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King Atari

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About King Atari

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    Northeast Ohio
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    Video Games, Music, TV & Movies, Vintage Advertising (Broadcast & Print)

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  1. Not meaning to leapfrog over atarian1 here, but in my experience that's exactly where Atari ads of the late-80s were commonly found; granted, video game spots in that era generally weren't seen during network prime time anyway, but those midday/early evening hours really seemed to be where Atari was often focused. As far as the 2600/7800/XEGS consoles go, it seems to me that the last 'big' (relatively speaking) television push Corp. gave them was in late-1987; for example, ads for all three aired fairly heavily during local evening M*A*S*H reruns here that Christmas season. Atari & M*A*S*H? Now you're speaking my language! (The 2600 was "The Fun is Back!", the 7800 was "More Games at Half the Price!" and the XEGS was the anti-Nintendo "toy robot?!" spot - nothing too out of the ordinary or unique where this subject is concerned.) I don't remember what it aired during, but there was also a Toys-R-Us ad spotlighting the 2600 & 7800; I *think* it was that very same Christmas season, but it could have been 1986. As far as late-80s Atari goes though, I'm not sure they were ever more visible than they were in 1987, especially during Christmas (for obvious reasons). Needless to say, ads for Nintendo were more plentiful (also for obvious reasons), and of course they seemed, to me anyway, to show up during the 'big' kids shows of the time more than Atari did. The Sega Master System, while not up to NES levels, was also seemingly more visible than Atari was. I'm not saying 2600/7800/XEGS spots didn't commonly air during those too, or that they didn't air during more "prime" kids hours, but generally speaking...? The Atari sports and 7800 "Choice of the Experts" commercials were from 1988, weren't they? Even so, to me their post-1987, pre-Lynx/Jaguar television advertising seems like it was almost non-existent. To get back to the question in the original post, in 1989 and 1990 I can't think of any Atari TV advertising - except for the Lynx, in 1990. (Atari did have that 7800 "Pick a Fight After School" print campaign during the era, which should have also been seen on television, but as far as I know never was.) Regarding the Lynx, there was that spot (the inexplicably violent one) featuring Gauntlet and Electrocop around '90, and Batman Returns in 1992, but Atari television advertising didn't seem to gather anything resembling steam until the Jag and the numerous spots for it. (My favorite? The one for Troy Aikman NFL Football in 1995, not because I care all that much about the game - I don't really - but rather because the Jaguar version was seen alongside the Genesis and SNES versions at the very end, something I can't recall happening very often.)
  2. For me, it was all about it being "the original." Certainly they're more 'solid' and apparently the picture is better, but personally, it was less about playing the thing (I've got other 2600s, including light sixers, as well as 7800s for that) and more about the relative rarity and importance of it. Not that they're impossible to find, but at least in person, the only one I've ever come across is the one in my collection (luckily, it also came with the original 1977 joysticks and power supply, so evidently the lot was all from an original owner and not pieced together by the thrift I found it at). But really, you look at the Heavy Sixer, and you're seeing the 1977 beginnings of what would become an absolute phenomenon. It's just plain cool. I might argue that, from a cosmetic standpoint, the more-streamlined 2600s that were the norm during the biggest period of popularity - so probably the four switch woodgrains and then Vaders - were more iconic simply because that's when most people were buying 'em and that's what was available when Atari was most on top of the video game world, but there's no doubt that having all six switches right up front is very, very nice. Ideally a light sixer would be used for any daily driving - that's what I'd prefer to use if I didn't do all of my 2600 playing on a 7800 - but there's something incredibly special about 'the first.'
