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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. 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.)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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!
  4. I dug through the big bag of erasers last night, but didn't see this one. It still looks pretty familiar though; I wonder if, during our recent lock-down, I came across it while digging through old bags of childhood stuff. (Hey, I didn't have anything else to do!) If that was the case, 1) re-finding it would almost certainly be near-impossible, because BOY did I sift through a ton of papers/toys/knick-knacks/etc. etc. etc., most which is now put away, and 2) it would almost certainly be a "wide release" generic pencil topper, because as much as I'd like to think otherwise, there's almost no way I would have had an Activision promo item like that in my youth. (Unless it was gifted to me, but still, it being a prize from the dentist's office or something is infinitely more likely.) Or maybe my mind is just playing games with itself, I dunno.
  5. This thread is absolutely amazing! That Oink! pen is just phenomenal. And as a sucker for old mugs/glassware, I can tell you that if I ever come across either of those Activision mugs at a thrift somewhere, well, you just might hear me flipping out from wherever you are. I'm curious about this Plaque Attack eraser; is there any sort of branding/name on it anywhere? I'm guessing not, considering how wonderfully thorough all of your pics are. Reason I ask is because, man, it looks really, really familiar. A few months back, I brought home a big bag of early-80s erasers from Goodwill; some real good stuff in there, but aside from a tiny, fake Game & Watch, nothing video game related - that I could tell. There were a lot of erasers that I would and did consider 'generic' though, and without any further knowledge, this tooth would have absolutely been in that grouping. I'll dig the entire bag out later tonight and go searchin'. (I doubt it's in there, probably just my mind playing tricks on me, but still...)
  6. Ah, yes, that makes sense. Very cool to see - and really interesting that they were proposing to use (very slightly modified, it seems) 2600-style joysticks. Do you know of the possibility of test units potentially being out there, or is this pretty definitively a "never happened at all" sort of thing? (I have a real fascination with the non-Pong, erm, Pong consoles, so this is definitely a "say what?!" revelation to me. Kinda-related backstory: way back in '04, there was a used game store nearby with a number of now-costlier items that were decently priced even for that time, never mind nowadays. Among them was a Coleco Telstar Combat, I can't remember for how much but it wasn't too bad. But despite having the money on me then, I inexplicably passed it up - mistake! Somehow I regret this even more than passing on the also-decently-priced TurboExpress and pricey-but-not-unreasonable 2600 Quest For Quintana Roo.)
  7. Fascinating, thanks! Do you know what magazine this appeared in? I'd sure like to keep an eye out for it!
  8. Oh, I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see these things being clearanced well into the 80s. After all, they may have technically been obsolete, but they were still "home video games" at a time when such things were hot. For lower-income families, I imagine they were at least better than nothing. (Plus, out-of-date or not, I imagine the companies would have liked to see some kind of return on their product.) The thought of a Coleco Telstar Arcade sitting alongside the 2600 and Intellivision as if it really 'belonged' is one I'm totally digging. (Especially since, if push came to shove, I may very well name the Telstar Arcade as my favorite Pong console.) Do you mean this rarity list here at Pong-Story, or is there another list I'm not seeing? That rarity guide makes for a nice starting point, but I'm not sure how complete or accurate (or up to date) it is. I don't see the DMS listed at all (though I could easily be missing it), and the Bentley is notated as a EU release; while I have no idea if there was a corresponding European version, it was most definitely a US release from everything I've seen. (Wait, is that Bentley the same as the British car manufacturer? I saw a YouTube comment that stated it was, but I just pulled down my boxed Bentley portable TV and boxed Super 8 all-in-one projector, and they both claim Bentley Industries Inc., Los Angeles. And at least according to the boxes, manufactured in Taiwan. If the companies weren't related in some way, maybe that's where the confusion is coming from in that listing?) Ah, that statement right there gets at the very heart of what this topic is all about!
