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Category Archives: Atari 2600

Crystal Castles Atari 2600

Comparing the Crystal Castles Arcade Classic with Its Atari 2600 Port

I can’t blame folks in 1983 for thinking Atari’s arcade hit Crystal Castles was incredible. Its isometric viewpoint made great use of its limited resolution, presenting a tangible 3D environment. Plus, you can tell a good deal of work went into its character designs and animations; just look at how much detail there is on the dancing skeleton in the above image or the game’s red-shoe-wearing protagonist Bentley Bear. Its gameplay holds up too. While navigating the narrow pathways can be a little finicky with the arcade cabinet’s trackball, Bentley handles smoothly enough that players will advance further and further into the game as they memorize layouts and practice the required movements. And there’s a satisfyingly crunchy low-bit noise when Bentley collects the gems that are scattered across each level.…
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 2

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of classic Atari games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. This is just a matter of opinion, but we think Vol. 2 has more variety (sports titles feel a bit over-represented on the first volume), while Vol. 1 has better cover art. Unfortunately, the back covers of these games just mention a few of the high points instead of a full list of all 50 titles included on each disc. But we at Retrovolve have your back: A complete list of games found on Vol. 1 can be found here, and Vol. 2‘s games are listed below. Arcade Asteroids Asteroids Deluxe Crystal Castles Gravitar The Adventures of Major Havoc Missile Command Red Baron Sprint Super Breakout Home Console Adventure Asteroids Atari Video Cube Basic Math Brain Games Breakout Casino Championship Soccer Codebreaker Concentration Crystal Castles Demons to Diamonds Double Dunk Flag Capture Golf Gravitar Hangman Haunted House Maze Craze: A Game of Cops ‘n Robbers Missile Command Night Driver Off the Wall Outlaw Race RealSports Baseball RealSports Basketball RealSports Tennis Return to Haunted House Secret Quest Sentinel Sky Diver Space War Star Ship Stellar Track Street Racer Submarine Commander Super Breakout Surround Video Checkers Video Chess Video Pinball  …
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 1

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of its classic games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. Each collection includes game manuals, multiplayer support, leaderboards, Trophy/Achievement libraries, and, of course, 50 classic Atari games from arcades and home consoles. While Vol. 1 has some real stinkers in the mix, it’s also got some essential classics, like Centipede, all three released SwordQuest titles (the fourth was never completed), and Yars’ Revenge. Upon closer inspection, you might also notice that a few games are included twice in the collection when there are both arcade and home console versions. It’s kind of neat to be able to compare versions, but note that these games are counted twice to make up the total of 50.…
ralph mcquarrie atari

The Strange and Wonderful World of Atari Box Art

In the age of Atari, games couldn’t sell themselves on graphics alone. Games needed ways to spark players imaginations, to convince them that their villains and heroes were more than awkward clumps of pixels. And for that, they relied on box art. While some video game companies gave little thought to their cover art, Atari made it a priority. “I felt fundamentally that this was a consumer product that needed all the care and attention that a record album did,” explained Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell.. “I wanted the artwork to have a consistency to it, so that immediately, when you glanced at our packaging, you knew it came from Atari and you knew it was beautiful.” One of the first artists Atari partnered with was Cliff Spohn, a commercial artist with a distinct detailed style.…
ET Atari

Was Atari’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Really as Bad as You’ve Heard?

When I was a kid, I spent an extended stay in a hospital because of a sick family member. As any kid without entertainment is bound to do, I got bored very quickly and probably complained loudly about it. To mitigate my boredom (and to keep me from getting into too much trouble), a nurse brought me into a private room, set up an Atari 2600, and showed me a selection of games to pick through, allowing me to check out no more than one at a time. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial caught my eye. Just imagine this cover through the eyes of a third grader in the late 1980s: With its promise of age-appropriate alien adventures and dismantled telephones, it doesn’t look too bad, does it?…
Robot Tank Atari 2600

How I Missed out on Robot Tank’s Official Medals

Robot Tank for the Atari 2600 was an incredibly innovative game for its time. Sure, it was pretty much Activision’s answer to the Battlezone arcade game, but it was also so much more than that. Interestingly enough, this was a very early example of the first-person shooter genre, coming out way back in 1983. That’s nine years before Wolfenstein 3D (1992) and ten years before the original Doom (1993). Yes, that means that 20 years before publishing the first Call of Duty game (2003), Activision published a first-person shooter for the Atari 2600. Granted, your character is driving a tank, but everything is seen from a first-person perspective and you shoot things. That still counts in my book. Of course, if we’re okay calling Robot Tank a first-person shooter, it wouldn’t be fair to not extend the definition to 1980’s Battlezone as well.…