  3. Aside from general "shoulda bought [new, sealed, now-valuable game/console/toy] cheap on clearance when I had the chance" feelings (we've all been there), a few specific incidents come to mind right now... - Here's the biggie. 2004: There was a used game store fairly close to me that had been there for awhile, but that I inexplicably only went to once, and even more inexplicably, didn't buy anything from. And this was a GOOD used game store, with REALLY GOOD prices. Lotsa stuff, plenty of 2600 games. The items that stick out most to me are 1) a Coleco Combat dedicated console. 2) A TurboExpress handheld. And 3) a copy of Quest For Quintana Roo for the 2600. I no longer remember the prices, except Roo was, I think, $60 or $80; not exactly cheap, but a decent price for what it was going for at the time. (Still is?) I believe I posted about it on here, and was told I could have gotten more for it than the asking price - I guess I could search through my post history, but seeing/cringing at my writing from all those years ago is not something I'm prepared to do at the moment. Roo was one thing, but looking back, the Combat console and TurboExpress are the ones I wish I'd have had more interest in. Like I said, I don't remember the prices, but the pricing in the place was, as I recall it, entirely reasonable, for the time then and even more so now. I probably couldn't have afforded all three things in that one visit, but certainly at least one of 'em, maybe even two. 18-year-old, part-time job me should have had more foresight! The Combat is the one I'd really love to have in my collection nowadays (though there's no guarantee I wouldn't have wound up selling it later, in those years before the current "aw, just keep everything!" mindset I have today), though the TurboExpress was the one that, from a value standpoint, I should have waltzed on out of there with. That store is now long gone, but before it disappeared, it went from video games to board/card games - convenient in not having to change the name of the place, but of little help to me since the latter ain't my scene, man. - Another tale, same general era (probably about a year later), this time at a thrift store: the place had a pretty decent selection of retro games, especially NES. They had a Tengen Tetris, I didn't buy it, it was gone next time I went in. Another time (same time?), they had a box full of, uh, boxes; that is, empty Atari game boxes, with a 7800 Kung-Fu Master box the standout. I didn't buy it or any others, they were also gone next time I went in. On a related note, a dude I used to work with claimed he got the 2600 Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre games there. I kept pretty regular tabs on this thrift and I absolutely knew even back then to buy those without hesitation if the opportunity presented itself, so my hope is that he was just full of it. Sometimes life balances things out though: I later found a Tengen Tetris at a dedicated music/video game store for $5 - evidently they saw no difference between it and the regular Nintendo edition, but I did, and happily took the opportunity to rectify my earlier mistake. Also, at that above-mentioned thrift store, I wound up finding a complete boxed copy of 7800 Basketbrawl for a few bucks. And honestly, my amount of scores/chances took far outweigh my misses - though that just makes the missed opportunities all the more glaring to me, IMO. - Actually, at that dedicated music/video game store I just mentioned, they once had NES Wayne's World for $5. I didn't buy it, and naturally wound up with the nagging feeling that I should have. Needless to say, another missed opportunity was eventually revealed. I later had to pay substantially more money for a used copy online, though in another case of life occasionally balancing things out, what I paid would be considered an absolutely terrific price compared to what the game goes for now. - Want to know an odd regret that's been popping into my mind lately, despite not being THAT big of a deal? If you have Save-A-Lot grocery stores near you, you may recall that in the early-00s, in addition to the normal cheapie budget DVDs (a 'genre' I have serious love for anyway), they could also get some new old stock stuff in that they'd then sell for like a buck apiece; some cool NOS PC games popped up there, and in the waning days of VHS, I cleaned up. But what continues to stick out to me is my passing up of a carded Toy Biz Marvel figure from the early-90s that somehow wound up there. The card was pretty wasted, and to tell you the truth, I don't even remember for sure what figure it was; I'm not particularly a Marvel Comics fan (except for Spidey, I was always more of a DC guy), but it was such an odd, random, not to mention CHEAP, occurrence that I really should have just gotten it. It wasn't even with other dedicated toys; it was on their clearance (expired?) food racks. And what's more, I think this was more mid-00s, or maybe even late-00s, after that NOS clearance boom at the start of the decade, which just made the whole event all the more random. Nowadays, I'd like to think I've learned from past mistakes; I generally try not to leave anything to chance. If it looks interesting, and it's affordable enough, just go for