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Favorite 2600 Hidden Gems?

Atari 2600 Games Hidden Gems

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#1 AtengaGames OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 12:03 PM

This question has probably been asked on here already but I thought it would be nice to start a new thread about it. What are your personal favorite 2600 games that could also be considered a hidden gem? Please try to include screenshots if you can find them, the company of manufacture and a short description (or not so short if you would like) of the game. I have two personal favorites:

 

1. Fast Food by Telesys: Game in which you play as a disembodied pair of lips eating up as much food as you can to gain "calories" or score as most people would call it. The food files from left to right at various speeds (some moving faster than the lips can) and you can pretty much move anywhere in the play field but watch out for the eggplants (or pink pickles as I like to call them because they have the exact same sprite as the pickle just pink colored instead of green) because if you eat 6 of them the restaurant closes (Game Over). After a certain amount of food has passed a new round starts and the food gets faster. There are various types of food as well and different foods will net more or less calories. Unlike something like stampede there is no penalty for letting food pass by you. The strategy of this game all involves the position of the lips, the closer to the left of the screen you are the easier it is to eat more food but makes it harder to dodge eggplants, and the closer you are to the right of the screen the harder it is to eat the food but easier to dodge eggplants. This game is for those who love twitch based gameplay and want to test their reaction times. This is honestly probably my favorite Atari game I've played.

 

2. Turmoil by 20th Century Fox: A single screen shooter in which your object is to blast as many enemy space ships as possible (I know super groundbreaking stuff for Atari 2600). While conceptually unoriginal it's the layout of this single screen that's intriguing. Instead of just being a horizontal or vertical single screen shooter you have to worry about all four cardinal directions. Your ship can move up and down along a column in the center of the screen and face left or right. On either side of this center column are seven rows stacked on top of each other in which enemies of various types will come at you one at a time per row from both the left and the right. These enemies have various properties including having different speeds, shooting projectiles, invulnerability from the front, and more. you die by get hit by a projectile or colliding with a ship passing the center row. There are also these eggs(?) that will spawn within the rows every once in a while in that can be collected for major points (this is the only time you can travel down the rows). If these eggs(?) are left uncollected for to long they'll hatch(?) into an incredibly fast frog(?) enemy that can be extremely hard to deal with, but be careful as when your in the rows because an enemy can spawn in the row your occupying and you can't shoot while in the row. This game is an amazing S.S.S. (can I coin this abbreviation or is it to silly sounding?) that is a complete far cry from the standard space invader clones the system is riddled with.

 

The term "Hidden Gem" is pretty subjective term especially for the 2600 library (barring the obvious Black Label Atari produced games and most Activision titles) and even more so on this forum with extremely knowledgeable 2600 collectors so let's try not to get hung up on whether a title is really a hidden gem or not. I'm still fairly new to 2600 collecting so all I really want is to learn about games that don't often get brought up when discussing good Atari 2600 games. I want this to be a thread for those looking to expand their library of good Atari 2600 games to come after they have picked up the well known classics.

 

*Couldn't find useable screenshots right now have to go but will try to post some later



#2 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 3:35 PM

My advice here would just be to keep an open mind. The Atari 2600 has an incredibly diverse library (there are some seriously weird games for the system), and you'll hear all about Pitfall and River Raid and Yars' Revenge and the usual nominees for "best 2600 game," and you'll hear about how Pac-Man and E.T. et al are the worst. A lot of people don't always feel the same way; I personally enjoy Pac-Man quite a bit and think Yars' is overrated as hell. Point being, judge for yourself. If you're collecting, chances are you'll eventually encounter most of them anyway. Or hell, fire up an emulator if you want to get an idea of what a game is like before you buy a copy (if won't be quite like the real thing, but it's a starting point).

Now, to address your topic more directly, some of my personal "hidden gems" include:
-Star Ship
-Sea Bomber (second game on Canyon Bomber cartridge)
-Stellar Track

-Warplock

-Stargunner

-Fast Eddie

-Miner 2049er

-Fantastic Voyage



#3 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 4:06 PM

A hidden gem for me would include Coconuts. Just_try_playing it after a nights worth of drinking.   :lol:  
 

coco.png



#4 AtengaGames OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 6:03 PM

Here is the screenshots of turmoil and fast food that I promised because for some reason it kept failing to upload the .PNG's earlier.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 134293-turmoil-atari-2600-screenshot-the-sentry-ship-is-just-about.png
  • Fast_food_screenshot.png


#5 AtengaGames OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 6:11 PM

My advice here would just be to keep an open mind. The Atari 2600 has an incredibly diverse library (there are some seriously weird games for the system), and you'll hear all about Pitfall and River Raid and Yars' Revenge and the usual nominees for "best 2600 game," and you'll hear about how Pac-Man and E.T. et al are the worst. A lot of people don't always feel the same way; I personally enjoy Pac-Man quite a bit and think Yars' is overrated as hell. Point being, judge for yourself. If you're collecting, chances are you'll eventually encounter most of them anyway. Or hell, fire up an emulator if you want to get an idea of what a game is like before you buy a copy (if won't be quite like the real thing, but it's a starting point).

