Created by Piero Cavina and released in 1997, Oystron was one of the earliest homebrew games developed for the console. The game, Cavina's first, was released by XYPE, an independent group of Atari 2600 homebrew developers.
Oystron was initially released on the Internet as a freeware 4 KB binary file designed for use on the Starpath Supercharger and with Atari 2600 emulators such as Stella and PCAE. It was later released in cartridge form.
Oystron is an action game in which the player controls a ship using the joystick controller, firing at enemies and collecting pearls dropped by "space oysters". The player's ship initially appears on the left side of the screen, and enemies attack from the right. Shooting the space oysters reveals a pearl; the player then collides with the pearl and brings it to the "pearl zone" on the left side of the screen. Other enemies appear that attempt to steal the pearls. Collecting eight pearls earns the player a bomb.
At the end of each level, a boss named "Oystron" appears; the player can defeat the Oystron by placing a bomb in its path, or waiting until it changes into a space oyster. Following the appearance of the Oystron is a warp phase, in which the player travels at high speed and must avoid colliding with enemies. The player is given four ships at the beginning of a game, and earns an additional ship every 4000 points.
In 2003, Oystron was one of several Atari 2600 homebrew titles selected by Activision for inclusion in the Game Boy Advance version of their Activision Anthology. In 2005, it was named one of the five "Best 2600 Homebrew Games" in the book Gaming Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools by Simon Carless, who praised the game's fast pace, sprites and color scheme. It received a B+ rating from The Video Game Critic, who described the game as a "very challenging" action game requiring "subtle strategy".
- Yarusso, Albert. "Oystron (XYPE)". AtariAge. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- Carless, Simon (2005). Gaming Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools. O'Reilly Media. p. 21. ISBN 0-596-00917-8.
- Yarusso, Albert. "Companies: XYPE". AtariAge. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- Piero Cavina (December 12, 1997). Oystron manual. 1.2.
- "Atari 2600 Reviews M-O: Oystron". The Video Game Critic. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- Kohler, Chris (2005). Retro Gaming Hacks: Tips & Tools for Playing the Classics. O'Reilly Media. p. 378. ISBN 0-596-00917-8.