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We first heard about Antstream last year, and it sounded right up our street! Anstream is pretty much “Netflix for retro games”, and offers you the chance to stream and play a whole bunch of retro-games on Windows, Mac, Linux and consoles for a monthly subscription (£9.99 per month, or you can pay yearly at a discounted rate)

Users who signed up to their Kickstarter campaign earlier this year have had early access, but the service officially launched yesterday for those in the UK, so RAM OK ROM OK took a look on what they have to offer.

Once you’ve downloaded the Antsream app, you’ll need to sign up. You can view the games available without starting your subscription, to see if it’s for you.

Netflix for Games​


Like Netflix, games are presented in categories such as Platform Games, Beat-Em-Ups, Sports games. One thing that appears to be missing is the option to view by platform, so if you’re looking for all of the Amiga games then you have to hunt and peck for them (We’ve made a list of launch games by platform below).

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Let’s Play!

Also the range of platforms is currently limited to Arcade (mainly Data East and SNK games), Amiga, Spectrum, Commodore 64 and a smattering of Mega Drive. Though an appearance from Nintendo is unlikely, it would be nice to see some offerings on other platforms. Hopefully this will happen in the future.

Okay, so let’s play. I’m going for Pinball Dreams for the Amiga. I used to be a wizard on the Nightmare table back in the day, so lets see if I still have the skills…

Clicking on Pinball Dreams shows a great big box giving you a small description of the game, but nowhere could I see a way of playing the game. I checked my subscription was valid (it was), and clicked a few other games to make sure I wasn’t going mad. Nope, still nothing.

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How do I play the game?!?!?!?!?!

Okay, let’s check the website. Browsing the FAQ section it seems I have to click the game image twice. Nothing in the great big box telling me about the game mentions this, or gives the option to ‘play now’

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From the FAQs

So I followed the ‘click twice’ instructions and it leads me to a page with more details about the Pinball Dreams. It is then that I am able to play the game finally!

You have the option to play via keyboard, joypad or touch screen (where applicable). An option to redefine keys would be good though as it would be nice to be able to use the shift keys in Pinball Dreams like in the original Amiga version.

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How to play shows you what the controls are before the game starts
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And you can double check the instructions too
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Not as good at Pinball Dreams as I used to be

I must admit, I had concerns about the games being streamed, but when playing the games, they felt responsive with no noticeable lag. I wasn’t able to try on a 4G connection so YMMV.

One feature of Antstream is what it calls ‘Challenges’. Some games have essentially an achievements feature where you can win badges for making a burger in Burger Time or punching lots of people in Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja.

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Super Burger Times comes with Challenges…
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…such as how quick you can make a burger

The old cynic in me thinks that “we enjoyed these games in the past without all this patting on the back stuff”, but I realise I’m old and I reckon a lot of people would really enjoy it. Plus you can play the games normally without paying attention to the Challenges.

Here is a full list of games by platform (there’s a lot, so click on the categories to view them).

Arcade​



Act-Fancer
Art of Fighting
Athena
B-Wings
Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja
Baseball Stars 2
Battle Field
Bermuda Triangle
Block Out
Bloody Wolf
Bogey Manor
Boogie Wings
BreakThru
BreakThru
BurgerTime
Butasan
Chain Reaction
Chopper I
Crude Buster
Cybattler
Dark Seal
Darwin 4078
Death Brade
Desert Assault
Desert War
Dommy
Double Dragon
Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
Dunk Dream
Dunk Dream 95
Earth Defense Force
Exerion
Fantasy
Fatal Fury: King of Fighters
Fighter’s History
Fighter’s History Dynamite
Fighting Soccer
Formation Z
Gang Wars
Gladiator 1984
Gondomania
Guerrilla War
HAL 21
HAL 21
Heavy Barrel
Ikari III: The Rescue
Ikari Warriors
Joe & Mac Returns
Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja
Joyful Road
Jumping Cross
Karate Champ
Lasso
Last Mission
Legend of Makai
Liberation
Lock ‘n’ Chase
Mad Alien
Mad Crasher
Magical Drop III
Magician Lord
Mania Challenge
Marvin’s Maze
Metal Clash
Metal Slug
Midnight Resistance
Minky Monkey
Mysterious Stones
Naughty Boy
Nitro Ball
P-47: The Phantom Fighter
P.O.W: Prisoners of War
Paddle Mania
Peter Pepper’s Ice Cream Factory
Plus Alpha
Prehistoric Isle in 1930
Psychic 5
Psycho Soldier
Psycho-Nics Oscar
Renegade
Rodland
Saint Dragon
SAR: Search and Rescue
Scrambled Egg
Shackled
Shadow Force
Shoot Out
Side Pocket
Sky Adventure
Sky Soldiers
Sly Spy
Spinmaster
SRD: Super Real Darwin
Street Smart
Super BurgerTime
Super Dodge Ball
Tag Team Wrestling
The Astyanax
The Combatribes
The Next Space
TNK III
Touch Down Fever
Touchdown Fever 2
Trio The Punch – Never Forget Me
Tumblepop
U.S. Championship Volley Ball
Valtric
Valtric
Vanguard
Vanguard II
Victory Road
Western Express
Wizard Fire
Xain’d Sleena
Yellow Cab