it and sort the rest out later. Better safe than sorry! Although, I do still have occasional lapses in judgement. Case in point: I collect vintage local promotional memorabilia. Mugs, glasses, keychains, businesses, restaurants, that sort of thing. Hey, I find it interesting, it's relatively plentiful, and it's usually cheap! While my main focus is on items local to me, I do indeed take an interest in things from other states too, though almost always in a "well, if it happens to cross my path while out and about..." kinda way. Anyway, several months ago, or maybe even about a year ago now, there was a little paperweight from the Chicago Leather Co. in a showcase at Goodwill. It was just a little glass thing, with some kind of leather blotter (?) with the company ID stamped on it. There was definitively some age to it, but despite that and it being in the showcase, it couldn't have been priced very high. I stupidly walked out without it, or without even asking to see it up close. And, well, of course it was gone next time I stopped in (and I hit this particular Goodwill really frequently, too). I'm honestly surprised someone besides me cared about it, truth be told. A neat little piece of promo memorabilia like that isn't likely to cross my path again, so while it may not sound like a big deal (and it really isn't, all things considered), there's still some regret there on my part. Oh boy, I've got some stories there, but they honestly hurt waaaaaaaaay more than the tales of the things I passed up. There's things I got rid of years ago that I try not to think too much about, because, OUCH. (One of the easier-to-take examples: the 7800 Basketbrawl I mentioned above. I wound up selling it for like $30 a few years after, and while that was a decent price at the time, the rarity, and more importantly, my love of the 7800, has grown exponentially since. Regret!) Another quick example: my boxed, childhood copy of Punch-Out!!, the Mr. Dream re-release. It was one I had my eye on at KB Toys for awhile, eventually I bought it, and then somewhere in the early-00's I traded it (along with another now-forgotten but less-important NES game) for the unlicensed Chiller. It wasn't so much the trading of the game itself that came to bother me, but the nostalgia associated with it. Still, in yet another case of life helping balance things out, this was ultimately the catalyst for my later buying a sealed NOS copy of Mr. Dream's Punch-Out!! on eBay for, IIRC, $29.99. Yes there was a time when non-top tier sealed NES games could be had affordably. If it wasn't Mario, Zelda, or even more related to the subject here, Mike Tyson, prices could generally be pretty reasonable. This has since changed considerably, which made the purchase a wise investment on my part. (And Chiller goes for some decent bucks nowadays, too.) I'm not sure that makes up for the loss of nostalgia I associated with that childhood copy, but it's something anyway.
  4. TMNT II was the first one I had, I'm pretty sure I got it for my birthday one year - might have been kindergarten. I loved it at the time, but like you, I can pretty much figure it would just annoy the life out of me now. Plus, and I'm going strictly from memory here, the game play was probably the least interesting of the trilogy. As for the other two, I recall my brother getting TMNT at the same time as I got TMNT 3. I was familiar with the first one already (I remember some kid bringing his to school and letting me play), and I did like it, both because it was "the original" and because it was, I imagine, an approximation of the infamous dam stage in the NES game in my eyes. (A feeling that, I guess, was only bolstered by the identical artwork.) I was, and still am, incredibly fond of that first NES game (not everyone loves it, but I do), so that initial Konami entry found a natural place in my heart. (Eventually my brother traded, or maybe even just gave, it to me, and it remains in my collection to this day.) Oddly enough, I think TMNT 3 was my least favorite back in the day, or rather, perhaps more accurately, what I considered the least important. It had neither that "original" thing going for it nor the nostalgia birthday fondness of TMNT II. This, of course, has changed considerably in the years since. Indeed, I'd rank it among my very favorite LCD handhelds nowadays! (I'm a sucker for beat-'em-ups, and frankly, I'm not sure one was ever presented better in LCD handheld form.) While on the subject (and connecting nicely back to the original topic at hand), Tiger later released their own TMNT LCD handheld: Dimension X Assault. It talked, too! That one always seemed like something unique, or maybe even a little like novelty, to me, mainly because Konami was behind the TMNT handhelds prior. My brother had Dimension X Assault, and fun fact, I used the big giant statewide lock down a year ago to rummage through boxes, bags and bins of old childhood stuff languishing in my basement (hey, no time like the present!), during which that very game was eventually unearthed. (Unlike that first Konami TMNT handheld though, I wasn't able to wangle Dimension from him; it was duly returned to him eventually. No sour grapes on my part, but I'd sure like to find one for myself at a thrift somewhere...)
