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The 10 Worst Atari 2600 Games


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#26 Stan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014 9:01 PM

Hahah you guys...  Well, I mean, again, this is based on personal experience, primarily, having played every single game in the 2600 library, minus homebrews really.  I couldn't possibly include ALL Mythicon games on there, and I mean they're essentially the SAME game anyway.  The other two are just a little more like a game.  STOP DEFENDING STAR SHIP, ABSOLUTE GARBAGE GAME.  Yeah, I'll probably do a favorite list next.  I have to move over an action figure article I did once first.



#27 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014 9:10 PM

Star Ship and Flag Capture are like numbers 5 & 6 on my old classics favorites! WTF?



#28 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014 9:36 PM

STOP DEFENDING STAR SHIP, ABSOLUTE GARBAGE GAME.


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#29 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014 11:35 PM

I think one's idea of what's a 'bad' vs 'great' game for the 2600 -- and a lot of other systems, but it seems even more true for the 2600 due to the limitations of the system and the need for a active imagination -- has a lot to do with the following:

 

1) Did you play the game BITD or pick it up years later?

2) Were you forced to play this game again and again due to not having anything else, or did you have a ton of games to pick from?

3) Do you like the type of game that it is, or is that a genre that you don't enjoy that much?

 

I'm not sure how Stan falls in with any of this stuff, as he doesn't mention it on his list, and that's why personaly I'd only agree with 2 games on his list -- but it's a good list, none the less.

 

And I totally agree about ET and Pac-Man not being in the top 10.  Was Pac-Man a terrible port of the arcade game?  Sure, but there were worse.  Was ET over hyped and over produced and rushed out the door?  Totally, but it happened to other games also.  They were both playable, at the least in short doses.  A top 10 bad game list should be stuff that you can't tolerate for more then 30 seconds. :lol:



#30 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 12:54 AM

I liked Star Ship on so many levels it’s just crazy. Star Ship was the first time I felt I was flying through deep space fighting battles to save the Earth. It was the first first-person out-of-the-cockpit view for home systems if I recall correctly. It also exhibited a good number of firsts in the programming department, none of which I can authoritatively comment on since I am not a VCS programmer by any stretch of the imagination. But stretch the imagination with Star Ship we did. Yessir!

 

Star Ship brings back lots of memories. I remember setting it up inside the family wagon and putting blankets over the windows. My VCS rigged to a 9” B/W JC Penny television provided the visuals for my makeshift deep-space craft. We seemingly had all the amenities of the Starship Enterprise. Catered food from mom & dad, a bathroom right outside, an entertainment system. Just too cool for school!

 

On a more personal note, I was still innocent and didn’t know a damned thing on how cartridges and the VCS really worked. I knew there were black things called integrated circuits and stuff. But that was about it. And I was happy. I would learn when I grew up.

 

The first sets of games where you simply had to blow up the oncoming ships was considered training. While fun in and of itself, the game taught us to pull up (push down on the joystick) just like a real aircraft! It took time for a 5 year old to get used to that idea, but it quickly became natural. And when you played the 2-player variants you really learned about spatial orientation.

 

The second set of games where you have to speed through space and avoid the asteroids was the precursor to having to guide your ship in hyperspace in Star Raiders. While there was nothing to blow up, it sure made use of your maneuvering skills - that’s for sure.

 

The last set of games where you had to land on the moon was a load of fun too. We added excitement to it by letting the winner play Lunar Lander on my programmable calculator.

 

We all know graphics were simplistic, much like everything else of the era. But the sound effects were spot on. They were just like the deep space scenes in some sci-fi films, eerie, clean, seemingly intermittent. And when we were done with our hardcore simming, we’d read astronomy books and study Rand McNally’s Map of the Moon. All the while having Star Ship running in the background, for it added a sense of being in mission control.

 

The tie-in factor was high with Star Ship. It was the cornerstone where many of our space adventures congregated. Later on we'd incorporate Space War, Asteroids, Missile Command, and others. Gameplay flowing from one cartridge to next - much like how you have different levels in a modern-day FPS. Building our stories and carrying out orders. We fabricated epic galactic tales to rival even Star Wars. And some of these games were even part of a training regimen you had to complete if you were to join our makeshift "Space Program". If you were really elite and the best of the best with these games you could earn points that would score time on Star Raiders.