Now, to address your topic more directly, some of my personal "hidden gems" include:
-Star Ship
-Sea Bomber (second game on Canyon Bomber cartridge)
-Stellar Track

-Warplock

-Stargunner

-Fast Eddie

-Miner 2049er

-Fantastic Voyage

I think calling E.T. the worst 2600 game is so stupid because in terms of gameplay it's not fantastic but I hear plenty of people enjoy it, and there are much worse games on the 2600 platform. I only I think it could be considered the "worst 2600 game" because of it's huge financial loses, but other than that it is just an underwhelming adventure game



#6 AtengaGames OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 6:14 PM

A hidden gem for me would include Coconuts. Just_try_playing it after a nights worth of drinking.   :lol:  
 

attachicon.gifcoco.png

Hmm another Telesys game I don't have this so I will have to pick this up sometime. Also I'm underage so I'm really not supposed to drink a "nights worth". :grin:



#7 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 7:19 PM

Out of curiosity, and slightly off topic, what is a ballpark estimate of total number of games made for the 2600?

#8 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 7:25 PM

I was going to mention Fast Food as well, another great one is Jawbreaker. Oh and Tunnel Runner is a great first person style maze game. Lots of fun.



#9 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 8, 2015 7:58 PM

Out of curiosity, and slightly off topic, what is a ballpark estimate of total number of games made for the 2600?

http://www.atarimani..._2600_roms.html

 

573 in that collection, but if you include all the variants and re-releases, some people count more than 8000 different carts that have been released for 2600 (and counting).  The worldwide repro and knock off scene was also so active that we may simply never know how many releases this machine got.

 

As for underrated games here are some helpful threads:

 

http://atariage.com/...&hl=+underrated

http://atariage.com/...&hl=+underrated

 

Without reading what I posted in there again, I think my previous answers were in the M-Network family.  Astroblast is a great verticle shooter that works with both joysticks and paddles.  The M-Network sports games are pretty impressive, but hard to get into today (2 player only) as a result they don't get rated very highly.

 

Fantastic voyage was mentioned and that is a pretty great one.  Spiderman is another one that falls into my top 20 that rarely gets a lot of attention.

 

You'll find lots of games above #100 on this list that would fall into the "underrated" category:  http://atariage.com/...ll-time/page-27.  River Raid II and Secret Quest are simply too complicated for many players to get into (including me so far), but by all accounts they are great examples of what the 2600 can do.



#10 24Fanatic365 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 9, 2015 6:16 PM

Lock n Chase is a great game that isn't mentioned very often. I really like Aliens, too.


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#11 Nutsy Doodleheimer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 9, 2015 10:23 PM

I consider the "Hidden Gems" to be the most underrated games released for the 2600. And there is a plethora of them. Some of my choices for my favorite Hidden Gems for the Atari 2600.

 

Fireball

Gravitar

King Kong

Wizard of Wor



#12 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 9, 2015 11:18 PM

http://www.atarimani..._2600_roms.html

 

573 in that collection, but if you include all the variants and re-releases, some people count more than 8000 different carts that have been released for 2600 (and counting).  The worldwide repro and knock off scene was also so active that we may simply never know how many releases this machine got.

 

 

Make ~8000 games out of 573, that's just amazing.

 

For me, hidden gem. Pick n Pile, one of the last VCS games.

pick_n_pile_7.gif


Edited by high voltage, Sun Aug 9, 2015 11:23 PM.


#13 Mountain King OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:36 AM

For me it's the Xonox double ender: Ghosthouse Manor/Spikes Peak.

Both games can be complex and may be tough to play without reading the instructions.



#14 Cambouis de l'Atari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:45 AM

I consider the "Hidden Gems" to be the most underrated games released for the 2600. And there is a plethora of them. Some of my choices for my favorite Hidden Gems for the Atari 2600.

 

Fireball

Gravitar

King Kong

Wizard of Wor

 

Gravitar and Wizard of Wor are among my favorite games, I never thought they were underrated.

Reactor is rarely mentionned, and quite entertaining. Space Shuttle, a masterpiece, but maybe too complex for the average player.



