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I review games... How original...

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Keystone Kapers (Activision)

You’ll likely remember how in Sunday’s review I criticized Barnstorming for being ‘style over substance’, well I think Keystone Kapers may have finally balanced these two opposing forces. The premise is fairly basic, you are a cop who needs to catch a burglar who is escaping through a shopping mall, you must avoid obstacles in order to catch the thieving fiend. Everything in this game screams effort, from the animated escalators, to the running animations of both the cop and the burglar, to tha

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Down the 2600 Rabbit Hole

I’ve been trying to rationalize to myself where the rabbit hole that is Atari collecting begins and ends. Of course it begins with Atari themselves, along with the bigger publishers like Activision, Parker Brothers, and Imagic. Here let’s try something… I won’t be able to include all the publishers, but I can try to paint a vague picture of what I mean. Level One: Everybody knows ‘em. These companies were the most likely to be stocked in all the major electronics retailers. Atari

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Chuck Norris Superkicks (Xonox)

Uh… What!?! They made a Chuck Norris game? Wait… Xonox made a Chuck Norris game!?! Well I just gotta play it now… … … I vastly regret… everything. So, this game exists. This game was released in 1983, right around the time that ol’ Chuck was gaining mainstream popularity, but he was doing Westerns not Kung Fu flicks (yet), which is what Superkicks would wind up being if it were a film. It’s just a classic case of “we’ve got a license for a celebrity, or other IP let’s just plaster their fac

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Homebrew Boxes!

Now then if I were to ask you what the most unique boxes were for the 2600 I’d expect to hear answers like Commavid for their amazing box art, Bomb for their unique cutout design and included iron-ons, Tigervision, Mystique, the list goes on. Almost every publisher had a thing that made their boxes stand out on the shelves, but what if the best of these boxes were never actually sold on the shelf, and were instead sold online. What about homebrews? Yes, the homebrew scene on the 2600 is immense.

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Garfield (Atari)

If you’ve never seen or read a Garfield comic then you’ve been living under a rock for the past forty years. Garfield is the king of Sunday comics and has been running consistently since 1978. It seems sometime in the early 80’s somebody reached out to Jim Davis or his company to make a game based on Garfield and Friends. Here’s where the problems begin, or actually the one problem, the game was copyrighted 1984, and as we all know Atari wasn’t doing too well in 1984, so this game along with a l

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Sneak 'N Peek (Vidtec/U.S. Games)

Why was this game made? I have no idea... but I do know that Sneak 'n Peek from Vidtec/ U.S. Games, is one of the worst games for the system. I mean... Hide and go seek on the 2600? This kind of formula wouldn't even work today. I'm gonna keep this one short, because this game just makes me mad.   Graphics... Now this is what makes me angry! Why does this game have some of the best visuals on the system?!? The opening screen is a large well brawn house with smoke smoothly rising from the chimn

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Lock 'n' Chase (M-Network)

Sorry about missing the review yesterday, I've been under the weather recently. I managed to get this review out for you guys today, because I like ya, and you deserve it.   We’re back in Mattel territory with Lock ‘n’ Chase which just so happens to be another Pac-Man clone. Lock ‘n’ Chase was one of the several Mattel games that were released both on the 2600 and on the Intellivision. While the Intellivision version was a slow and monotonous mess with unresponsive controls, the 2600 version

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Eli's Ladder (Simage)

As is common with many rare games from the first few generations, they were just one-offs from no-name companies trying to either break into the market, or simply to advertise themselves. I honestly have no idea where Eli’s Ladder falls in the spectrum of one-offs, but as one-offs go this one’s pretty darn good. Eli’s Ladder is a math tutoring game that teaches the player addition, subtraction, and counting, it also came with a console overlay for both six and four switch Atari’s which leads me

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Oh Dear! I broke my stick!

Well isn’t this a little awkward, today’s subject for review, my recently acquired Datasoft Le Stick, has just stopped working. I have popped open the bottom to get at the wires to see what was going on and my worst suspicions were confirmed. Due to how you use the Le Stick, violently jerking it from side to side, it really does a number on the internal wiring where they all coalesce into the controller cord which leads to wires being severed. Datasoft tried to mitigate this by placing the wires

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Pac-Man (Atari)

This game is a glorious mess. And despite being one of the most commonly mocked and disliked games in the Atari library, I don't mind it. Let me just say this up front, I don't think that this is a 'Pac-Man' game, I think it's a Pac-Man style game. Same name different game, each share similar game-play and graphics (Sounds are not applicable here), but Atari Pac-Man shook things up a little bit. Also like the other mainstream whipping boy E.T., this game was rushed to completion, and also suffer

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Super Cycle (Epyx)

I have seriously underestimated Epyx, I honestly didn’t realize how many games they produced back in the 80’s, but I’m not gonna get ahead of myself listing every one the games they published since we would be here all year, instead I’m going to focus on one of my favorite games on the C64 (apart from Monty On The Run) and that is Epyx’ Super Cycle. I love arcade style racing games, games like Rad Racer, Top Gear, Enduro, Outrun, even games like Extreme G and Lego Racers on N64 are some of my fa

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Mountain King (CBS Electronics)

I’ve debated whether or not I should review this game for some time, due to its complexity, but I’ve decided that now is the time. There are advanced games for the 2600, Solaris, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Dragonstomper being excellent examples, but there is one that I think beats them all out in terms of volume, and complexity. Mountain King is one of those OG games that never seems to get talked about anymore, kinda like Miner 2049’er or the Jumpman series of games, games that were big for a

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Haunted House (Atari)

