albums, "Missile Command" and "Yars' Revenge" (Kid Stuff Records) 1982

(Image courtesy of Matt Grayer)

Sammy Reed writes:
I have the "Yars' Revenge" and "Asteroids" albums. I'd say they all have equally dopey songs. I'm still marvelling at why anyone would use a toy 1980 Casio keyboard, with that cheap "bonk, TIC, bonkbonkTIC" sound, on a commercial recording. In this particular sound file, it's more noticable on "Missile Command", but it was used a lot in other songs in the Kids' Stuff Atari albums.

Rob G. writes:
I wanted to let you and those playing along at home that you can download that entire Yar's Revenge album and a Asteroids album, plus a really weird cardboard promo for another Atari game (Mindscape) at the Digital Press web site. The site is http://www.digitpress.com
Direct URL for the downloads is http://digitalpress.5u.com/mp3.htm. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the goods, though there's also a lot of cool re-mixes of classic video game themes people have done there. I'd also encourage people who've had their nostalgia sparked by this selection to sign up for the message board. It's pretty much the hub for retro-gaming conversation!

Rocketboy writes:
Garsh! I still have fond memories of wasting hours playing "Yars' Revenge". Despite the obvious technical improvements (COSMETIC!!) in videogames since their inception, I have yet to find many that could challenge "Yars'" for sheer white-knuckle fun and frustration. Easily the best game to ever feature on the Atari 2600 console. Flyyyyy yar warriors flyyyyyy!

Pixelface writes:
Well, I think the whole Atari suite is perhaps the funniest thing that I've ever heard. Nothing could prepare me for the casio VL-Tone intro to Missile Command, and the oh so poignant tale of a race of pacifists forced to fight - well something - and also practice to fight, insult to injury. If only someone had made an album for the ZX Spectrum 48k - I would be a happy and slighly less hinged man.