  5. This is absolutely terrific; posts like this are exactly why I love these forums! A piece of video game history rescued and given the spotlight it deserves - and with plenty of helpful info for the rest of us, to boot! Thanks for sharing!
  6. Oh man, Mega Man PC. Way back in the day, there was a PC store in the mall that my dad and I would go to. I still remember it was our stop for Space Quest V upon release; good times! Anyway, one fateful visit yielded Mega Man PC. I was familiar with the franchise via Game Players Magazine (remember that?), but I had never actually played one, so home with us it went. Finally, a chance to partake in the same gamin' as the NES kids! And well, uh, yeah; even back then as an easily-pleased child, I was cognizant of the fact that it just wasn't any good. I never made it particularly far in the game, but it wasn't for lack of trying or the unrefined skills of a youngster - the game play was just naturally pathetic. And yet, weirdly, nowadays I don't hate it...but that's based ENTIRELY on nostalgia and that trip to the mall's PC store so long ago. The game itself? Bad bad bad! Anyway, fun topic, though I'm really wracking my brain trying to come up with a fitting contribution. (Regarding the story above, I like the MM series fine, or at least the NES entries, but I wouldn't consider any of them to be among my genuinely *favorite* games; it's just that I had a tale to tell!) BTW, I'm totally fascinated by that handheld version of Joust. I mean, how? WHY?
  7. I certainly had Tiger handhelds as a kid, along with Konami, MGA, and even [a single example only] Remco. Thanks to the power of secondhand, Coleco and Entex also entered my life back then. Konami had the TMNT factor going for them, and they put out a (in my recollection) surprisingly decent LCD facsimile of a side-scrolling beat-'em-up in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Boy did I play that one! Tiger always seemed like the 'biggie' though. Not only were they ubiquitous and cheap, but they had licenses for seemingly everything. If it was popular, there was a good possibility there was a Tiger iteration already on shelves or coming soon. I mostly stuck to the actual handhelds, but I did (and still) have a much-loved Batman wristwatch - it's probably long dead internally, but back then, the very idea of stuff like that just felt immensely unique and cool to a kid. Even if in reality it was, uh, still a Tiger; looking back, they really weren't very good. For the most part, anyway. And yet, they still managed to attain a special vibe about them to me - even after I got a Game Boy. Maybe those marquee (bezel?) graphics and all-in-one aspects subconsciously recalled dedicated coin-ops? That's what the TV commercials at one point touted these things as, after all! Pocket-sized arcade games! (Yeah, right.) Of course, the fact they were cheaper than Game Boy or console games and I was a grade schooler with even less money than I have now (which is really saying something) probably helped, too. Well, helped my parents. Still, the fact remains that in the period before I had a Sega Genesis myself, Tiger's Sonic 2 handheld was as hotly desired on my part as any "real" game. I played that thing like crazy, too. During our big huge lock down several months back (something I fear we're in store for again soon), I took the opportunity to dig through boxes, bags and bins of childhood stuff. Lotsa great rediscoveries during those digs, and it was during them that several old Tigers were unearthed. One of them, Street Fighter II, was something I picked up way later at a rummage sale (I gave it a spin, but couldn't decide if the controls were only partially working or if it just played terribly in general). The others though were childhood acquisitions, including the aforementioned Sonic 2 along with Ninja Gaiden II. Gaiden's screen got smashed beyond (?) repair at some point, which is just heartbreaking, though Sonic 2 still functions correctly. (Or at least as well as it ever did.) I also unearthed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dimension X Assault (which always felt extra unique because it was a Tiger release - as opposed to the previous Konami TMNT LCDs) and Batman Returns - both of which were actually my brother's. I tried to finagle them from him via text message, but no dice. Nowadays, I collect [vintage] handhelds of pretty much any ilk from pretty much any manufacturer. There's still something particularly exciting about coming across the Tigers though. Mostly due to nostalgia, no doubt. For example, I recently came upon their LCD rendition of Anastasia at a thrift store, and despite having zero interest in Anastasia before or since, it was still absolutely going home with me upon first glance. And you can be sure that if I stumble across the Bo Jackson, MC Hammer or Full House Tigers somewhere, well, you just may hear me flipping out from wherever you happen to be. (Side note: as a TGIF kid, I kinda find it stunning that Tiger immortalized Full House as a handheld, but Urkel never received similar honors - that dude was so ever-present at one point, a Tiger handheld dedicated to him almost seems like a forgone conclusion!)
