Oystron - Atari 2600



"In the Irata solar system lies the planet Stella. It is surrounded by an energy belt. In this belt there live space oysters. They make good food, so there are other outer space creatures living among them, that eat the oysters..."

Oystron started life as an exercise in Atari 2600 programming regarding how to reuse a sprite to put more objects on the screen. It eventually morphed into a game that borrows elements of Sinistar, Defender, and Rip-Off. Your objective in Oystron is to shoot the Space Oysters and convert them to pearls, collecting the pearls and then depositing them into the Pearls Zone. Enemies will attempt to steal the pearls once they reach the left edge of the screen, so you must act quickly!

Near the end of each level the Oystron Phase begins, where the Oystron enters the screen and you must kill him by dropping bombs, trying not to let him get away. The game also includes a Warp Phase, where you travel at high speed between Space Oysters and enemies.

Supports both NTSC and PAL television formats. Includes cartridge and manual.

Author Piero Cavina
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Piero Cavina
nuggetPRich on 06/19/2020 09:26pm
Great game. This is a 2600 game that has a real learning curve. Complexity in a game that is so simple is the genius of it. My Rating 5!
Christopher Oldham on 03/31/2019 08:16am
This game is a lot of fun and well made. The concept is easy. I love the back and forth movement of the on screen shooter. I will say, it ramps up quickly and gets difficult. The hardest part is that the ship seems to have some inertia to makes it a little hard to get used to.

The tectures/colors are well done for the 2600 TIA chip. And it is challenging. It's not a top favorite but easily in the top 30 of all 2600 games I own.
Mark Hinds on 01/26/2019 12:52am
Highly addictive spaceship shooter. The enemies come in three waves. The idea is to collect the 'pearls' left when an enemy is destroyed and to place them in rows. Each row that you complete earns you an additional bomb, to use during the third wave when the 'Oystron' appears. You place each bomb as you would a mine. Hitting the Fire button plants one of these mines. The idea is to place it where you think the 'Oystron' will go. Your ship can carry a maximum of 6 bombs at a time. Colliding with an enemy will end this wave, but the progress bar (bottom left) will be at a point close to triggering wave 3 all over again. So if you are out of bombs quickly collect enough 'Pearls' to form a row and do so. Destroying the 'Oystron will end wave 3, and then wave 1 will repeat at a greater difficulty etc.

There are three difficulty settings:
GAME 1: Beginner
GAME 2: Intermediate
GAME 3: Expert

There are enemies that can steal all of the 'Pearls' in a row. READ THE MANUAL. Be very careful of the enemies that resemble a Roman numeral 3. They can and do change lanes. They will even skip over one or more lanes in order to collide with you. When they reach the far left of the screen they will reverse course. Destroy them if you can, but be advised that if you do so it will anger them and they will return quickly and come for you.

Highly Recommended for shooter fans!

WARNING!: Wave 3 features extreme flashing throughout the wave. This may trigger a seizure in epileptics.
StanJr on 03/06/2018 09:12am
Oystron is a fun and engaging space shooter for the Atari 2600. It features a novel concept with intriguing and challenging gameplay. It takes a few minutes to fully comprehend what is going on, but once you get the hang of collecting pearls and fending off the bad guys, you'll be having fun in no time. Just be forewarned about the completely disorienting and psychologically jarring Oystron phase. If you are even slightly set off by flashing lights, you may want to give this game a pass. What happens during the Oystron phase is very similar to what happens to Alex in A Clockwork Orange. But if you can make it through that with your wits intact there is much to enjoy about Oystron. Don't be wary just because it's one of the earliest homebrews out there!
Darrell Spice on 01/07/2009 10:07pm
Space Oysters, Pearls and Bombs?!?! Oystron is definitely a weird game that would have fit in perfectly back in the day.

The game consists of three waves. The waves all look the same, but different things occur in them. Once done with the third wave you'll go back to the first, but at a higher difficulty.