Small Town Auctions Landfill Waste on eBay; Gamers Everywhere Rejoice

If you feel like taking metaphorical piss on Jack Tramiel’s grave, feel free to head over to eBay and bid on some of the abandoned cartridges that were excavated from an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill earlier this year. It’s sort of ironic that Atari couldn’t even give these things away in the 80’s; they literally had to bury them in the desert to get them out of the warehouse. Thirty years later, someone digs them and bidding wars break out. Retro game collectors are a funny bunch. That said, I will admit that for a brief second I considered throwing down a bid for one. The town’s historical society will be auctioning off close to a thousand cartridges in the coming months, so you have some time think about whether or not you actually want to purchase these crumpled sacks of garbage priceless gaming artifacts.…
wireless controllers

The First Wireless Controller Was for the Atari 2600

I tend to think of wireless controllers as a fairly modern invention. I spent most of my gaming existence tethered to a console, and I never gave much thought to life without a cord. Wireless controllers are something I associate with fancy HD epics, not classic pixelated titles. But apparently, wireless controllers have been around longer than I have. Way back in 1982, the Cynex Manufacturing Corp claimed to have created the very first cord-free controller. It was called the Game Mate 2, and it may or may not have been powered by lightning. It offered the charm of a standard Atari joystick without the hassle of those pesky wires. Unfortunately, that long-distance fun came at a price. The Game Mate 2’s magic lighting was powered by antenna, which means it was almost certainly a pain in the ass.…

Atari Casino’s Box Art Promises Cocaine and Hookers but Fails to Deliver

There are times when I will just sit and stare at my ever-growing video game collection. Most often, I am carefully selecting a title from the shelf to spend a few hours with after a hard day’s work. Sometimes, I will just make stacks of boxes and jewel cases and sift through their various paper inserts, which are usually wrinkled and torn from decades of abuse. A few days ago, I was taking a moment to admire the collection of Atari goodies I have accumulated throughout the years, when I noticed a pile of boxes gathered in a plastic tub in the corner of my closet. They were a bunch of old Atari and Intellivision games that I had bought by the bagful for twenty-five cents apiece a few years ago and never really paid much mind to after the initial purchase.…
Kaboom

Top 5 Activision Games for Atari 2600

It’s hard to believe that, given the massive amount of disdain targeted at the company today, Activision was once one of the most beloved and respected video game publishers in the industry. One could even argue that they were the paramount distributor of first-generation home console games considering their huge catalog of highly regarded games for the Atari 2600. Activision was founded by ex-Atari programmers who were tired of putting up with getting paid too little for creating games they were given no credit for. Thus, the foundation for what is perhaps gaming’s most successful third-party was laid in 1979, resulting in one of the most creatively impressive periods of any game company in history. Everything about these early titles appealed to gamers: the stylized cover art, the endearingly cheesy game manuals, the finely tuned gameplay.…
Fast Food

1982’s Fast Food Is Not Approved by the FDA

Fast Food might be the only video game in history where achieving morbid obesity is its primary objective. This one-of-a-kind twitch title released by obscure developer Telesys in 1982 gives you control over Mighty Mouth, whose sole objective is to eat as much food as he can. But not the purple pickles. I repeat: not the purple pickles. As food flies at Mighty Mouth at “sub-gastronomical speeds” (according to the manual), the player is allowed to move about the screen in any direction to consume as many burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes as possible before the end of the stage. As is the case in real life, certain items contain more calories than others. The caloric champion in Fast Food is the Cheeseburger, worth a whopping (pun most definitely intended) 20 calories.…
Denny's Hashteroids

Denny’s Atari Remix: Denny’s Reaches out to the Hungover Atari Demographic

Denny’s has absolutely everything I look for in a hangover cafe. They’re open 24 hours a day, they serve breakfast all day long, they have coffee, and they attract the sort of crowd that’s not going to judge a guy for being an alcoholic. Plus, there’s a Denny’s within walking distance of my house, so no one has to drunk drive to get there. Denny’s recently released an app called Denny’s Atari Remix, which is 3 old school Atari games remade as breakfast-themed iOS games. There’s Centipup, which is a version of Centipede that requires you to shoot Pancake Puppies and other breakfast items with ketchup (even if ketchup would taste awful on Pancake Puppies.) Hashteroids is Asteroids with hash browns and ketchup, and Take-out is Breakout with bacon, eggs, and pancakes.…
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