  8. Got this one new back in the day, albeit kinda late; not sure if Zoda's Revenge had been released yet or not, but it was in the same general era. Anyway, I absolutely loved it. I never did complete the game though, though I did make decent headway IIRC. It's really one I should revisit in earnest, especially since I'm currently in an action RPG mood. You know, with the recent talk on the forums here of potential further Game & Watch/NES handhelds from Nintendo, one spotlighting this (and preferably including Zoda's Revenge as well, IMO) would absolutely be a "must buy" for me. It's kind of a sleeper game, relatively speaking (it never even occurred to me when replying to that thread, despite going way back with it), but absolutely deserving of a spiffy new release like that. StarTropics certainly had (and has) a following, but obviously never attained the all-encompassing mainstream popularity other NES biggies enjoyed and continue to enjoy. A new, out-of-left-field release like that would, I'd hope, go a long way in rectifying that.
  9. Pong consoles from 1992 & 1993?! Absolutely incredible!
  10. I noticed some errors as well. Like I said, the list makes for a nice starting point, but its accuracy is suspect.
  11. Oooh, I like this topic! And truth be told, it's an idea that's been floating around my head since even before this new Nintendo G&W SMB thing was announced - that Data East/My Arcade handheld with the NES ports of Bad Dudes, Heavy Barrel, Burgertime etc. was what got my mind rolling when it was gifted to me this past spring. And now that Nintendo has jumped on the dedicated retro handheld train, the options have opened up even more. (Regarding the SMB G&W, both my player and my collector sides are in conflict, so much so that I really want two of 'em; one to play, one to keep minty sealed fresh. That's at least $100 out of the gate though - and that's not even taking into account any potential problems in obtaining them; please don't let this be an NES Classic situation - so I'm hoping to drop some Christmas present gift ideas at opportune moments.) As far as Nintendo goes, The Legend of Zelda is a pretty obvious one, as would be Metroid I'd think, but the release after SMB I really want? I would love love LOVE to see a dedicated Super Mario Bros. 3 handheld. I can already picture it, looking not unlike that Mario the Juggler Game & Watch cosmetically. The ability to save would be nice, but they could release SMB3 as-is, no extras of any kind, and I would be absolutely satisfied. (Honestly, as things stand, my guess is these three games are more likely than not to get a G&W treatment of some sort anyway.) Punch-Out!! (the version sans Mike Tyson, I would imagine) and the Donkey Kong trilogy (yes, even that third one) would get my attention in G&W form, as well. Not sure about Little Mac, but just like Zelda and SMB3, I think we're more likely than not to see something with DK anyway. Oh, and Kirby; I'm not a big Kirby fan, but I can see a G&W there, too. Also, a handheld dedicated to the earlier, simpler (read: black box) NES games; it would probably have to be a compilation of some sort to justify the $50 price tag, but something focusing on the relatively non-major properties, like Wrecking Crew, Pro Wrestling and so on, would be pretty cool IMO. Though really, I'm easily pleased; gimme Kung Fu - and maybe the Japan-only Kung Fu 2 as a bonus - and I'd be totally happy. (Though from a realistic standpoint, Kung Fu would almost certainly have to be included in a compilation; I highly doubt it's 'big' enough, popularity-wise and/or gameplay-wise, to carry a handheld all by itself. Still, I'm such a sucker for that game, on pretty much any platform, that it's fun for me to dream about.) Now, since other companies have been doing this sort of thing before Nintendo, with NES ports of their respective games no less, I'd like to think that Nintendo's jumping on board has the possibility to really open the floodgates. Especially since some of this stuff has appeared on dedicated retro consoles and handhelds already. I'm a Double Dragon fanatic; whoever owns that property nowadays, if they wanted to release a handheld with the NES trilogy, maybe even Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team too if they could swing it rights-wise, that would be the very definition of "must have" to me. Throwing Renegade on there as well would just be the icing. And if original coin-op versions could be included (or just the coin-op versions; I'd be totally fine with that), well, that's the kind of announcement with the potential to totally