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My Favorite 2600 games (and then some)

DoctorSpuds

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Since I don’t normally post reviews on Mondays I decided to do something a little different. Instead of posting a review how about I put up a list of my personal favorite games on my personal favorite console the Atari 2600. These aren’t in any particular order; they are simply the games that have given me the most enjoyment during my time playing the 2600. There may be some titles that you think should be on this list, so please tell me your favorite games in the comment section.

20th Century Fox:
Worm War 1: Any game where you can shoot worms gets a big thumbs up from me, add in two player co-op and you have a bona fide classic.

Activision:
Robot Tank: Graphics that can’t be beat and an arcade style that blows its counterpart Battlezone out of the water.

KABOOM!: The eternal classic and quite possibly the best Paddle game ever programmed.

Skiing: The only skiing game you should bother playing on the console. Smooth controls and endless replayability make this a must-have for any collection.

Enduro: Avoid-it gameplay at its finest, you can while the day away playing this title alone.

Apollo:
Space Cavern: A simple shooter with variations out the wazoo, with addictive gameplay to boot.

Atari:
Haunted House: Take Adventure and make it spooky, what do you get? Haunted house, ‘nuff said.

Desert Falcon: It’s more Zaxxon than Zaxxon, it’s a simple and somewhat repetitive shooter with a cool premise and smooth controller crunching gameplay.

Dig Dug: One of the only ports of Dig Dug to do it right. Stellar graphics and addicting gameplay make Dig Dug a treat to play any day.

Video Pinball: It may not be as polished as later pinball titles but you can’t deny that those are some of the greatest sound effects on the system, and the hypnotic gameplay keeps you pressing that reset switch over and over again.

Solaris: The most technically impressive game on the 2600, it’s not just a pretty face however; it’s also one of the most enjoyable space shooters this side of Saturn.

CBS:
Wizard of Wor: Addictive in the best way possible, smooth gameplay and fair difficulty scaling make this one of the best arcade conversions on the system.

Coleco:
Front Line: An excellent top down run ‘n gun shooter with varied level designs, vehicles, and even a boss fight, a must have.

Commavid:
Room of Doom: Are you tuff enuff? Probably not... This hard as nails single screen shooter pits you against a growing number of trigger happy henchmen as you’re trapped with a bloodthirsty monster.

Spiceware:
Draconian: A near perfect conversion of the obscure Namco arcade game Bosconian, no need for the Atarivox since this game speaks to you right outta the box.

Starpath:
Communist Mutants from Space: if the name doesn’t win you over the gameplay will. This is the closest you’re gonna get to Galaga on the 2600, and while the graphics aren’t the best the gameplay surely is.

Tigervision:
Jawbreaker: Without a doubt one of the best Pac-man style games ever made, beware those roving jawbreakers they just might make your teeth fall out!

Polaris: Do you like submarines? Do you like shooters and avoid-it type games? Because boy howdy this game has the best of both, just you watch out, those dive bombing jets have a nasty trick up their sleeve.

Shout outs:
These are games that really aren't as bad as people say they are.
Karate (It's a fun mess with two players)
Condor Attack (Which is cheaper: buying the Legit Ultravision cart, or buying a Supercharger and CMFS? Neither just get the T. Cooper UFO it's the same game.)
E.T. (obviously)
Pac-Man (Pac-Man is fun no matter how weird and broken it is)
Sea Hunt (Just figure out the timing people it's not that hard)
Cruise Missile (sometimes generic is better)
Journey: Escape (Would you rather play Gauntlet?)
Buck Rodgers: Planet of Zoom (The collision detection is a bit wonky but you can live with that, can't you?)
Star Wars: Jedi Arena (Creative idea, you just need the manual)
Alien (Some people actually don't like this game)
Chase the Chuck Wagon (If it were cheaper of course)
Sorcerer (There's nothing else like it, oh wait!)

Bit Corporation:
These guys are special, they are an anomaly wrapped in an enigma. Nobody really knows anything about them, who owned the company? who programmed their games? I don't know, do you know? If you do you'd better tell Albert or Wikipedia. Bit Corp released some of the prettiest games on the system but also some of the worst, here's a comprehensive list of which games are worth playing and which games are worth chucking, I'm not saying buying, just playing.

