Tag Archives: sports games

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: 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.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Basketball

Sports games have always been a staple of video gaming. In fact, in the earliest days of the medium, they were a good source of basic rules and mechanics for designers to rely on.

Basketball for Atari 2600 was a noteworthy example of one of these early sports games for being an early title that didn’t require two human players. In fact, the single-player mode even claimed to offer an adaptive difficulty of sorts, with the computer player supposedly playing “better” if the scores were closer.

In practice, this mostly equates to the computer player running the wrong direction if he’s winning too much, but it was 1978… give them a bit of credit!

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

House of Golf: Tabletop Tee-Off

Video games don’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. They don’t always need to be grand, sweeping great works of art, nor do they always need to have something to “say”; sometimes they can just be fun.

Such is the thinking behind House of Golf, a Nintendo Switch release from Liverpudlian studio Atomicom, a group made up of ex-Psygnosis staffers who were last seen bringing us a game about driving JCB excavators on Mars.

This is a game designed to be nothing more than a bit of fun for 1-6 players — and it achieves this pretty admirably. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading House of Golf: Tabletop Tee-Off

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.