make me flip out. [BTW, just to stave off the inevitable "hey man..." reply, yes, I know Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team wasn't a coin-op.] Oh, and Konami could basically give themselves free $$$ here. Their NES Castlevania and Contra trilogies alone, never mind all of the standalone stuff like Jackal and Rush'n Attack and Monster in my Pocket that could make for a phenomenal handheld comp, those would be no-brainer purchases. Heck, just an NES Castlevania handheld would be a lot of easy money in their pockets! Speaking of Konami, if they could work out any licensing issues (and considering they released that mini coin-op, they certainly can), a handheld dedicated to the NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, complete with molded green shell-like casing, that has the very real possibility of being #1 on my personal want list. Certainly it would be tough to please everybody; that first NES TMNT is divisive (though personally, it's actually my favorite TMNT game), the second game would be FAR better served with the coin-op version, and if they included Turtles in Time for the sake of completion, do they use the arcade version or the (IMO, better) SNES port? And what about Tournament Fighters? Maybe just throw it all on? Or stick with NES and NES only? I guess it wouldn't matter too much to me personally; if it's classic TMNT from that era, I'd want it. (Although, a handheld with just the original arcade game, and maybe Turtles in Time, not unlike that aforementioned mini coin-op, is something I absolutely could, and happily would, live with - and bonus points if they used the artwork from the original machine on the front of it. Those images are positively burnt into my memory, such was the impact of that game on me - and countless others no doubt - back in the day.) Fun topic!
  12. I've got one an M1000. No Imagination Machine or additional carts, but it did come with the original box & styrofoam, so there's that. I got it on eBay back in, I'm pretty sure, the summer of 2012. I forget how much it was, around $60, I think? I had only learned of the the console shortly beforehand, and IIRC this one was untested (no RF switch box, probably), but due to the obscurity I decided to take a chance. It was dirty, but it powered up fine. Funny thing was, I had been thinking about bidding on the auction for several days before pulling the trigger, and then almost immediately having buyer's remorse once I won it. I mean, was this really something I needed? It was more neat and obscure than it was something I'd seriously play. Looking back though, I'm glad I took the chance - especially if the prices have gone up as much as it sounds like they have? Plus, I'm a sucker for 70s consoles in general. I would like to get some actual carts for it at some point (the built-in Rocket Patrol is pretty bad, even by late-70s standards), particularly Boxing, Bowling, Baseball and Sea Monster, but I'm in no rush. (Especially since those have always seemed to be a bit too pricey for my liking - when they show up at all.) A bit over 7 years ago now, I actually wrote about it for my blog. It's an earlier effort so I feel from a writing-standpoint the article is only serviceable at best, and I really should have bothered cleaning the console up before take pictures of (and included a look at the original box, as well), but, well, here's the link anyway: APF M1000 Review
  13. Both the 2600 and 7800 Commando reviews there are ridiculous. The 2600 one makes similar points (even going so far as to inexplicably compare the game to Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II), with this being my 'favorite' bit: "Graphically speaking, this game is far from the ugliest game I’ve ever played on this system. There are plenty of games with worse graphics on this system. While the characters and scenery in this game are pretty easy to make out, this game was also released when the NES system is dominating the gaming scene. Games like Contra and Mega Man easily tops the graphics that are offered up in this game. So, while the graphics are decent for the system in question, it falls well short of expectations for its time." So Commando 2600 looks good but actually doesn't because it's not Contra or Mega Man on the NES? That makes absolutely no sense. No kidding games on a console considerably more powerful look better. The only way that becomes an even remotely valid comparison is if he's talking about the NES port of Commando. (Or, I guess, if 2600 Commando had been specifically marketed as a killer of those games - which I highly doubt.)