Open Sesame/I Want My Mommy (Worth it)
Phantom Tank/Tanks But No Tanks (Worth It)
Bobby Is Going Home (Not worth it)
Sea Monster (Currently on the fence, gimme some time)
Dancing Plate/Dishaster (Fuck no)
Snail Against Squirrel (Worth it)
Mission 3000 A.D. (Not worth it)
Space Robot (Not worth it)
Mr. Postman (Worth it)
Space Tunnel/ Cosmic Corridor (Not worth it)

Well there you go, a list of some of my favorite 2600 games, and then some, tell me if there are any that you think should be on the list, but I must warn you, I have very unconventional tastes. Any game recommendations for future reviews will be appreciated as well, I know I’ve reviewed many of the games on this list, there are a few more seen above that are on the docket at the moment, so don’t be surprised if one the these games is tomorrows review.

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Cool list! Definitely some games on there I need to give a second try to. (Karate NOT being one of them... if I could actually coax a second person to play Atari games with me, I can't imagine choosing to subject them to that nonsense!) Interesting that many conventional favorites are nowhere to be found (Missile Command, HERO, River Raid, etc.) but I like that you champion many games folks never think of.

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Interesting that many conventional favorites are nowhere to be found (Missile Command, HERO, River Raid, etc.) but I like that you champion many games folks never think of.

 

That's mainly because I don't like the conventional favorites all that much, yeah they're decently programmed and well thought out games that are truly iconic, but when you only hear about 5% of the total library there is so much that gets left out. Almost all of the 'best of' lists I've read contain games predominately from Atari and Activision, and if you're lucky there may be a game from Parker Brothers or Coleco, or maybe even Imagic but that's always Demon Attack or Atlantis. While all of the 'worst of' lists (with the exception of Deafsparrow's) are made up from the same few publishers, Data Age, Mythicon, Froggo, and Zimag, y'know, the ones that actually made bad games, but Atari made bad games too, so did Imagic, Coleco, and Activision, and they are all conpicuously missing from those 'worst of' lists. There's no middle ground it's all "here's the best of the system according to 1983" or "here's the worst games according to bill, our intern, who had an Atari when he was a kid", it's all the same games having the same facts being regurgitated about them over and over again. When I'm out of games to review, and believe me I'll break my rule and start reviewing games I don't own, and when I'm finally out of games then I'll review the classics, that's when I jump the shark.

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I agree with sdamon, especially that last sentence...And really liked your list...I will definitely have to play some of these as the truth is there are ones on your list I've never even played (or only briefly tried out). Some of them I even have in cartridge form but haven't gotten around to ;)

 

You are also correct that most lists leave out more obscure titles...

 

I like Condor Attack too and Communist Mutants from Space (not to mention Suicide Mission which I always thought was brilliant!)...Now BITD I played the hell out of Video Pinball which is probably why I now much prefer Midnight Magic, which I could always play no matter what...And I remember very well when my friend bought Haunted House and we all gathered around his TV to watch him play it the first time (with the lights out no less).

 

I get the Love of Kaboom, but always preferred Circus Atari and Super Breakout. Of course Warlords was Great if ya have friends over...

 

Other favorites of mine included Pifall!, Adventure, Yar's Revenge, Phoenix, Megamania, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Jr. PacMan and Demon Attack...I know..."Conventional favorites".

 

Then we get to M-Network. When they first appeared I didn't want to support them because those Intellivision attacking Atari commercials totally rubbed me the wrong way. But after some time, and maybe a sale price (who remembers? hahaa)...I bought some and Loved Tron: Deadly Discs... and Dark Cavern even more!

 

I think if I had to choose an Absolute Favorite, or 2, I'd call it a tie between Midnight Magic and Dark Cavern.

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I like Thunderground and Time Pilot, but a lot of people seem to dislike each game.

 

BTW, you've listed six of my personal favs...

 

Front Line
Room of Doom
Communist Mutants from Space
Jawbreaker
Polaris
Draconian
I also have to throw in Space Rocks, because I'm such an Asteroids junkie. If you have a Starplex controller, Space Rocks brings the arcade to the 2600.
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