First off, I'm loving these Favorite Variations threads.
Thank you! I thought it could be fun to shed a little more light on early titles that often get forgotten, or sometimes (*cough*Home Run) dismissed outright. Hopefully these threads encourage a few people to check these games out in a little more depth and (re?)discover a newfound appreciation for them.
Secondly, Air Sea Battle was one of the first carts I had for my VCS. I loved this game. As I was an only child, I didn't always have a second player around, so personally, I remember Air Sea Battle more fondly than Combat. There were single player variations, even if the opponent was only blindly shooting, so it was a lot more fun to practice when it was just me. As much as I've been digging into the old games lately, this isn't one I had tried lately. Per your suggestions, I tried games 6 and 12 and had a blast. I'll try to play around some more and report back in.
It's kind of funny today how we don't normally think of 1-player games as being a big deal, but I don't need to tell you that in the late '70s it was a very nice feature to have. People remember and love Combat, and rightfully so, but I didn't get an Atari until 1999, by which time it was kind of tough rustling up an opponent willing to play with me--let alone a worthy opponent. The times I've actually been able to really play Combat--with other people--were a collective blast, but they are also few and far between. Air-Sea Battle, meanwhile, I could play by myself. Even if the AI was brain-dead, and would essentially never beat you, at least it was there.
I also like how Air-Sea Battle really reflects Atari's game design philosophy of the time: lots of game options, tweaks, and difficulty customization (for want of a better word). Street Racer was another really good one in that regard. Lots of game stuffed into a 2K ROM!
My favorite is the shooting gallary variation. Game 14.
The shooting gallery games are a nice twist on the Anti-Aircraft game concept. I like that they sort of combine the gameplay of the Anti-Aircraft and Torpedo games. And those "clown faces" need to die.
Edited by BassGuitari, Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:19 AM.