  14. M*A*S*H is really based more on the TV series than the movie; the manual makes specific mention of characters who were created for the show and had no presence in the film (or book before that). Not sure if that would 'disqualify' it for you or not. How about King Kong? Or perhaps The Earth Dies Screaming? (Surprisingly not a terrible movie, if you're into old sci-fi. There's really no relation between the movie and the game though, beyond the title.)
  15. I personally love the late-80s/early-90s titles. I tend to be intrigued by 'late' releases on any console, but my fondness for the 2600, coupled with the very fact that a 1977 system was still seeing new product even as the 16-bit era had dawned, well, I'm just endlessly fascinated by the whole thing. Sure, some of the games are probably more interesting in a demake, "hey, this shouldn't exist!" kinda way, but others are impressive, fun, genuinely good games; not only welcome additions to the 2600 library as a whole but they also, perhaps surprisingly, do a good job of at least scratching the surface of then-current gameplay styles. (That's to say, River Raid II technically fits better in the late-80s gaming scene than River Raid does, even if, I feel, it can't begin to touch the original in the fun department.) A few thoughts: - Xenophobe is a top 10 favorite of mine for the 2600. Not only do I just find it a lot of fun, but the lower-grade visuals and sound actually, to me, make it feel like a more desolate and desperate situation than the bright, comical look of the coin-op and other home ports. It's too bad the simultaneous two-player gameplay had to be chopped (despite what the back of the box implies, it's two-players alternating only), but that only adds to the isolated feel of the proceedings. - Not that there are a ton of them anyway, but Ikari Warriors gets my vote for best top-down run n' gun on the console, and that's coming from someone who easily prefers Commando between the two in pretty much any other circumstance. Just a real fun arcade conversion that's better than it has any right to be, IMO. (2600 Ikari Warriors may very well find it's way into my personal top 10 on the console, as well.) Oh, and regarding those two aforementioned titles, thanks to the Venezuela find, what were once pretty rare games in the NTSC format are now easily obtainable new & sealed! - I like that Atari took the time to put out some new, improved sports games. Okay, sure, Super Baseball is just a modified Realsports Baseball (neither are very good, but luckily Absolute's Pete Rose Baseball, while certainly not perfect, at least better attempted to get with the times), but Super Football was an unbelievably advanced then-new product for the console. That vantage point, those scaling players/goalposts/etc.; just incredible! I consider it easily the best football game on the 2600, and one that's infinitely superior to the embarrassment that was Touchdown Football on the 7800, as well. (I also like the black background, which to me suggests a night game on a cold fall/winter night - evocative!) And then there's Double Dunk, which, unless you count the variations in Video Olympics, is only the second basketball game to grace the 2600 - some 11 years after the first! (Unless I'm forgetting another one? The unreleased Realsports Basketball doesn't count IMO, so...?) While I don't think it tops the 1978 Basketball in the pure fun department (there's something to be said for that straight-ahead, one-on-one simplicity), Double Dunk certainly isn't bad, but what's more impressive to me is that it manages to attain something of an actual attitude; those funky beats, the break dancing characters, the blacktop setting, the between-game lingo ("Jammin'!"), the gritty 'streetball' vibe of the whole thing, it all manages to capture a feel of the late-80s/early-90s in a way that you simply wouldn't expect of a 2600 game. Also, props to Realsports Boxing. I would guess that most people prefer Activision's earlier Boxing, and while I can definitely understand that, I do think Atari's entry is plenty worthwhile. Okay, yeah, RSB is pretty button-mashy, I know. But nevertheless, I think it's fast and furious and fun, and that roaring crowd in the darkened arena evokes the aura of the sport in a way that Activision's game, to me, just doesn't - even if the Activision game is technically better from a pure gameplay standpoint. (Also, it's interesting that RSB was the only new title in the Realsports line to carry over from Atari Inc. to Atari Corp. I wonder why they decided to have one more entry in the line instead of just giving it a new, more eye-catching name not unlike their other updated sports games?) - Speaking of Activision, the post-crash Activision tends to get a lot more flack than the pre-crash Activision. It's no secret as to why, but the shift in direction to mostly coin-op ports (divisive ones at that!) provides for, I feel, some really fascinating