the atari 2600


what they're about.



adventure
this is defintely a great game. you're wandering around in a land of castles, dark mazes, and dragons. you have to fetch the chalice from a castle, and take it home. but, you first have get they keys to open the castles. and again, there's the small matter of the aforementioned dragons. you're a block, you can pick up a sword, chalice, bridge (makes some inaccessible places available), keys, chalices, and a micro dot. but there's a bat that likes to pick the stuff up too, scattering it around. (rule #1 of video games: bats suck.)
asteroids
one of the classics. you. a ship. bullets, big clunky rocks threatening to bash your brains in. hyperwarp, and big scores. everyone knows what this one is. Atari, 1981.
dukes of hazzard
a prototype cartridge i got from best electronics, this game is.. well, let's just say i won't cry because i didn't get it until now. you're a little car with an x on top of it (maybe i should clarify- you are the general lee). at the top of the screen, you see a figure of boss hogg on the left, and daisy on the right. boss hogg is steadily advancing towards daisy. i assume if he ever reaches her, your time is up. so your job is to race your car up the screen, avoiding the police cars (little white cars with blinking stuff on top). there's small dots in the road that makes you crash if you drive over it, but you can lure the cop cars over them, and make them crash, thereby making your passage a little easier. the pole-lease will speed up and drive right into you, and if they do, you lose a life. if you make it all the way to the top of the maze, you see 'jail'. making it there advances you to level 2. (see level one, but add more cops.) in between each level, you're treated to a side shot of the general lee jumping over a bridge. amazing! how'd they do that?!
sword quest: earthworld
well, you walk around a mazething, and you have aninventory bar, and in each screen you can pick stuff up, or drop it off, and sometimes there's a little arcade sequence to get through. you'd have to give me the jeweled chalice to play this game. (you see, when this game first came out, it was the first in an intended 4 part series- and solving the first cartridge would supposedly make solving the second (swordquest:fireworld) easier, and that would make swordquest:waterworld easier, and then swordquest:airworld, i think. whoever beat the last cartridge first would win a jeweled chalice. or sword. or somesuch. atari gave up on the contest, and the 4th cartridge never came out.)
indiana jones and the raiders of the lost ark
you're the infamous dr. jones, wandering around the desert looking for the ark of the covenent. in this game, you've got an inventory bar down at the bottom, and you manipulate your inventory with one joystick, while you move your character with the other. kind of complex, but pretty fun. i can't solve it. maybe someone will show me some day.
crystal castles
you're bently bear, a bear running around picking up dots and avoiding the monsters. you can jump over the monsters (trees, witches, bees, you know. the regular stuff.) and pick up some powerups like the sorcerors hat and... oh, i dunno. it's a popular game. i think it's alright.
star wars: the empire strikes back
a must have game for any star wars fans. you're piloting a snow speeder, and at-ats are threatening to blow up the rebel base. you shoot at them, and after a lot of hits, they blow up... but sometimes a bomb bay door will open up, and if you manage to stash a shot in there, the at at blows up immediately. and after you play for 3 minutes, you get the starwars theme song, and invulnerablity. yee haw! parker brothers, 1982
joust
another one of the great games. fairly decent graphics, and fun gameplay. flying around on ostriches, and bopping other jousters on the head with your pointy stick- then picking up the eggs. one of the greats. williams, atari, 1982
et
ok. we all had this game, after we saw that groovy movie. run around, eat reeses pieces, stay away from the guy in the suit, and pick up parts to the phone. and hope you can find the little signal to phone home from. atari, 1982.
frogger
frogger is one of the games with the music that just won't let you go. the chirping every time you hop, and the incredibly catchy theme music. not to mention the great sound effect every time you smash your poor little froggy. parker brothers, 1982.
gorf
4 funfilled *different* levels. pretty nonstandard for an atari game. astro battles, laser attack, space warp, and the flag ship. still fun today. one of the best varieties in a single cart i can recall. CBS, 1982.
missile command
another classic. granted, the gameplay wasn't quite up to snuff without the trac-ball, but if you use a sega joy-pad, it compensates moderately. save your cities from sure-fire destruction. and keep the world safe from nuclear baddies. atari, ?
omega race
this game came with an extra button that slipped over the joystick handle. way cool! that's about all i can remember about the game- without the extra button, i can't really play it. hrrm. cbs, 1983
phoenix
atari's entry into the 'shoot everything' category- it flies, it drops bombs on you, shoot 'em before they get you. amazingly enough, it's still a fun genre. this one has the mothership shootout though, as well- reminicient of the gorf mothership scene. atari, 1982.
popeye
keep popeye full of spinach, and knock bluto on his can. catch the hearts that olive oyl is throwing, and then do it again. a pretty good game. parker brothers, 1983
seaquest
swim around, get treasure, and take it to the surface. don't get eaten by sharks! i've been playing this game a lot recently. give it a shot if you find it. i recieved the patch for this game when i sent in my picture for pitfall!. do i have to mention what a disappointment it was? activision, 1983
space invaders
ok, ok, i'll quit referring to games as 'one of the classics' and 'one of the greats' sooner or later. but how could i leave off space invaders? something like 500 levels of variety! granted, they're all the same game, but when you wanted something slightly different, you got to pound the 'level select' until your fingers fell off. (and we all know the trick about holding down the start button while powering up, don't we? gives you two shots in the air at once!) atari, 1978.
