Sometimes, as we’ve seen numerous times on this series already, the simplest game concepts really do work quite well. And such is the case with Steeplechase for Atari 2600, one of three games to be exclusively distributed through Sears’ Tele-Games label.
Offering simple, easy to understand horse racing action for one to four players, Steeplechase is a fun game to bust out when you have friends over and can’t be arsed to explain anything that needs more than one button. This also makes it an ideal fit for those people in your life who claim not to “do” video games.
Yes, it’s yet another RealSports game! We’re nearly done, though. Hang in there!
This time around, we take a look at RealSports Soccer for the Atari 5200 which, like its American Football counterpart, offers a somewhat more realistic, in-depth experience, perhaps at the expense of some accessibility. It’s still a much more approachable game than either incarnation of RealSports Football, however!
Miniature Golf was a popular pastime in the 1970s, so it made a lot of sense for there to be an adaptation for the shiny new Atari Video Computer System when it released in the latter years of the decade.
In those early days, though, game developers hadn’t quite mastered what made the 2600’s innards tick — or indeed what made a good game. But Miniature Golf, a game which, bizarrely, ended up pulled from sale a year after launch, unlike the rest of the 2600’s early lineup, has a bold attempt at… something.
Is it successful? A bit of yes, a bit of no. Find out what works and what doesn’t in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
Do you like backgammon? How about if it was a bit smaller? Well, that’s not at all what Micro-Gammon SB for Atari 5200 offers, though it does have very tiny (for the time) pixels.
Micro-Gammon SB is a previously unreleased Atari 5200 game that hit the cutting room floor due to not being “arcadey” enough. It’s a shame, because it’s a solid backgammon adaptation for a single player — there’s no two-player mode, oddly — that is capable of playing at a variety of skill levels, up to and including “SuperBrain” mode.
Check out how I get on against the easiest opponent in the video below — bearing in mind I’m still very new to backgammon! — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
Yes, yes, yes, I know the “A to Z” angle in this series is already questionable and this one following Tempest makes it even more so, but we only just managed to find time to have a two-player match!
Indeed, today’s game is Atari Soccer, an arcade title which can only be played with two or four people simultaneously, so bad luck if you have either no friends or two friends. As a follow-up to Atari Football, it again had a cocktail cabinet form factor and exhausting trackball controls to blister your palms with.
Thankfully, the port in Atari Flashback Classics can be enjoyed with nothing more than a couple of analogue controllers, and even for those who aren’t big soccer fans, the game makes for an entertaining, competitive pastime for a few minutes every so often.
While a bit different from what we know today as the “arcade racer”, Atari’s early attempts in this regard were all rather enjoyable.
Of the three included in the Atari Flashback Classics collection, Super Bug was the earliest and, consequently, the simplest. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time, however — if anything it makes it a great place to start!
Drive until you can’t drive any more: that’s all you need to do. But as we’ve seen countless times on this series already, sometimes it’s the simplest concepts that make for the most addictive games…
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.
Say the words “racing game” to someone these days and they’ll typically think of a game with at least a passing impression of a 3D perspective.
Prior to titles like Namco’s Pole Position and Sega’s Out Run popularising this viewpoint, however, Atari was happily churning out top-down racers that were a lot of fun to play, beginning with Super Bug before moving on to the unusual cooperative two-player title Fire Truck — which we’ve previously seen on this series — and finally, the full-colour, multi-track Monte Carlo, which saw players racing against actual opponents as well as the course itself.
Like Atari’s other early racers, it’s a game that’s actually still a lot of fun to play today once you get used to how the control scheme maps to modern controllers — and, for me, one of the many highlights in the Atari Flashback Classics collection.
This one’s a cool addition to the Atari Flashback Classics collection: a “lost” game from the Atari archives.
Maze Invaders sadly never saw an official release either as an arcade machine or a home port, languishing in the archives until recently. The International Centre for the History of Electronic Games managed to acquire a whole bunch of old Atari goodies back in 2014, and part of that heap of fun times was Maze Invaders.
It’s kind of surprising this never got an official release for one reason or another; it’s a really interesting, unusual and highly addictive game with a ton of personality to it!
Major Havoc is one of the more unusual games from Atari’s back catalogue of arcade titles, and it’s interesting from a historical perspective for being one of the first games Mark “PlayStation” Cerny was involved with.
Making use of vector graphics to provide seamless transitions between three very disparate types of gameplay, Major Havoc challenges you to blast enemies in space, land accurately on an enemy space station, navigate a perilous route to a reactor and then get the hell out of there before the whole thing blows.
It’s frantic, high-energy, super-difficult and a whole lot of fun. Take a look!