Two games. One cart.
Armored Encounter! Odyssey^2, 1978
I'll include a picture of these tanks when I have one.
Oh, hey, I do. Here's Mr. Blue and his eternal nemesis, Mr. Red.
Okay, this is very much like Atari Combat, the Tank games, with minor changes to the gaming variants and one very notable addition.
Two tanks (red vs blue, again) face off with or without guided missiles, with or without barriers (simple or complex) and with or without mines and with or without combinations of the three variations. (12 games in toto)
The mines are a new but not really notable addition to the tank game. They show up as big white X's that give your opponent a point when you run over them. They disappear after they are set off if I remember correctly. (we played this last week and I just can't bring myself to check just now.)
The notable addition is the limit on tank ammo. You each have 20 rounds and when you're out of ammo, you're out of luck until the game ends or when your enemy runs out (which also ends the game). There's no counter on the screen for the ammo, but your last three bullets are a different color, so you are given warning. This addition really adds something to the game. Baiting your opponent and dodging their shots is fun and so is hunting them down when they're out of ammo. We really had a good time because of that addition to the gameplay. Something else that made this game more enjoyable is the design of the Odyssey^2's joysticks. I've really gotten used to them. I'm assuming they're simple 8-way joysticks (I'll have to look that up) but their range of motion is really comfortable and I don't feel like my son or I are having any problems using them. This is in contrast to the Atari VCS joysticks, which are rarer to find in working condition in my experience.
I guess if I had to compare the two Tank games from Odyssey and Atari, I'd have to say it's a dead heat. If I only had an Odyssey^2 with Armored Encounter, I wouldn't be pining away for Atari's Combat's Tank games and vice versa. I'd be happy enough to enjoy either game, in the context of the era during which it was released. If I had to point out a flaw in either of them, I'd have to say that the Odyssey^2's barrier fields were pretty lame looking.
It's interesting to point out what I think is the biggest difference between Odyssey^2's Armored Encounter and Atari's Combat: the way they chose to describe these games in their catalogs.
Magnavox described Armored Encounter as "an astonishingly realistic simulation of armored warfare!." Atari didn't seem to put on any airs for their title, saying simply, in one of their catalogs: "Blast your opponent as many times as you can for the highest score." With that sentiment, I think Atari captured the essence of the exercise much more clearly.
Sub Chase! Odyssey^2, 1978
This is like the flip-side of a 45 rpm record. Sub Chase! is like the lesser known, usually not-as-good tune that they used to put on the flip-side of a 45 simply because there was a spot for it. See, most of you are too young to remember this, but back before there were CDs there were . . . oh, look it up yourself.
This is a little, no, make that a lot, like Atari's Air-Sea Battle but with only three variations. One player is the Plane, the other is the Sub. They control their own speed, their vertical positions and, in two of the three variants, they also guide the missiles that they fire at each other. There are also non-combatant ships for which you lose a point when you hit them. Not an awful game, but not very memorable. I want to say one of the problems I had with it was that each person's vehicle simply moved too quickly. Combine that with the fact they were always moving counter to one another and I found myself only scoring because my son happened to move into the way of my missile. It seemed to me that scoring becomes more of a luck-thing than a skill-thing for the most part. Perhaps that would change with repeated playing, but we were done with it after five or so minutes. So, we'll never know.
So, Armored Encounter! gets an "all right!" for the limited ammo feature and Sub Chase! gets a "meh", partly because I wasn't very good at it and partly because it wasn't very good.
Will Sub and Plane always hate each other? I actually like these photos because they remind me of grainy pictures of UFOs. Sorry for the blurring, esp. on the Sub. It doesn't really have two periscope poles, just the one, but thanks to the magic of slow shutter speeds we get to see two.
Next entry should be Football.