As we’ve seen a number of times on this series, the late ’70s and early ’80s were a period of experimentation, where developers were trying to figure out exactly what a video game really was.
One angle of attack some people took was to recreate well-known physical games in the digital realm. To that end, we saw virtual adaptations of popular board and card games — and we had Holey Moley, an Atari 2600 take on the classic fairground Whack-A-Mole game.
Holey Moley never saw an actual release back in the day, but now we can enjoy it on modern platforms thanks to Atari Flashback Classics. So enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
It’s time to once again enter the world of survival horror with one of the earliest examples of the genre: Atari’s Haunted House.
Haunted House can be seen as an evolution of the Adventure formula in that it involves navigating a preset map, manipulating objects and avoiding enemies. The twist this time around is that you’re in a spooky old mansion full of locked doors, tarantulas and a rather annoyed old ghost. Oh, and it’s dark. Very dark. Except on the first difficulty level, but only babies play Game 1 on Haunted House.
Check out the action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The early days of the 2600 consisted of developers trying to figure out what a “video game” really was.
A significant part of this experimental period consisted of adaptations of simple board, card and parlour games. Some proved to work well in the digital format; others less so.
Hangman? I’ll let you be the judge. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
It’s another Atari 2600 port of a classic arcade game! This time around we’re taking a look at Gravitar, one of the most legendarily difficult games of all time.
Its Atari 2600 incarnation is arguably somewhat more accessible than the challenging arcade version, since it has a variety of different ways to play that affect the number of lives you have and even whether or not you have to deal with the titular gravity.
It’s still a beefy challenge, though — but if you have the patience, there’s plenty of rewarding gameplay to be found here. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
Ah, golf. The one sport I can get behind in that it involves minimal physical activity (aside from walking about a bit and occasionally giving a small ball a hefty thwack) and is mostly about being very quiet.
Video game adaptations of the game that spoiled many a good walk have been around for a long time, as it happens, with one of the earlier ones being Atari’s own simply named Golf for Atari 2600.
Let’s go play a round in the video below — meet me in the 19th hole and subscribe on YouTube when you’re done!
Hmm, doesn’t something seem a bit familiar about this Atari 2600 game…?
Of course! Frogs and Flies here is the game that Atari ripped off with Frog Pond. Only Frogs and Flies (or Frog Bog as it was known in its original Intellivision incarnation) is a much better game. It is still a ripoff in its own right, however — in this case of a very early Sega arcade title called, simply, Frogs.
Action-packed tongue fun in the video below! And, as always, don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
A fair few titles in the early days of gaming were shameless clones of other companies’ work.
Atari’s Frog Pond, a game that ended up not being released because Atari wasn’t willing to spring for a monster 8K cartridge for a “children’s game”, was a clone of Mattel’s Frog Bog for Intellivision (which ended up being ported to 2600 as Frogs and Flies), which in turn was a clone of Sega’s arcade title Frogs.
And they say originality is dead. Well, yes. It appears to have been dead for a very long time indeed! Don’t let that stop you checking out this video, though — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
FOOTBALL! It’s time to play some FOOTBALL! YEAH!
Those of you who have been following this series for a while will be all to familiar with my general lack of experience with sports games — particularly those focusing on American sports. Despite my wife once referring to American football on camera as “shit rugby”, I hope I have at least given the impression that I am giving these games a chance!
If anything, I find the simpler, vaguer digital interpretations of sports — such as seen here in this very early American football game for Atari 2600 — a lot more palatable and understandable than the more realistic simulations we’ve had since the 16-bit era or so. So you know what? I didn’t have a terrible time playing this.
Flag Capture is one of those games that looks laughably simple today, but there’s still some good, honest fun to be had — especially with two players.
The concept couldn’t really be much simpler — there’s a flag somewhere in a grid, and you have to find it using both directional and numerical clues. The interesting stuff this game does comes from how this simple concept is twisted in a few different ways — do you find the flag against the clock? Against another player with simultaneous movement? Against another player moving one at a time?
It’s probably not a game you’ll want to spend a lot of time with today, no, but it’s definitely worth a look for a quick bit of fun with a friend!
Yep, it’s Final Legacy again — this time for the very final time, I promise!
Final Legacy’s unreleased Atari 5200 conversion forms part of the Atari Flashback Classics compilation, and thus it wouldn’t be right and proper to pass it by without appropriate acknowledgement, now, would it?
Thankfully, it’s pretty much identical to the excellent Atari 8-bit version, as opposed to Paradox Software’s dodgy, janky port for Atari ST. Once again we cast ourselves into hostile waters in an attempt to save the surviving human race from nuclear catastrophe.