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Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by racketboy Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:21 pm

Hi everyone

So far, I have been collaborating with Rob/AtariSpot (a buddy on Twitter) on a very basic draft of the Games That Defined the Atari 2600.
We tried to build the structure around historical impact / influence on the industry.
We have some basic notes for most of the games listed below, but we could really use some assistance fleshing out the individual write-ups for the different games.

So, if you have solid experience with any of these, I'd love to get your contributes of notes. Even if the notes aren't beautifully written, I can help polish them up.
I have a Google Doc going so we can all collaborate.

But it's a plus if you grew up with the system and remember the cultural impact and what was impressive back in the day.

Anyway, here are the games that we have included so far:

Primary Games That Fit in Our Initial Outline:
* Pitfall
* Combat
* Warlords
* Yars' Revenge
* Raiders of the Lost Ark
* E.T.
* Video Olympics
* Adventure
* Superman
* Space Invaders
* Dragster
* Pac-Man
* Ms. Pac-Man
* Air Raid
* Secret Quest
* Kool-Aid Man
* Chase the Chuckwagon
* Custer's Revenge
* Zookeeper

Possible Others to Consider
- Atlantis
- Demon Attack
- Enduro
- River Raid
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
- Spider-Man
- Turmoil
- Crystal Castles
- Beamrider
- Pitfall II
- Montezuma's Revenge
- Subterranea
- H.E.R.O.
- The 'Official' Frogger
- Dragonstomper
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Gamesi

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:28 pm

Interesting list so far. My totally unsolicited opinions:

I'd say Atlantis is a mandatory inclusion. You can't have a list of defining Atari games with no Imagic. I'd include River Raid for sure too.

Why are Air Raid and Chase the Chuckwagon on there? Those seem better suited for a rare/valuable list. I don't think they have any real impact beyond that. Or are you purposefully designating a couple of spots for super-expensive games? And correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Zookeeper never released??

As far as what else belongs, there are other popular arcade ports to consider. So, Centipede, Missile Command, etc... The last two games on your "considering" list weren't "pure" Atari 2600 games, but Starpath Supercharger games, if that makes a difference to you. Dragonstomper is great, though I doubt too many people played the "official" Frogger over the Parker Bros. version if you're looking for historical context.
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Gamesi

by racketboy Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:48 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Interesting list so far. My totally unsolicited opinions:

I'd say Atlantis is a mandatory inclusion. You can't have a list of defining Atari games with no Imagic. I'd include River Raid for sure too.

Why are Air Raid and Chase the Chuckwagon on there? Those seem better suited for a rare/valuable list. I don't think they have any real impact beyond that. Or are you purposefully designating a couple of spots for super-expensive games? And correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Zookeeper never released??

As far as what else belongs, there are other popular arcade ports to consider. So, Centipede, Missile Command, etc... The last two games on your "considering" list weren't "pure" Atari 2600 games, but Starpath Supercharger games, if that makes a difference to you. Dragonstomper is great, though I doubt too many people played the "official" Frogger over the Parker Bros. version if you're looking for historical context.


Fair questions!

So for this one, especially since there are so many possibilities, Rob came up with some categories of sorts.
Air Raid was selected as ""the impossibly rare curiosity" we would dig into it a bit and then lead into the R&V guide for more.
Chase the Chuckwagon was actually more for "the champion of a glut of shovelware games"
Zookeeper was "the modern-day homebrew titles that extend the console's legacy" (I actually don't know much about it personally)

If you're interested, I can add you to the Google Docs and you can see more of the notes and outline in context. We are totally up for suggestions on improving though!
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:07 pm

You need Indy 500 and Kaboom! The first is a great competitive racing game that invented the basic formula used by RC Pro Am, Super Off-Road, Rock ‘n Roll Racing, etc. It is also the first great racing game you could play at home. Kaboom! is just a really, really great game.
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by racketboy Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:09 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:You need Indy 500 and Kaboom! The first is a great competitive racing game that invented the basic formula used by RC Pro Am, Super Off-Road, Rock ‘n Roll Racing, etc. It is also the first great racing game you could play at home. Kaboom! is just a really, really great game.


Oh thanks! I should give that one a try soon then! I’ve had it sitting on my shelf but hadn’t prioritized it.

Any extra context worth sharing of how it was received at the time, etc?
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by Golgo 14 Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:43 pm

Did somebody say Kaboom!??

