Tag Archives: Atari VCS

Atari A to Z Flashback: Concentration

A lot of early Atari 2600 games (or, sorry, “Atari Video Computer System”, as it was called back then) were adaptations of games that could be played on the tabletop.

The convenience of playing them on the television was, of course, that you didn’t have to worry about physical components getting scattered all over the place, setup time and the like — if you just wanted a quick game of something with someone, all you had to do was slap in the cartridge, pick up a controller and you were away.

One example of this early brand of tabletop adaptation comes in the form of Concentration; perhaps not the most interesting game to play today, but kind of fun for two players, a good showcase of the Keyboard Controllers and a game with a certain amount of educational value, too.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Combat Two

One of the coolest things about the Atari Flashback devices and compilations that have been released over the course of the last few years is the number of prototypes included.

In many cases, these prototypes were complete games that just didn’t get released for one reason or another; such is the case with Combat Two, a game originally set to come out in 1984, but which was a victim of the great crash of ’83.

Fortunately, we can play it today — and it’s an interesting twist on the tank battle formula of the original Combat, offering a very different competitive experience for two players to enjoy.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z Flashback: Championship Soccer

I detest most real-life sports, but I’ve been known to have a bit of fun with digital recreations of sporting activities over the years; they make great, easily understandable competitive affairs, after all.

My favourite sporting games are those that don’t try too hard to be realistic simulations; those that simply make use of straightforward, abstract mechanics that provide a rough approximation of the basic rules of the sport. Games that you can just pick up and play without having to worry about the more complex side of things.

As it happens, Championship Soccer for Atari 2600 is a great example of this. It resembles football in only the most cursory of ways — but it’s actually quite an enjoyable competitive game of skill, even for those of us who don’t really like sports!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Casino

As we’ve previously seen, the Atari 2600’s launch lineup included a competent but fairly no-frills adaptation of the game of Black Jack.

A year later, creator Bob Whitehead followed it up with the much more substantial Casino, which not only expanded Black Jack’s gameplay with hand splitting and insurance betting, but also included stud poker for up to four players, and an enjoyable “poker solitaire” puzzle game.

Okay, sure, compared to modern offerings it might still seem rather limited… but there’s fun to be had here, especially if you bring some friends along for the virtual gambling fun!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Breakout

Bip! Boop! Bip! Boop! It’s an iconic sound of the late ’70s: a computerised simulation of some sort of bat-and-ball game. And few games of this type are more classic or influential than Breakout.

The Atari 2600 version of Breakout offers a variety of ways to play, including several multiplayer modes. This technically made the home console version a superior experience to the arcade machine… which is a phenomenon we wouldn’t really encounter again until roughly the Dreamcast era.

Anyway, Breakout for 2600 is a good time, particularly if you’ve got some friends to play with. If you’re flying solo, Super Breakout may be a better choice… but that’s a story for another day!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Brain Games

It’s good to give the ol’ noggin a bit of a workout now and again, and that’s exactly what 1978’s Brain Games for Atari 2600 intended to do.

Consisting of several different games relating to memory and perception, Brain Games is a surprisingly fun little package that is all the more remarkable when you consider how early in the VCS’ lifetime it came out.

It was also a direct influence on the popular children’s toy Simon, so it’s got genuine historical significance, too!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Bowling

With a few occasional exceptions, sports games these days tend to be limited to a few “safe” options.

You’ve got your football, you’ve got your American football, sometimes you have your golf; very occasionally you have your Olympics. But ten-pin bowling? I can’t remember the last time I saw a game based around that for a modern computer.

Back in 1978, however, developers were still working out what kinds of sporting rules and structure worked and didn’t work in the electronic space. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not Bowling for Atari 2600 does the noble pursuit of hurling heavy things at skittles justice!

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