It’s time for some spooky shit. Yeah, you all know it, you all may or may not like it, it’s Haunted House. Basically Haunted House takes the gameplay format of Adventure and makes it spooky. I had originally planned to review Haunted House on Halloween, but as you can see that didn’t happen, instead I reviewed Star Fox which is scary for an entirely different reason. Your objective is to simply recover three pieces of an urn and leave the house, you will be harried by ghosts and ghouls but runni

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Flash Gordon (20th Century Fox)

This game shouldn't have been made. A game based on a 1980 movie that was based on a forty year old TV show, this should not have happened, and it's almost a crime for it to be this good. I've never watched the show, even though as I'm writing this I'm staring a a two VHS Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe set that I bought forever ago and still haven't watched, so I'm going to be remedying that soon. I've also never watched the movie, but from what I've heard I'm not missing much. But there is

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Strawberry Shortcake: Musical Match-ups (Parker Brothers)

Kid’s games are exceptionally difficult to make, which is why so many of them are terrible. Many companies vie for the tried and true method of making a few cookie cutter minigames and plastering a well-known children’s character/icon on it. Some companies like Humungous Entertainment and Disney found ways to make kid’s games that kid’s will actually enjoy playing; they’re complex without being too difficult  and not too easy to the point of being condescending. Unfortunately this is 1983 and we

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Front Line (Coleco)

You may remember how yesterday I commented that a top down shooter in the style of Ikari Warriors was impossible... Or was it? Well there is a game that gets this style of gameplay down, and it does it almost perfectly, that game is Front Line. This is the game that Ikari Warriors wishes it was. It works off of the same exact formula, but it does it well, unlike Ikari Warriors or even Activision's Commando. This game was released by Coleco, who had a decent but somewhat spotty record when it ca

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No Escape! (Imagic)

This genre bender cones from the same time period as one of my previous Imagic reviewees Laser Gates. This was a period of great decline for the company as the crash was getting into full swing and Imagic hadn’t prepared in the slightest, leading to its untimely demise in 1984, I already spoke about the death of Imagic in my Laser Gates review so let’s move on from that, shall we? The first thing that immediately strikes me about No Escape! is that box art, wow, that guy looks so out of it, at l

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Journey: Escape (Data Age)

When people look at high profile failures on the 2600 the list usually starts with E.T. and ends with Pac-Man with nothing in between, but there is a game that is oft overlooked by the general public and that game is the one and only Journey: Escape. This is the game that killed Data Age, the marketing for this game cost the company 4.5 million dollars, roughly adjusted for inflation that’s over twelve million dollars today, that may not seem like a lot for a game today, but think of it this wa

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Infiltrate (Apollo)

Apollo presented the games market with a very mixed bag of games. Some were rather fun to play but not very original, like Space Cavern, others were original but not at all fun to play, like Racquetball. One game though seemed to rise above the rest, garnering a somewhat cult status in some circles, that game is Infiltrate. It’s impressive that a game company which appeared and vanished so very quickly even had any offering at all; Apollo was a flash in the pan even when compared to other third-

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Room of Doom (Commavid)

It seems we have returned to the realm of the obscure. I have reviewed a game from this company before, and ever since I have been yearning for another of their games. Commavid is one of THOSE companies, none of their games ever had a wide release despite their overall quality and are as such rather rare today, two more companies I would define as one of THOSE companies are Tigervision, and Avalon Hill. AS I was browsing through Ebay, as one does, I found a listing for Room of Doom by Commavid i

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Motorodeo (Atari)

Once upon a time, this game was rare, I mean THE rarest, I of course am referring to the fallen angel that it Motorodeo. Once it sat at a kingly R10 on the AtariAge rarity scale, now it only at a modest R5, how the great have fallen. We can thank Venezuela for this influx of new old-stock, these days you can find almost all of the Atari Red Box/label games for a modest price brand new, as long as you can stomach the shipping times. Venezuela also has a large amount of Taiwan Cooper carts which m

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Frankenstein's Monster (Data Age)

After a bit of persistence I finally managed to complete the Data Age collection, that’s right, now I have a copy of every single Data Age Title. This is probably one of the easiest and cheapest publisher collections to finish due to the fairly low number of games released and how common most of them are. The only other publishers I can think of that might be easier to complete are Mythicon, and Vidtec/U.S. Games for the same reasons as Data Age. But… almost every publisher has that one game tha

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Fireball (Starpath)

There are many Paddle games for the 2600; some of them are excellent, like Kaboom! And Warlords, others are not so good, like the drek from Mystique, or the laughable crap from Data Age. If you were to ask me what the best Paddle game was I’d likely reply with the classic Kaboom! But today I’m not so sure. After playing Fireball by Starpath, I think the bar has been raised again, because I believe that Fireball may just be the best Paddle game ever made for the 2600. I understand that that is a

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Robot Tank (Activision)

Robot Tank (Activision)

When I was just getting into the 2600 I was still ignorant to the complexity that some games managed to achieve. So imagine my surprise when I plopped Robot Tank into my 2600 for the first time. It is quite clear that Robot Tank was made to be Activision’s answer to Atari’s Battlezone, and it really feels like it. Also reading the back of the box, this game apparently takes place in October 2019, so it is the perfect time for me to review it. Funnily enough, the prediction of a robotized militar

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AstroBlast (M Network)

Ladies and gentleman it is time for a true classic, AstroBlast… Originally released on the Intellivision as AstroSmash by Mattel the 2600 port followed soon after. Normally I’d do a comparison review for something like this but in the case of AstroBlast there is no comparison, the 2600 version comes out the victor, here’s why. AstroBlast uses the Paddle controllers which are a huge step up from the INTV’s rather clunky control disks, allowing for smooth and fluid movement and more engaging gamep

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