Kaboom! is a great game, but it wasn't a Top 10 type game in the Kid World of the time, iirc. Part of that might have had to do with the fact that everyone's paddles broke at some point and no one got new ones. The thing I most remember about the game is that my dad liked it, which made me kind of not like it. :lol: When I grew up and took a fresh look at the game, I realized my dad was right on this point, if nothing else.

I always put Pitfall II and H.E.R.O. together in my mind as great games released just slightly after everyone stopped paying attention to the 2600. But they're great games, and a worthy swan song for the system, though of course official games would dribble out for years afterwards. Pitfall II had some help on the cart, but these games showed what could be done on an already aging system that was originally designed to play a million variations of Pong.

I'd include Asteroids, Missile Command, Joust, and Berzerk as arcade ports that were huge in their day, and still fun now.

Battlezone's another arcade hit, but I always pair it with the Activision knockoff Robot Tank. They're both great, but I think Robot Tank wins.

Breakout and Super Breakout were great games that most people played, as long as their paddles were still working.

If you want to include modern day homebrews, Halo 2600 is good, and it's just hilarious that it exists. Medieval Mayhem and Space Rocks are great updates of Warlords and Asteroids, respectively.
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by o.pwuaioc Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:52 am

Yeah, I was never clear what "defining games" meant. For me, this should mean what was popular that everyone had and like during its heyday. I'd put Pole Position on that list, but HERO is more of a hidden gem.

If you're including homebrews, I'll definitely second Halo 2600 as *the* defining game for the homebrew scene, as it's what made waves in non-homebrew circles, especially since the programmer also worked on the original Halo game.
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by marurun Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:18 am

o.pwuaioc wrote:Yeah, I was never clear what "defining games" meant. For me, this should mean what was popular that everyone had and like during its heyday. I'd put Pole Position on that list, but HERO is more of a hidden gem


I think you’re certainly on the right track, but defining games are also ones that are strongly associated with the platform or are historically important. Pac-Man and E.T., for example, were not only popular but are the poster games for the crash. Custer’s Last Stand and Chase the Chuck Wagon are great examples of early “adult” games and promotional games and feature prominently in literature on the history of the console and console gaming at large.

What games made the Atari 2600 popular, different, special, and historically important.
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by racketboy Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:43 am

marurun wrote:
o.pwuaioc wrote:Yeah, I was never clear what "defining games" meant. For me, this should mean what was popular that everyone had and like during its heyday. I'd put Pole Position on that list, but HERO is more of a hidden gem


I think you’re certainly on the right track, but defining games are also ones that are strongly associated with the platform or are historically important. Pac-Man and E.T., for example, were not only popular but are the poster games for the crash. Custer’s Last Stand and Chase the Chuck Wagon are great examples of early “adult” games and promotional games and feature prominently in literature on the history of the console and console gaming at large.

What games made the Atari 2600 popular, different, special, and historically important.


That does capture the goal well -- thank you
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Re: Atari Enthusiasts: Help us bulk up Defining 2600 Games

by racketboy Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:45 am

Golgo 14 wrote:Did somebody say Kaboom!??

Kaboom! is a great game, but it wasn't a Top 10 type game in the Kid World of the time, iirc. Part of that might have had to do with the fact that everyone's paddles broke at some point and no one got new ones. The thing I most remember about the game is that my dad liked it, which made me kind of not like it. :lol: When I grew up and took a fresh look at the game, I realized my dad was right on this point, if nothing else.

I always put Pitfall II and H.E.R.O. together in my mind as great games released just slightly after everyone stopped paying attention to the 2600. But they're great games, and a worthy swan song for the system, though of course official games would dribble out for years afterwards. Pitfall II had some help on the cart, but these games showed what could be done on an already aging system that was originally designed to play a million variations of Pong.

I'd include Asteroids, Missile Command, Joust, and Berzerk as arcade ports that were huge in their day, and still fun now.

Battlezone's another arcade hit, but I always pair it with the Activision knockoff Robot Tank. They're both great, but I think Robot Tank wins.

Breakout and Super Breakout were great games that most people played, as long as their paddles were still working.

If you want to include modern day homebrews, Halo 2600 is good, and it's just hilarious that it exists. Medieval Mayhem and Space Rocks are great updates of Warlords and Asteroids, respectively.



I should state we do have an Arcade ports section.
If you're up for it, I could add you to the Google Doc and you can make little notes on our draft.
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