spider fighter
keep the spiders from eating your fruit, and blow 'em to smithereens! basically in the 'shoot everything' category, it's from activision, so you know you could at least earn a keen patch. activision, 1982
starmaster
activisions attemt at the famed 'star raiders' game... but activision was able to do it without the keypad. pretty decent game in the 'fly to this sector without running out of fuel' section of games. activision, 1982
strategy x
one of konami's games.. i figure it was an arcade 'port'. zip along the y axis in a tank, shoot bunkers, planes, whatnot, and pick up fuel. good music when you get to the end of a level. konami, 1981
canyon bomber
drop bombs, and knock big chunks out of the big pixellated valley. mmm. atari,?
air sea battle
one of the originals. two player madness- shoot crap that flew over head, with a whopping 2 degrees of fire (90 or 45). you can move your cannon though, too. good 2-player challenge. atari, 1981
pac man
let's face it. we were all disappointed with this game. we were just too hyped up to admit it at the time. maybe someone forgot to code the game until 3 days before release. atari, 1981.
night driver
keep your little blob of a car in between the white lo-res chunks. atari, 1978
flash gordon
this was a fun game! fly your ship around the maze, keeping away from whatever. i found this game recently, sans instructions, so i don't know what exactly everything is named... but it's pretty keen. fox, 1983.
fathom
hey! i love this game! just got ahold of it, sans instructions. you're a dolphin. then you're a seagull. then you're a dolphin. and there i kinda don't know what else to do. anybody remember this game? tell me what i have to do! darnit, it's fun. imagic, 1983.
speedway ii
keep your blob away from the other blobs. use the paddles. atari, 1977.
star raiders
came with the funked out key-pad controller for the 2600. plot your course to sectors, blow stuff up, don't get hit or run out of fuel. save the galaxy. did anything else ever use the damned pad? wasn't that the goal of introducing it with overlays?
circus
you're a clown, popping balloons on a seesaw. not a bad idea. it's moderately fun. atari, 1980
warlords
way groovy 4 player game- use the paddles, chuck a ball at each other, and destroy their home base. should settle world disputes by sitting people down in front of this game. atari, 1981.
space attack
keep stuff from hitting your spaceship on the little radar screen. this genre really gets old for me. mattel, 1982
superman
fly around, don't get hit by kryptonite, or you have to smooch lois! put all the baddies in jail, and rebuild the bridge, so you can get back to work at the paper. fun game, but the map is so damned confusing. atari, 1979.
video olympics
how many permutations of 'hit a ball with a sliding brick' are possible? this cartridge attempts to find out. atari, 1978
yars revenge
from the airbrushed cover, you knew this was gonna be a goodie. fly your little fly ship and eat the shield, and blow the bazooie outta the baddie inside, all without being hit by his little superbombs. people rant over this game. atari, 1981.
video pinball
sure, it's a square table. you tilt it way too easily. you can't control your shots. it's impossible to get the ball through the upper shots without a good dose of pure luck. but it's still an atari player magnet. go figure. (my cat loves to watch it too.) atari, 1981
tennis
a fairly decent tennis game. tough. i suck at it. ryan kallberg could take anyone on at this game. he's the world champion. and if you doubt it, there's no way to prove me wrong. it's activision. but i bet you can't get a patch for this one.(ed. note- i was wrong. you just have to win a set against the computer.) still fairly fun. activision, 1981.
space war
zip your little ship (must have just escaped from asteroids) around a sun with neat gravity, and blow up your buddy. combat goes high-tech. a good buddy-blower-upper. atari, 1981.
bermuda triangle
you're an ugly little ship picking up ugly little treasure avoiding ugly little baddies. only get this game if it's free. data age, 1982.
lock n chase
pac man with doors you can close. blows the doors off pac man as it were, too. mattel, 1982
astroblast
my copy doesn't work. means it must have been a great game.
pole position
fairly decent driving game- don't crash your decent looking car. atari, 1982. (namco liscence.)
amidar
you're a house painter being chased by crazy little things. paint the entire house. pac man. but better than atari's pac man. by far. on par with lock n chase, if just because it's a nice variant. parker brothers, 1982.
reactor
the supremetest of your reflexes. i think they could test air force pilots with this. zip your little guy around the reactor, and slam the baddies into the walls, without crashing yourself. oooh, tough. parker brothers, 1982.
super breakout
one of the really fun brick/lo-res pixel games. we all know what it is. atari, 1978
kaboom!
don't drop any bombs! one of the best paddle games ever. i love it. there was supposed to be a kaboom! released for the 16 bit systems. i've never seen it. i'm sure it'd have been ruined without a paddle anyways. i'm glad it never surfaced. activision, 1981
donkey kong
another crappy arcade port. but that didn't stop us from playing it, did it? coleco, 1982.
donkey kong junior
a slightly better port than its father. good game with good variety. coleco, 1983.
demon attack
shoot everything that moves. see phoenix, spider fighter. imagic, 1982.
sub scan
you're a ship on sub patrol. throw depth charges, and nail the suckers before they get out of range. sega, 1983.
deadly discs of tron
nowhere near as good as the arcade. you're shooting stuff, and running into the wall. wheeeee. mattel, 1982.
attack of the killer beefsteak tomatoes
don't laugh- it's pretty fun! shoot the tomatoes, and build a wall to keep 'em out. i enjoy this muchly. fox, 1983.
pitfall
the greatest atari game of all time. activision, 1982.
armor ambush
a slightly souped up combat. each player gets *two* tanks, and you blow the bejeesus outta each other, on varied terrain. mattel, 1982.
adventures of tron
run around, stay away from maximillian, catch the arrows, jump in the transporter. don't fall. fairly fun. mattel, 1982.
defender
one of the holy classics. space invaders, defender, missile command, asteroids. bow down before the power. atari, 1981.