  9. Interesting. I looked it up, and while it does seem like production ceased at the amazingly late date of '84, I'm getting various answers as to when the console was first released. Seems like it came out anywhere from 1978 to 1981? Granted, any of those years would qualify as a "latter era" product to me (coming from a U.S. viewpoint, anyway), but a little different from what I meant with the original question. In other news, I now have some questions about that DMS Telesports Mini I mentioned in the original post. It seems like it was first released in the late-70s by Radofin, but it also seems like the DMS version was a legitimate release/re-branding, apparently from 1983. I'm confused; if the DMS version was simply a newer re-brand, that blurs the lines a little bit. Though, I guess the specifically different company & release date would be enough to qualify. (I still acquiesce to OLD-COMPUTERS.COM on the issue; they'd know better than I do.)
  10. Terrific, thank you! According to that PC-50x page, the series ran until 1982. But you know, despite the 1978 notation, that Acetronic Tele-Sports IV console sure seems like it's going for a Sega SG-1000 look to me. If that was the case, that would it put it closer to 1983, right? (Not that I'm doubting you or that page of course; just an observation. Maybe it's a coincidence, or maybe the later SG-1000 was aping the Tele-Sports IV design. I dunno.)
  11. Very interesting, thanks! Those kits sound cool, but maybe more like specialized, hobbyist-type things than what I was thinking of. While I know such kits were available even back in the day, I was thinking more along the lines of (ostensibly) mainstream console releases; ones with unique casings/branding/etc. that were pushed on consumers by whatever company was trying to cash in. Good question about the AY-3-8500; I wonder if there was an overstock being liquidated or something, which is why there were Pong systems showing up as late as '83 - the chips could be had really cheap? I still have a hard time believing these consoles would be worth the effort, although the Bentley seems to be plentiful enough on eBay - I wouldn't be surprised if they were given away free with RVs or whatever like the ubiquitous Bentley portable black & white TVs were. (If your thrift shops are anything like mine, they're still relatively common.) Plus, I think I saw on some site somewhere while doing research that the Compu-Vision only sold for $25, though I have no idea if that's true.
  12. It's funny; I'm pretty much always a sucker for late or otherwise "transitional" media releases. The 2600 games of the late-80s/early-90s, big time movies officially being released on VHS when that format was basically dead mainstream-wise in the mid-to-late-00s, stuff like that. And yet, I don't think I ever really thought about 'late' Pong consoles - not until I read about the 1983 Bentley here on these very forums the other day, that is. I guess I always just sort of figured they vaguely "stopped" around the time of the Channel F, RCA Studio II, and of course the 2600.
  13. Not that I ever didn't like 'em, but a recent re-invigoration of Pong console fervor on my part (finding a Wonder Wizard at a thrift store will do that to you) got me searching, reading, etc. etc. etc. A mention of the Bentley Compu-Vision and that inexplicably-late release date of 1983 perked my figurative ears up; any Pongs beyond 1977/1978 and/or that 1st video game crash seems somewhat 'late' to me, but one released in 1983? When the 2600, not to mention the 2600's competitors, along with its successor - and never mind the various home computers out there - had long made dedicated Pong consoles way, waaaaay obsolete? That's kinda mind blowing to me! (And that's not even taking into account the veritable quantum leap between Pong-era coin-ops and what was out there by '83!) So, not counting newer "retro releases," just what could be considered the latest or last Pong console(s)? I'm coming from mainly a U.S. perspective here, but I'd certainly love to hear about examples from elsewhere in the world, too! A dig though OLD-COMPUTERS.COM brought up these two specimens: the aforementioned Bentley, and this DMS Telesports Mini, which also hails from 1983. I could have easily missed some others though; there's a lot to take in on that site! Are there any other Pong consoles from the same general time frame? (roughly, I don't know, 1980-1984, I guess? Or, dare I ask, beyond?!)
  14. Just remembered that Kung-Fu Master, Ikari Warriors and Commando all have background music during gameplay.
  15. Ghostbusters comes to mind. It's the classic GB theme, 2600-ized and looped endlessly during gameplay! Double Dragon does have music during actual gameplay. Every level features a 2600 rendition of a coin-op tune. Not always where it should be, granted, but there is indeed a soundtrack continuously throughout the game. In fact, I can't think of a point in the game where there isn't music! https://youtu.be/TDQ-iK31JLQ
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