Amiga​



3D Galax
Artura
Astaroth: The Angel of Death
Axel’s Magic Hammer
Battle Valley
Bmx Simulator
Bubble Dizzy
Butcher Hill
Cadaver
Cadaver: The Payoff
Chip’s Challenge
CJ Elephant Antics
CJ In The USA
Combo Racer
Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
Custodian
Cybernoid II: The Revenge
Cybernoid: The Fighting Machine
Dark Fusion
Death Mask
Deliverance: Stormlord II
Dinosaur Detective Agency
Disposable Hero
Dizzy Panic!
Dizzy: Fantasy World Dizzy
Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk
Erik
Exolon
Fast Food Dizzy
Flimbo’s Quest
Galactic Warrior Rats
Gods
H.A.T.E.
H.A.T.E.
Head Over Heels
Hellfire Attack
Impossamole
Impossible Mission 2
Insects in Space
Kick Off
Kick Off 2
Kick Off 3
Kwik Snax
Little Puff In Dragonland
Llamatron: 2112
Magic Pockets
Magicland Dizzy
Miami Chase
Mig 29 Soviet Fighter
Nebulus
Nebulus 2
Netherworld
Paradroid 90
Pegasus
Persian Gulf Inferno
Pinball Dreams
Putty
Revenge of the Mutant Camels
Sensible Soccer
Sensible World of Soccer
Shadow Fighter
Skidz
Slayer
Slightly Magic
Speedball
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
Steel
Stormlord
Super Cars
Super Cars ll
Super Seymour Saves The Planet
Switchblade
Switchblade II
The Chaos Engine
The Games: Summer Edition
The Last Ninja 2
The Last Ninja 3
Treasure Island Dizzy
Tusker
Venus the Flytrap
Videokid
Winter Games
Wizball
Wizkid
Xenon
Xenon 2: Megablast
Zool
Zool 2
Zynaps

COMMODORE 64​



Aftermath
Anarchy
Ancipital
Artura
Attack of the Mutant Camels
Auf Wiedersehen Monty
Avenger
Bangkok Knights
Batalyx
Battle Valley
Bee 52
Bigfoot
BMX Freestyle Simulator
Bombo
Bounder
Break Dance
Bulldog
Chip’s Challenge
CJ Elephant Antics
CJ In The USA
Cops & Robbers
Cosmic Causeway
Cosmonut
Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
Cyberdyne Warrior
Cybernoid: The Fighting Machine
Dark Fusion
Death Race 64
Deliverance: Stormlord II
Devon Aire
Dizzy Panic!
Dizzy, The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure
Dizzy: Down the Rapids
Dizzy: Fantasy World Dizzy
Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk
Dizzy: Spellbound Dizzy
DJ Puff’s Volcantic Capers
Dominator
Eagles
Everyone’s a Wally
Exolon
Fast Food Dizzy
Firelord
Fist II
Flimbo’s Quest
Flunky
Frightmare
Future Knight
Game Over
Gateway to Apshai
Ghost Hunters
Globetrotter
Golf Master
Grand Prix Simulator
Grand Prix Simulator 2
Grebit
Grell & Fella
Gribbly’s Day Out
Gridrunner
Guardian Angel, The
H.A.T.E.
Head Over Heels
Hell Gate
Hellfire Attack
Hercules: Slayer of the Damned!
Herobotix
Highway Encounter
Hostages
Hover Bovver
Humm-dinger
Hysteria
Insects in Space
Iridis Alpha
Jack the Nipper
Jumpman
Jumpman Jr
Kwik Snax
Laser Zone
Lazer Force
Lethal
Little Puff In Dragonland
Magic Rufus
Magicland Dizzy
Mama Llama
Marauder
Maze Mania
Mean Machine
Mega Apocalypse
Meganova
Metabolis
Metagalactic Llamas
Metranaut
Microball
Mig 29 Soviet Fighter
Monkey Magic
Monster Munch
Monty on the Run
Myth
Nebulus
Olli & Lissa 3
Operation Fireball
Paradroid
Pirates in Hyperspace
Pitstop
Pitstop II
Poltergeist
Potty Pigeon
Psycastria
Ranarama
Re-Bounder
Renegade 3
Return of the Mutant Camels
Revenge of the Mutant Camels
Rik the Roadie
Rollin’
Saboteur
SAS Combat Simulator
Scare Bear
Scorpion
Sheep in Space
Silicon Warrior
Slightly Magic
Snoball In Hell
Snooker
Snooker
Soccer Challenge
Speedball
Spike In Transylvania
Spindizzy
Star Paws
Street Sports Baseball
Street Sports Soccer
Suicide Express
Sunburst
Super Cycle
Super Dragon Slayer
Super Robin Hood
Super Seymour Saves The Planet
Super Stuntman
Superkid in Space
Switchblade
Sword of Fargoal
Tarzan Goes Ape!
Temple of Apshai Trilogy
The Last Ninja
The Last Ninja 2
The Movie Monster Game
The Way of the Exploding Fist
Thing Bounces Back
Thing on a Spring
Tilt
Treasure Island Dizzy
Tusker
Uridium
Vampire
Vendetta
Vixen
Wanted: Monty Mole
Who Dares Wins II
Wizball
Xenon
Zynaps

