Archer Maclean's Atari Arcade Experiments Have Been Preserved 1
Image: Games That Weren't

Development disks which once belonged to the legendary British developer and game designer Archer Maclean have been preserved by Games That Weren't, giving the gaming world a glimpse of some of the unreleased projects the late coder worked on during the '80s.

The 5.25″ work disks cover Maclean's efforts on the Atari 400 / 800 and show him tinkering with various arcade titles in an effort to familiarise himself with the hardware.

The disks contain very early graphical tests for Donkey Kong and Tempest ports, as well as a Pole Position clone, which Maclean had named Road Roller. A playable but unfinished version of Atari's Breakout was also found.

However, the most exciting find was a port of Robotron, which was rumoured back in the '80s and even got mentioned in an interview with Zzap64! magazine.

As Games That Weren't explains:

Within his disks was a simple BASIC demo that draws on enemies into the screen, with a cursor that can be moved and which the robots track. Later assembly language work was done, where Archer got to the stage of mapping out the game screen with some basic objects. He also drew all the objects for the game in a graphic file.

Sadly that seems to be as far as it ever got. No further developments were made, and Archer would focus his efforts on Defender and Stargate (before moving onto Dropzone). It is however a lovely early glimpse at what could have been and an indication of Archer’s early ambitions

The preserved data is now available to download and view if you fancy poking around in the abandoned workings of a coding genius.

Famous for titles such as Dropzone, International Karate, Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker and Archer Maclean's Mercury, Maclean sadly passed away in 2022 at the age of 60.