 

Just like real astronauts on a moon mission, we had many tasks to perform. Launch was as different from trans-lunar-injection, as actually landing on the moon was as different from splashdown on Earth. Each phase of our space program challenge required you to complete various tasks scattered over many different cartridges and their game variations. Furthermore, some of us were good at one task but sucked at another and we formed teams and each of built a reputation for being an expert in some aspect. And that is how we linked games together, for any one single game just begged for its background storyline to be expanded and become part of something more than itself. And it all started with Star Ship.

 

People that criticize early games like Star Ship are pretty much clueless in knowing how to have fun with the very first classics. But ignorance can be forgiven and alleviated if a genuine effort is put forth to learn and see the light.

 

Star Ship - one of the best early immersive games ever made for any system at the time. Do yourself a favor and play it today!


Edited by Keatah, Fri Apr 4, 2014 1:38 AM.


#31 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 1:23 AM

Maybe he should've differentiate between 70s and 80s games, seems that games like Star Ship has deep gameplay, it's not just a game you boot up for 2 minutes, and oh rubbish, back in the box.

Obviously you gotta stick with it, use lots of imagination and the game sounds like fun.

 

Also Tic Tac Toe, the aim is to play Tic Tac Toe, of course you gotta be good at playing TTT otherwise that game will not work for you. Yes, it's difficult, but it's a video game, so it should be.

Bridge on VCS might be an excellent or rubbish game, but I never even booted it up as I cannot play Bridge.

Should any board, cards and wotnot games be converted onto home consoles/ computers. Of course, because they can. Otherwise you wouldn't need driving games either, just use a car.

 

Games on PLATO consisted only of letters and numbers, but still their D&D games were really very good (and the other games too). Imagination was the key.


Edited by high voltage, Fri Apr 4, 2014 1:30 AM.


#32 Dr Manhattan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 4:21 AM

Finally. Justice for E.T. 



#33 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 7:21 AM

I liked Star Ship on so many levels it’s just crazy. Star Ship was the first time I felt I was flying through deep space fighting battles to save the Earth. It was the first first-person out-of-the-cockpit view for home systems if I recall correctly. It also exhibited a good number of firsts in the programming department, none of which I can authoritatively comment on since I am not a VCS programmer by any stretch of the imagination. But stretch the imagination with Star Ship we did. Yessir!

 

 

...

 

Star Ship - one of the best early immersive games ever made for any system at the time. Do yourself a favor and play it today!

 

Heh.  This pretty much sums up my exact feelings about the original Star Raiders on the A800 and Star Master (and Star Raiders and Phased Patrol and others) on the 2600.  They were incredibly immersive, incredibly "realistic"... with a little help from an active imagination.



#34 Stan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 7:40 AM

Yeah I get what you guys are saying, and again, really any list like this is personal opinion when it comes down to it, I tried to primarily base it on my own experiences, growing up with the 2600, friends playing it, other opinions out there, and so on.  Sure, you probably don't agree with some of them, but I'm happy you've all at least agreed with my approach.



#35 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 8:01 AM

I think anyone who comments here is glad you wrote the thing.  Again, this gets us talking about old games.  No one is coming to your house to rough you up for hating Star Ship.  But the fun is seeing people talk about these games, sharing experiences and perspectives!

 

Don't feel persecuted.  This is a good list and a fun list and I couldn't disagree with you more on about 50% of it!  That's how you know you did your job right!  Keep it coming, Stan!

 

 

:spidey:



#36 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:14 AM

I think anyone who comments here is glad you wrote the thing.


Definitely. I'll say it again, kudos for basing this on actually playing the games. It's funny how that seems so novel nowadays...

#37 Waggie OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:22 AM

I'm happy to see a list that doesn't include the usual popular to hate titles.  I'm not sure what I would put in my own list since I can pretty much find fun in most games.  It would probably be ones that have very poor controls (looking at you Double Dragon) or terrible flicker that make them unplayable/unwatchable (Mythicon). 

 

I'm with Keatah on the love for Starship.  I think most of my friends didn't like the game at the time, but I would play it for hours imagining I was saving the earth or flying through space.  We had a closet full of old National Geographics at school that were from the space race time, so I was fascinated with anything related to that.



#38 Master Phruby OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:25 AM

Everyone forgets Stellar Track from Sears (Atari). The first text based Atari 2600 game. I bet someone around here could remake that game with better text.



#39 SpiceWare ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:37 AM

Everyone forgets Stellar Track from Sears (Atari). The first text based Atari 2600 game. I bet someone around here could remake that game with better text.

 

 

That reminds me, I still need to bundle up my DPC+ 32 character routines... 



#40 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:50 AM

 

 

That reminds me, I still need to bundle up my DPC+ 32 character routines... 

