Tag Archives: sports games

Atari A to Z Flashback: Pool Shark

It might be hard to imagine now, but there was a time in gaming history when it was considered to be a seriously impressive technical achievement to get more than two or three things moving simultaneously on a screen.

Atari’s 1977 release Pool Shark is an early example of the company continuing to push the fledgling medium of video games forward. Not only was it a game that demonstrated the power of microprocessor-based hardware rather than the earlier transistor-to-transistor logic technology, but it also had, like, a whole mess of balls flying everywhere.

And like many of these early Atari arcade games, it’s simplistic… but really rather addictive! Be sure to give it a try.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Pong

It’s Pong! The grandaddy of them all. Well, okay, not the absolute first ever computer game ever EVER, but it was certainly the first widely successful one.

If you have the slightest familiarity with gaming, surely Pong needs little to no introduction, but you might be surprised to know that it actually still holds up rather well today. It’s gaming stripped down to its bare essentials, both in terms of graphics and mechanics — and it still works wonderfully as a competitive game.

Fortunately, with how well-known it is and how easy it is to program a convincing clone (even I could probably do it if I tried hard enough!) there’s no shortage of ways to play it these days… but if you really want the true experience, you gotta go Atari.

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Atari Football

Well, I knew this time would come. Not only do I have to tackle a sports game again, but a sports game that only supports two players at once!

Fortunately, while I may not have any friends, I did somehow manage to get married, so my wife Andie generously agreed to assist me in playing Atari Football, a simulation of a sport neither of us understand because we are both British.

We just about managed to figure things out enough to get a feel for the game… I think, anyway!

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

Atari A to Z: Atari Basketball

Basketball is another sport I know next to nothing about, but I know more about it than I do baseball, in that I understand how to win and what the players on the court are actually supposed to do. Therefore, I am much better equipped to comment on Atari Basketball than I was for Atari Baseball.

Atari Basketball is a simple one-on-one affair in which you and another player or the computer square off against one another and try to score more baskets than the other. That’s… pretty much it, really, but there’s something about this game that makes it surprisingly addictive.

I think it’s the controls — the original arcade machine made use of a trackball controller, which translates quite well to modern analogue devices. I can imagine a game against another human opponent getting rather frantic when standing up against the original machine — but it’s still fun here when played on the sofa with a wireless controller, or even on the go with the Switch in handheld mode.

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Atari A to Z Flashback: Atari Baseball

I don’t… really play sports games. I don’t generally like them, I don’t generally understand them and I am certainly not good at them.

However, I have discovered over the course of the last few years or so that late ’70s/early ’80s sports games are about on a level I can understand for the most part, since the games simply weren’t capable of playing host to complicated mechanics or rules that you’d have to understand the actual sport to be able to fathom.

My time with Atari Baseball may have ended in crushing defeat, but I didn’t hate the experience. In fact, I can see this being quite fun in its original double-sided incarnation, facing off against a fellow player across the top of the cabinet. I suspect I’d still suck, though.

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Mario Tennis Aces: Some First Impressions

I’m not a big sports game guy, but I’ve always had a lot of time for Nintendo’s takes on tennis and golf.

The Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis in particular stole many hours of my life back in the day — as well as again a little more recently, I must confess — so I was rather excited to check out the Nintendo Switch incarnation of the series.

Among other things, the new game promised a return to something I had particularly liked about the aforementioned Game Boy Color version: a substantial single-player mode. So it’s that we’ll be focusing on today as I talk about my first impressions of the game.

Continue reading Mario Tennis Aces: Some First Impressions

PS2 Essentials: Alpine Racer 3

I am one of the least sporty people I know, and I find the prospect of winter sports particularly terrifying. But I’ve always found something appealing about games involving skiing and suchlike.

My interest in this type of game dates right back to the imaginatively titled Skiing on the Philips G7000 Videopac (aka the Magnavox Odyssey 2 for American readers, where the game was known as Alpine Skiing) and the slightly later Winter Games from Epyx for various home computers.

Sometime around the PlayStation 1 and 2 eras, winter sports games started to place a heavy focus on technical, trick-based gameplay rather than the straight racing of early titles such as Skiing. And I kind of missed that simplicity.

Enter Namco’s Alpine Racer 3, the third installment of a series that began as a 1994 arcade title.

Continue reading PS2 Essentials: Alpine Racer 3