Tag Archives: Atari 2600

Atari A to Z Flashback: Asteroids (2600)

It’s that time again: the time when we strap ourselves into a small triangle and blast some space rocks into increasingly smaller space rocks until they disappear.

Yes, it’s Asteroids again, this time in its Atari 2600 incarnation. This was a well-regarded port at the time of original release, and noteworthy from a historical perspective for being one of the first games to make use of “bank-switching”, allowing for higher-capacity cartridges that made use of more data. Asteroids for 2600 is twice the size of earlier 2600 games at a mighty 8K!

It also offers “66 video games”. Can’t say better value than that, can you? Even if there’s actually only 33 video games, and they’re all very similar to one another…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Armor Ambush

With a few exceptions, Mattel’s “M Network” label was established to port a number of well-received Intellivision titles to Atari’s 2600 platform.

Due to the disparity in capabilities between the two platforms, however, this porting process wasn’t necessarily completely straightforward. The Atari controller had considerably fewer buttons than the Intellivision’s weird monstrosity, for one thing — and the system itself was much less powerful.

Still, while technically inferior to its Intellivision counterpart, Armor Ambush for Atari 2600 (known as Armor Battle in its original incarnation) is an enjoyable take on the two-player tank battle genre — and offers a few interesting twists not seen in Atari’s classic Combat.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Aquaventure

One of the most interesting things about retro platforms like the Atari 2600 is that they still play host to tons of undiscovered treasures just waiting to be explored, decades later.

Many of these treasures — usually in the form of unreleased or prototype games — have been unearthed and shared with the world through the Atari Flashback Classics collection. And a great example of just that is Aquaventure, a game about diving beneath the waves in search of hidden booty.

This game was seemingly complete and ready to release, so one can only guess at why it never ended up on store shelves!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z: Fantastic Voyage

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE–

Better get used to that sound! It’s Fantastic Voyage, an extremely timely 1982 release from Sirius Software that adapts the 1966 movie (or possibly Isaac Asimov’s novelisation) about injecting tiny submarines into scientists to blast health problems from within.

It’s actually a very enjoyable shooter — albeit one that isn’t going to blow your mind with its visuals, being barely distinct from its Atari 2600 counterpart. It plays well, though… and you’ll be hearing that beep-beep-beep in your sleep!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Air Raiders

Let’s check out what is regarded by some as one of the best flight simulators on the Atari 2600!

To be fair, this isn’t a particularly high bar to clear or anything, but Air Raiders is a solid, enjoyable enough game, so long as you pay attention to its unusual structure and mechanics. It’s also historically noteworthy as one of the only “M Network” Atari 2600 releases from Mattel that wasn’t a port of an Intellivision title.

It’s also nowhere near as well-known as some of the more established classics of the Atari 2600 canon, so that’s as good a reason as any to give it a bit of time and attention, hmm?

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Adventure

Hey! Listen! Do you like Zelda? If so, then take a moment to give thanks to 1979’s Adventure for Atari.

Adventure is an early example of a top-down action-adventure, and has been cited as an important influence on the development of subsequent titles such as The Legend of Zelda. While it may look primitive today, its abstract graphics, simple sound and straightforward mechanics still do a surprising amount to stir the imagination, even today.

It’s also the first ever game to feature an “Easter Egg” — and it’s all because the programmer Warren Robinett, quite reasonably, decided that he wanted to actually be credited for his hard work!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z: Keystone Kapers

Today it’s time for one of my favourite early Activision titles, and a great game from designer Garry Kitchen. Kitchen, if you’re unfamiliar, was responsible for the Atari 2600 version of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, and also the wonderful Pressure Cooker, the spiritual precursor to popular indie title Overcooked.

Keystone Kapers kasts you in the role of Keystone Kelly, a kopper who is keen to katch his kriminal nemesis, Hooligan Harry. Harry, it seems, likes hanging out in department stores, and thus begins an increasingly ridiculous series of chase scenes up to the rooftop of the store, with Kelly being forced to dodge all manner of mundane yet perilous obstacles that put his mission at risk.

Loosely inspired by the old Keystone Kops movies, Keystone Kapers is simple to learn but tough to master — and a near-perfect example of what early ’80s Activision was all about.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.