 

That would blow everyones collective minds to see a text based Rogue-like on the Atari 2600 at next years 7DRL contest :)

http://7drl.org/2014...-7drl-complete/



#41 thegoldenband OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 10:06 AM

I'm always surprised by how much hate Bugs gets. I'd imagine it was a drag to spend your hard-earned $25+ on it back in the day, but from the $1 loose cart perspective, it's an entertaining, goofy little twitch-shooter. I had ambitions of rolling the score a while back, and made it to 853 points on the lower difficulty, but got sidetracked.



#42 IHATETHEBEARS OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 11:44 AM

I'm always surprised by how much hate Bugs gets. I'd imagine it was a drag to spend your hard-earned $25+ on it back in the day, but from the $1 loose cart perspective, it's an entertaining, goofy little twitch-shooter. I had ambitions of rolling the score a while back, and made it to 853 points on the lower difficulty, but got sidetracked.

 

A friend of mine had that game. So I was able to play it a lot. While it certainly wasn't my favorite game, I didn't hate it either. Although I will admit that playing it today, it doesn't exude any nostalgic charm for me.



#43 Stan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 12:35 PM

I'm always surprised by how much hate Bugs gets. I'd imagine it was a drag to spend your hard-earned $25+ on it back in the day, but from the $1 loose cart perspective, it's an entertaining, goofy little twitch-shooter. I had ambitions of rolling the score a while back, and made it to 853 points on the lower difficulty, but got sidetracked.

 

I still want to believe the issue is I haven't gotten the knack for playing it, but it's simply beyond reason to me to want to do that.



#44 thegoldenband OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 1:24 PM

Maybe part of the key is whether you're irritated by games with targeting crosshairs that force you to lead your shots (which is what you have to do to counter the Phylax). I know a lot of people don't like that mechanic when it shows up in other kinds of games like space shooters, so it stands to reason that it'd be a potential liability for Bugs.



#45 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:35 PM

Anyone know why Star Ship got pulled from Atari's library early on?  It couldn't be low sales as there were tons of dud games that stayed around 



#46 IHATETHEBEARS OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:39 PM

Anyone know why Star Ship got pulled from Atari's library early on?  It couldn't be low sales as there were tons of dud games that stayed around 

 

There were tons of games that were pulled, weren't there? There were several Atari company games that I was never able to find. And I looked everywhere. I was partial to them.



#47 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:41 PM

Anyone know why Star Ship got pulled from Atari's library early on?  It couldn't be low sales as there were tons of dud games that stayed around 

I have no proof of this, Tempest, but my gut feeling is that Stan is close to the mark on what he said in the article -- Star Ship was a very early 2600 release (I think it was one of the original games, wasn't it?) and although I'm sure it sold well Atari became concerned about how this 'poor' game might reflect on the system and Atari in general, so they yanked it.



#48 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:48 PM

 

There were tons of games that were pulled, weren't there? There were several Atari company games that I was never able to find. And I looked everywhere. I was partial to them.

Some didn't get reprinted when Atari transitioned to the picture labels (Slot Machine for example), but Star Ship seems to have been pulled earlier than that.  I may be wrong there, but it seems too hard to find compared to all the other 'text label only' games.



#49 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:51 PM

Don't forget, Star Ship got resurrected as something of a "bridge" between the black-label and silver-label eras.  Whatever reason Atari had for pulling the text label version early, they apparently changed their minds a few years later.



#50 cvga OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 4:42 PM

Ah, Stan. 
 
I Want My Mommy is mediocre, but it's not bad.  You seem to have a bigger beef with the packaging and marketing than with the actual game.  If we are rating games based on this, I think the list is VERY different.  It's not a terrible game, it's just so-so.
 
Mr. Do's Castle isn't nearly as bad as you say.  Is it the arcade game?  No, but it is playable, and I enjoy it quite a bit.  If you take it as a game on its own merits, it's not that bad at all, unlike Pac-Man
 
Fire Fighter belongs on this list, but you fail to mention the worst part of the game:  each game lasts roughly 14 seconds.  It takes longer to insert the cartridge.  FF is a mess.
 
Flag Capture is Minesweeper, and not a bad version for the VCS.  But the moving flag variation is just bizarre.  But again if you want to bitch about packaging how about Breakout or Super Breakout?
 
Bugs is playable, Sssnake is not.  You picked the wrong Data Age game.
 
Only one Mythicon game?  You are far too kind.

 
:spidey:


My thoughts exactly!




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