As the 40th anniversary of the Atari 2600 VCS approaches, I decided to compile my personal favorite games on the legendary system. I've owned Nintendo NES, SNES, and Wii, Sony Playstations 1 and 2, the original X-Box, and Sega Genesis, as well as other Atari systems (5200 and 7800), I always find myself coming back to the 2600. I was a kid during the height of Atari-Mania, not to mention I was born the same year the VCS launched. Therefore I present my
TOP 10 ATARI 2600 GAMES
Imagine if Bruce Campbell designed Breakout, that's pretty much Warlords in a nutshell. You know the story: four knights guard their respected kingdoms/forts, and you can play up to four people with each knight, or two people doing doubles. You can use the slower fireball for beginners, or the lightning ball for advanced gaming. Anyway I played this with my younger brother and we enjoyed trying to beat each other (usually I'd win).
MEGA FORCE (20th Century Fox-1982)
Based on the movie of the same name, Mega Force has you defending your palace from spaceships and missiles. I remember my older brother having this game and loving it. I got it now and still love it. The colors are flawless (as flawless as the 2600 will allow) with the only real flickering with the missiles launching at you.
Centipede and Millipede (Atari-1982, 1983)
I'm listing these two together, even though they're quite different (Millipede having more going on) they are still fun and similar in gameplay. Pretty much you're shooting either the Centipede or Millipede while avoiding spiders (both games) fleas (Centipede) and other insects (Millipede). I've always enjoyed these two games. Centipede will start you off, and Millipede is the next level.
I actually played this on an emulator, and loved it. I still need to get the cart, so maybe one day I will seek it out or look for it on eBay. But I love the different caverns you go in and rescue the people. H.E.R.O. is a definite must-play!
Cosmic Ark (Imagic-1982)
First of all I love the game Atlantis, but I dig its sequel even more. You start out on the Ark shooting at asteroids and then you go to different planets to rescue a wide variety of aliens. The ship you use the rescue the aliens is the same ship that escaped Atlantis when the planet blows up.
This game was released when development for the 2600 resumed. Solaris is one of my favorite space games for the 2600. You went and fought different enemy alien ships and rescued folks from enemy planets and blew up said planet. Solaris was the planet that you were trying to find as it was your home planet, but you had to fight through aliens and rescue folks from enemy planets on the way. It's definitely a must-play for any Atari 2600 fan!
This was another one my older brother owned. It was like a Touch Pad-less Star Raiders. Instead of switching to the map on the Touch Pad, you used the Color/B&W switch on the console. And Starmaster did not disappoint! It's a get-them-before-they-get-you type of space game with plenty of action to go around. Also there's four difficulty levels with one being the easiest and four being the hardest. You'll love Starmaster.
River Raid (Activision-1982)
What can I say about this classic that hasn't been said already? River Raid is awesome! You're shooting helicopters, ships, planes, bridges, even fuel tanks which you also use to refuel. River Raid is a fun and challenging game that never gets old and keeps you on your toes.
Pitfall 2: Lost Caverns (Activision-1983)
I love the original Pitfall!, but its sequel is far more superior. Many fans of Pitfall! say that Pitfall 2 is the best of the two. From its musical soundtrack that plays in the background (a pioneering feature in video games that would later become the norm) to its horizontal scrolling, Pitfall 2 is the full package and very challenging. Pitfall! may have started the platform gaming, but Pitfall 2 perfected it!
Before I get to number one...
M*A*S*H (20th Century Fox-1983)
Ms. Pac-Man (Atari-1982)
Yars' Revenge (Atari-1981)
Dark Chambers (Atari-1989)
Frogger (Parker Bros.-1982)
Frogger 2: Threeedeep! (Parker Bros.-1983)
Keystone Kapers (Activision-1983)
Adventure 2 (Atari-2005)
An exclusive to the Atari Flashback 2 and Flashback 2+, Adventure 2 is another sequel that's superior to the original. The land is more elaborate and challenging (I'm still trying to beat this thing!) and even more castles than the original. The three dragons Yorgie, Grundle, and the menacing Rindle are there as well and as ferocious as ever. Yorgie is still afraid of the yellow castle's key as he was in the first game. If you own any of the Flashback consoles, especially the FB 2 and FB 2+, you must play Adventure 2.