stuff. Kung-Fu Master is a lot of fun, and while the one-button limitation takes some getting used to, I don't know why the game seems to get lumped in with the other two, more notorious ports, which I'll get to momentarily. To me, KFM on the 2600 compares surprisingly well to the NES version! Rampage: now truth be told, I don't much care for any version of Rampage; it's alright for a few levels, but it gets repetitive fast, and the admittedly-mega-cool concept isn't enough to carry the game the whole way (IMO). Still, if there's a version of it I'd consider my favorite, it would be the 2600 port - mainly because of the whole demake feeling I mentioned at the start of this post. Rampage shouldn't exist on the 2600 - but it does! Like 2600 Kung-Fu Master, I'm a little confused by comments tearing into it, stating it's one of the worst on the console, etc. etc. etc. Sure, it's pretty ugly, but like KFM, it plays okay, considering you've only got a single button to work with. Unless I'm just totally forgetting something, all the major aspects of the coin-op are represented. It's just that the flaws inherent to the original game are, erm, present in the 2600 version, too. Annnnnnnd then there's Double Dragon for the 2600. Talk about a divisive game! Some folks (understandably) despise it, while others can see the positives in what was, to say the least, an ill-advised decision to port the game to the 2600. I'm in the latter group; I don't think anyone, myself included, would say it's a flawless game or a definitive port. BUT, I don't think it's the total train wreck it's often claimed to be, either. Graphically and musically it's very good, even terrific, for the 2600. It attempted to port all four missions from the arcade over (they're lacking the interactivity and personality of the coin-op, but hey, at least they're there). And it even managed, with a bit of a cheat, to get the simultaneous two-player action in - which actually puts it one up on the NES version! For those reasons alone, I think 2600 DD is automatically disqualified from the usual "one of the absolute worst on the console" lists it sometimes finds itself on; it's hardly on the same plane as ugly, unplayable tripe like Karate. (And yes, I know someone will shout "but it IS unplayable!" I don't think so, though there's definitely a learning curve - and a little spamming of moves and enemy AI - involved in progressing. There have been discussions dedicated to all that before however, so I'll refrain from a full dissertation on the subject. I will say though that had they simply lowered the difficulty and not attempted to map so many moves to a single button & joystick combo, I think current popular viewpoints on the game would be a LOT different nowadays.) In the interest of full-disclosure, I'm a Double Dragon fanatic. I tend to snap up as many entries in the franchise as I can, so I can be a bit softer on the 2600 version. Like Rampage, it's got the whole demake, "they actually MADE this?!" thing going for it - only taken to the nth degree. Nobody should have expected a hot beat-'em-up that was tearing up the arcades and other home consoles to make any sort of appearance on the severely under powered 2600 - but it did and that alone makes the game utterly fascinating. Your mileage may vary, but frankly, I think that fascination transcends the actual gameplay of the cart itself. Love it or hate it, Double Dragon on the 2600 is undeniably a curio! And finally, there's Ghostbusters II. I was a Ghostbusters kid, so anything from that era is going to strike a chord with me. A game (one from the incredibly late date of 1992, no less!) that was never released in the U.S., based on one of the cinematic cornerstones of my youth? Want! NEED! It may be sorta ugly and somewhat lacking in the gameplay department (at least as far as the first stage goes; stage two, if you can get to it, looks and, IIRC, plays quite a bit better), but I didn't and don't care; I *love* the very fact that there's a Ghostbusters II on the 2600. I'm not sure what the value of it is nowadays, but it doesn't matter; I consider my boxed copy one of the hallmarks of my 2600 collection. (While we're at it, with it hailing from 1985, I'm not sure if you can consider Activision's first Ghostbusters on the 2600 in the same category as these other late games - though '85 certainly was a particularly 'lost' year in the 2600's lifespan - but boy am I sucker for it. I love that original Activision game on pretty much any platform, but the fact that, like so many other games in this discussion, they managed to fit such an 'involved' title into a 2600 cart, well, I think it's impressive. I don't even mind - too much - that it requires you to make in-game use of switches on the console itself, which is usually an "aw c'mon!" thing with me.) So anyway, just a few thoughts of mine; YMMV, of course. Fun topic, at any rate!
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