Mega Drive​



California Games
Cannon Fodder
Gods
Mega Lo Mania
Premier Manager
Premier Manager 97
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
Super Kick Off
Sword of Sodan
The Chaos Engine
The Humans
Todd’s Adventures in Slimeworld
Xenon 2: Megablast
Zool

ZX Spectrum​



1999
Abu Simbel Profanation
Aftermath
Artura
Auf Wiedersehen Monty
Avenger
Bargain Basement
Battle Valley
Bigfoot
BMX Freestyle Simulator
BMX Simulator
Bomber
Bounder
Bubble Dizzy
Butch Hard Guy
Capitan Sevilla
Caverns of Kontonia
Cerius
CJ Elephant Antics
CJ In The USA
Contact Sam Cruise
Crazy Castles
Creepy Dungeons
Crystal Kingdom Dizzy
Cybernoid II: The Revenge
Cybernoid: The Fighting Machine
Dark Fusion
Death Before Dishonour
Dizzy Panic!
Dizzy, The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure
Dizzy: Down the Rapids
Dizzy: Fantasy World Dizzy
Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk
Dizzy: Spellbound Dizzy
Dominator
Doombase
Downtown
Drunk Policeman
Everyone’s a Wally
Exolon
Fast Food Dizzy
Firelord
Firestorm
Fist II
Flunky
Frightmare
Future Knight
Gateway to Hell
Ghost Hunters
Ghostly Grange
Grand Prix Simulator
Grebit
Grell & Fella
Gridrunner
Grumpy Gumphrey Supersleuth
Gunrunner
H.A.T.E.
Heartbroken
Henry’s Hoard
Hijack
Hypa Raid
Hysteria
Impossaball
Indoor Soccer
Interalia (Cerius 2)
Invasion Force
Jack the Nipper
Jock & the Time Rings
Kosmos
Kwik Snax
Laser Zone
Little Puff In Dragonland
Luna Attac
Magicland Dizzy
Marauder
Master & Servant
Maze Mania
Mega Apocalypse
Meganova
Metagalactic Llamas
Metalyx
Miami Chase
Microball
Mig 29 Soviet Fighter
Monty on the Run
Mrs Mopp
Nebulus
Necks Please
Nth Zone
Nuclear Countdown
Olli & Lissa 3
Overkill
Pheenix
Pi There
Pi-Balled
Pimeval Man
Pioneer
Plasma Ball
Project Future
Pulsator
Quazatron
Ranarama
Renegade 3
Revenge of the C5
Revolver
Rik the Roadie
Robot Rumpus
Rocco
Saboteur
Sarlmoor
SAS Combat Simulator
Sceptre of Bagdad
Skool Daze
Slightly Magic
Snoball In Hell
Spike In Transylvania
Spindizzy
Star Paws
Stormlord
Super Brat
Super Cycle
Super Dragon Slayer
Super Robin Hood
Super Seymour Saves The Planet
Super Stuntman
Superkid in Space
Swettibitz In Space
Switchblade
Swords and Sorcery
Target Renegade
Tarzan Goes Ape!
Technician Ted
The Egg
The Last Ninja 2
The Last Vampire
The Way of the Exploding Fist
Thing Bounces Back
Treasure Island Dizzy
Uchi Mata
Uridium
Vendetta
Wanted: Monty Mole
Who Dares Wins II
Wizard Willy
Wizball
Xenon
Zynaps


As you can see some games have multiple versions of them, so if you were a C64-lover and don’t want to play the Speccy version then that’s your choice!

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I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning…

Plus in making this list, I’ve just seen they have Wizkid on there, so I’m going to stop writing this review now…


Summary​


Antstream has a great list of initial games – there’s certainly something for everyone with a love of retro games to be getting on with. Certainly worth splurging on a one month subscription to see its for you.

Pros​

  • Easy to just download the app and play games, so ideal for perhaps the casual retro-gamer who can’t be bothered to dig the Spectrum out of the attic or work out how to do emulation.
  • Different platforms of many games, recognising that people may have preferences to a certain versions.
  • ‘Challenges’ mode adds a new angle to old games.

Cons​

  • May not be enough on the platform to satisfy the hardcore gamer
  • User Interface could do with being a bit more user friendly
  • Could do with additional platforms (Atari, Intellivision, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro)
 

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