#15 Yoss OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:37 AM

Fast Food is one of my 8-year-old son's favorites. (No doubt heavily influenced by the "You're getting fatter!" messages and the Burp at the end of the game.) My wife only likes to play a handful of 2600 titles and Fast Food is on that list. I think it's a good approachable game.

 

I invariably think of Spacemaster X-7. It's just rare enough that it's not going to be well known outside of the more die hard 2600 fans. It's fast, addicting game play. The difficulty level ramps up pretty evenly so you're always tempted to try to do a little better to beat your last score.

 

Midnight Magic may not be obscure enough to qualify as a hidden gem, but it's a fantastic pinball effort for the 2600. I find myself returning to it frequently when I'm not in the mood for the usual "the enemies multiply and speed up until you die" style of play.



#16 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:25 AM

I invariably think of Spacemaster X-7. It's just rare enough that it's not going to be well known outside of the more die hard 2600 fans. It's fast, addicting game play. The difficulty level ramps up pretty evenly so you're always tempted to try to do a little better to beat your last score.

I was just going to add Spacemaster X-7 after Cambouis de l'Atari called Space Shuttle a masterpiece and reminded me of it (Space...master...). :)

 

Definitely a good one.

I think Mega Force and Crash Dive qualify as well. Fox made some good games, and a lot of them aren't that well-known.

I'd also add Radar Lock and Secret Quest, two great games that came out waaaay past the 2600's prime and that most people probably didn't see much of.



#17 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:42 AM

Make ~8000 games out of 573, that's just amazing.

 

For me, hidden gem. Pick n Pile, one of the last VCS games.

 

 

Ha - yeah.  I thought that number was a bit high.  @Romhunter would know though.



#18 davidbrit2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:00 PM

Marauder.

Great overhead-view shooter kind of like Berzerk, with some key differences. The biggest one is that the game engine actually has line-of-sight. Enemies can be hidden around corners, and you can wind up staring them right in the face if you aren't careful. The goal in each level is to find and destroy the power core, at which point you move on to the next (more difficult) level. If you play on the default game variation, it starts out way too easy and takes too long to ramp up. Crank it up to at least 2 or 3. Game 4 is absolutely brutal right from the start.



#19 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:03 PM

For me it's the Xonox double ender: Ghosthouse Manor/Spikes Peak.

Both games can be complex and may be tough to play without reading the instructions.

I like both too, and Sir Lancelot and Robin Hood. Robin Hood looks a bit messy, but I like it. Artillery Duel is good for two players.



#20 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:51 PM

Dolphin from Activision is a pretty cool shooter with some interesting twists...

 



#21 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:02 PM

*Couldn't find useable screenshots right now have to go but will try to post some later


On the main page at the bottom of the links in the left column you'll find a Title Search.  Most titles have screenshots that you can show in posts:
 
Fast Food
s_FastFood_1.png
 
Turmoil
s_Turmoil_1.png

You can also find photos of cartridges, boxes, and instructions.

#22 steeltree OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:18 PM

Space Cavern is my gem.



#23 Atarius Maximus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:28 PM

Marauder.

Great overhead-view shooter kind of like Berzerk, with some key differences. The biggest one is that the game engine actually has line-of-sight. Enemies can be hidden around corners, and you can wind up staring them right in the face if you aren't careful. The goal in each level is to find and destroy the power core, at which point you move on to the next (more difficult) level. If you play on the default game variation, it starts out way too easy and takes too long to ramp up. Crank it up to at least 2 or 3. Game 4 is absolutely brutal right from the start.

+1 on Marauder, I always liked that one. As was mentioned, it's a little too easy unless you play the harder variations.  I made a hack of Marauder back in 2004 that made the mazes a little more complex and updated the sprites.



#24 Mef OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:32 PM

I'd say for me - the underloved gems would be:

 

Dark Cavern/Night Stalker.

 

 

Sure it's repetitive as hell, but the Screen is very well composed, with clean non-flickering graphics, fluid animations and very responsible, solid controlls & gameplay.

Same description would perfectly apply to the other title - coincidentally in a very similar vein: Alien

 

 

Again, the graphics are crisp and well animated, and the game surpasses any other attempt at VCS Pac-Man port in a way (proper Dots, no flicker AT ALL!).

It's just not fitting well with the title, but remains a very polished, playable & cleverly programmed game nonetheless.


Edited by Mef, Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:34 PM.


#25 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:27 PM

I kinda like all of the Telesys games, especially Fast Food and Demolition Herby. The Telesys games feel like someone actually put a little effort into making a nice game rather than a quick cash-in like some of the other smaller third parties.


Edited by KaeruYojimbo, Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:28 PM.






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