In the first wave you shoot down the enemies and Space Oysters as they appear on the right. Each enemy has a different way of moving, making for some nice variety, and on top of that as you progress to higher levels the enemies can take on new abilities that will catch you off guard. When destroyed, the enemies will usually release a pearl which you need to collect and drop off in the Collection Zone on the left side of the screen. You'll be rewarded with a bomb(up to 6) for each filled row of pearls. Some of the enemies will try to destroy and/or steal your pearls, thus making the completion of rows more challenging than it first appears.

In the second wave the Oystron appears, and the only thing that can destroy it are the bombs you acquired in the first wave. The bombs are more like land mines in that instead of shooting them at the Oystron you are attempting to place them in the Oystron's erratic path.

The third wave takes place while warping back to the first wave. This wave plays like the first but is more difficult because it's faster and the colors of the screen flash so much that it's distracting. It's tempting to stay put in a a single row to minimize risk of death, but the points are worth more so it's to your advantage to keep moving.

The graphics are a little blockier than current homebrews, more on par with the initial Atari games(which makes sense as this is one of the earlier homebrew games). While they're certainly more than adequate, a little more detail in your ship would have been nice. The sound effects are great, and I really liked the background sounds which made me feel like I was playing in an arcade!

Label art was also done by Piero Carvina, and just like the game it also would have fit in perfectly back in the day.

I'm really surprised this game is not in the top 10 sales, it deserves to be.

Note: If you suffer epilepsy then this game is not for you because of the flashing in the third wave.
William Pilgrim on 10/30/2007 05:46pm

I didn't understand the hype surrounding Oystron when it was first released. While the game certainly wasn't ugly, it still seemed like yet another space shooter with nothing really new to add to the genre... that is until I read the manual.

Yeah, you heard me right. This is a game for our beloved VCS where it is highly suggested that you read the manual before playing. That's not to say that the gameplay is overly complicated. On the contrary. It's just not at all what one might expect at a glance.

This game has provided me so many hours of blissful entertainment I cannot even begin to tell you! I'm not going to go into detail about the plot nor am I going to explain how to play the game. READ THE MANUAL for yourself (I can't stress it enough) - it has everything you need to know to get started. So what are you waiting for? You'll thank me later.
Nathan Strum on 10/15/2007 06:35am
One of the earliest of the modern-era homebrews is still one of the best. A fast-paced shooter requiring twitch reflexes, Oystron also delivers surprising depth and a ton of replay value. The game is split into three phases - the goal of the first phase is to shoot enemies that approach you from the right side of the screen and catch "pearls" that they release, collecting them in rows along the left half of the screen. What the manual inexplicably neglects to tell you, is that each row that you complete earns you an additional bomb, to use during the second (Oystron) phase. It took me more than a few games to figure this rather important point out.

During the Oystron phase, you plant bombs around the screen in an attempt to get the Oystron to run into one and blow itself up. The more bombs you accumulate in the first phase, the more you have to use here. Following that is the Warp phase, which is basically a faster version of the first phase (albeit with psychedelic colors), after which you return to the first phase, but at a higher difficulty level.

Oystron is packed with frenetic action, top-notch graphics, excellent sounds, and unique and addictive gameplay. There's a good variety of enemies, each with different characteristics, and enough challenge to keep you coming back for more. Although the manual is a little lacking in information (such as what the different game variations are), at only $20, the only remaining question about this game is - why haven't you bought a copy of it yet? Oystron should really be on the AtariAge Bestsellers list by now. If you're looking for an outstanding action game, whether you're in the habit of buying homebrews or not, pick up Oystron.
Raul Torres on 01/03/2006 10:01am
This is one heck of a game... I love games that challenge you with several objectives to do at a time. Great looking game, & cool sounds. Oystron is definitely one of my favorites.
chris folkerts on 10/13/2004 07:03pm
This game is a lot of fun. It's a well-conceived game that seems to take full advantage of all of the 2600's color capabilities. Good for a quick play or an extended gaming session. Comes complete with corny backstory!

Add Your Review

Your Name:
Email Address:
Note: HTML is not translated! Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
Your Rating: 5
Your Name:
Your Email:
Friends Name:
Friends Email: