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Favorite/Top 2600 Arcade Ports

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It may help to have a comprehensive list of arcade titles.. there's older threads with lists e.g. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/23336-arcade-titles-on-atari-2600/?do=findComment&comment=256430 however that list from 2003 has since grown with the various homebrews since then (e.g. Ladybug, Crazy Balloon, Star Fire, etc.). Maybe someone more able than me can come up with a good current list. :P

 

Wow... I didn't think I did that so long ago. I'll look at updating it.

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Gyruss, Berzerk, Venture, Dig Dug, Centipede, and Stargate are some of the better arcade conversions IMHO. Pole Position is pretty decent also.

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Our list of good titles is getting pretty long. Maybe it'd be easier to come up with a list of arcade titles that suck. :P

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One that hasn't been mentioned, that's a great 2600 arcade game, is Mario Bros..

 

Ugh. Ever played the arcade version? So many gameplay mechanics missing that just ruins the 2600 game. Plus that annoying "scrubbrush on a washboard" running sound.

 

Crystal Castles is also extremely different from the arcade but a great fun game nonetheless. Trackball control is poor; in fact I find personally the best control is with the standard joystick, even including/among the other home versions that resemble the arcade game more closely.

Edited by RJ

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It may help to have a comprehensive list of arcade titles.. there's older threads with lists e.g. http://atariage.com/...00/#entry256430 however that list from 2003 has since grown with the various homebrews since then (e.g. Ladybug, Crazy Balloon, Star Fire, etc.). Maybe someone more able than me can come up with a good current list. :P

 

There's a nice one at AtariTimes from 2007. It has screen grabs of the both the arcade and 2600 versions. The list is in 3 parts:

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Either people just don't like the games as much, or people are forgetting that the most of Atari's early titles (1977-1980) were ports or adaptations of arcade games:

 

Combat = Tank/Tank II, Biplanes, Jet Fighter

Air-Sea Battle = Anti-Aircraft, Sea Wolf (sort of)

Star Ship = Starship 1

Canyon Bomber = Canyon Bomber

Video Olympics = Pong, Pong Doubles, Rebound, etc.

Night Driver = Night Driver

Outlaw = Gunfight

Basketball = Atari Basketball (I think the arcade game was actually a port of the VCS game, interestingly)

Indy 500 = Indy 800, Indy 4

Breakout = Breakout

Space War = Space War/Space Wars

Circus Atari = Circus

 

And so on.

 

That said, my favorite 2600 arcade ports at the moment are Space Invaders, Star Ship, Night Driver, Defender, Breakout, Berzerk, Front Line, Galaxian, Ms. Pac-Man, Solar Fox, Star Wars: The Arcade Game, Rampage, and Defender II.

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I'll throw in my votes even though I think all the good stuff has been covered already.

 

1982-1984, Atari's "silver label era," was definitely the high point for arcade ports for the console, not just from Atari but from all companies. Pretty much any of Atari's arcade ports from this era are worth getting, though I believe the highlights are Ms. Pac-Man, Millipede, Stargate, Crystal Castles and Moon Patrol. Parker Brothers also set a high watermark with their flagship arcade ports of Frogger, Q*Bert and Popeye. CBS gave us good ports of Wizard of Wor and Solar Fox along with a decent port of Gorf.

 

Before 1982, Missile Command and Space Invaders are definitely among the best arcade ports of the "black label era." Berzerk and Asteroids are good too.

 

After 1984, a.k.a the "red label era," Jr. Pac-Man earns top marks. Atari's and Activision's other arcade ports from this era certainly get points for trying. Ikari Warriors, Crossbow, Rampage, Double Dragon, Xenophobe, and Kung Fu Master, among others, are impressive just for making it to the Atari at all, but sadly these versions mostly serve to prove other consoles are more capable.

 

In the past few years, hacks and homebrews have done an excellent job adding to the 2600's arcade list. AtariAge member Nukey Shay has given us a better Ms. Pac-Man, several better Pac-Men and arguably a better Missile Command. Member PacManPlus gave us a much better Defender before he started concentrating on 7800 games. Lady Bug is one of the highlights of the AtariAge store. And most recently, Spiceware has shown just what the new Harmony cartridge is capalbe of with his take on both Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe, known as Space Rocks.

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Ugh. Ever played the arcade version? So many gameplay mechanics missing that just ruins the 2600 game. Plus that annoying "scrubbrush on a washboard" running sound.

 

Yeah sure have played the original. My introduction to the the game may have been the 2600 version though. I know it's not nearly as good, but I still find it a pretty fun game, and think it was a good "demake" of the superior arcade/NES version. I tend to focus more on what was there with that port, than what was missing (plus a bit of nostalgia thrown in). I actually booted it up today, and had fun for 10 mins or so hah.

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I will go off on my usual limb to say that for all it's flaws and missing enemies, 2600 Q-Bert was a good port for the SINGLE and sole reason that you could actually practice on it and it would improve your skills on the REAL arcade machine (once you mentally adjusted). And there's not many VCS ports that can claim that! (despite the Pacman manual saying you could :lol:).

 

I swear to god I got better at the arcade Q-Bert by playing the VCS version a ton.. if only for getting better at the color changes, what to expect etc. I'd play it at home and when I made it to the arcade on the weekend or something, I'd kill on the arcade version too.

 

"Our PAC-MAN has all of the excitement and challenge of the standard arcade game, and you get to play in the comfort and convenience of your own home. This is especially advantageous if you still plan to make an occasional appearance at the arcade to show off your great playing skills. (Little do they know that you've been practicing at home all along.)"
Edited by NE146

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I am enjoying the suggestions that everyone has been coming up with ;-)

 

Either people just don't like the games as much, or people are forgetting that the most of Atari's early titles (1977-1980) were ports or adaptations of arcade games:

 

Combat = Tank/Tank II, Biplanes, Jet Fighter

Air-Sea Battle = Anti-Aircraft, Sea Wolf (sort of)

Star Ship = Starship 1

Canyon Bomber = Canyon Bomber

Video Olympics = Pong, Pong Doubles, Rebound, etc.

Night Driver = Night Driver

Outlaw = Gunfight

Basketball = Atari Basketball (I think the arcade game was actually a port of the VCS game, interestingly)

Indy 500 = Indy 800, Indy 4

Breakout = Breakout

Space War = Space War/Space Wars

Circus Atari = Circus

 

And so on.

 

That said, my favorite 2600 arcade ports at the moment are Space Invaders, Star Ship, Night Driver, Defender, Breakout, Berzerk, Front Line, Galaxian, Ms. Pac-Man, Solar Fox, Star Wars: The Arcade Game, Rampage, and Defender II.

 

Thank you for bringing this up, I knew that there must have been an old Atari coin-op of Starship, although for some odd reason I thought it had been computer space for a second :D

 

I absolutely enjoy anything that had been from early Atari around 1974-77- their games had been quite innovative for their time and very much enjoyable- hope to get the original flap-box version of starship someday ;-)

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I absolutely enjoy anything that had been from early Atari around 1974-77- their games had been quite innovative for their time and very much enjoyable- hope to get the original flap-box version of starship someday ;-)

 

We are kindred spirits, you and I. :-D

 

The '70s is my favorite era of games overall. Not because I necessarily think they're the *best* games per se, but I think they're the most interesting. Put in their context, they're pretty remarkable. Coming from years of Pong, even the '77-'78 VCS titles are mindblowing. It was like a new universe was suddenly opened up, and it all started in the arcades.

 

Star Ship is a game I "discovered" about 10 years ago, not long after I first really started collecting for the 2600. I'd never heard of it and didn't know anything about it when I found a copy for $2 in a game store. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I fell in love with the sound effects almost instantly, and I found the blocky graphics charming. Moreover, it was fun to play (esp. 2-player!), and considering the date of its release, it was innovative. It's the textbook retro game. People thought I was nuts when I was extolling Star Ship's virtues a decade ago. People used to hate this game; it would always show up on "Worst 2600 game of all time" lists circa 2004-05. Now there seem to be more people that enjoy it (or at least hate it less), although that could just be because the scene's gotten much bigger since then. I don't have a gatefold box for this, but I do have a "standard" boxed version, which was pretty hard to get at the time.

 

(One thing that's really cool to do with Star Ship is to play it with all the lights off with "On The Run" from Dark Side Of The Moon playing on a loop. :-D )

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We are kindred spirits, you and I. :-D

 

The '70s is my favorite era of games overall. Not because I necessarily think they're the *best* games per se, but I think they're the most interesting. Put in their context, they're pretty remarkable. Coming from years of Pong, even the '77-'78 VCS titles are mindblowing. It was like a new universe was suddenly opened up, and it all started in the arcades.

 

Glad to see that there are others who enjoy the early/mid-late seventies of games :)

 

 

 

I don't have a gatefold box for this, but I do have a "standard" boxed version, which was pretty hard to get at the time.

 

I've noticed that Starship (loose cartridge) doesn't appear very often at my local game store, neither is there a large supply on ebay

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The following games are in order for what I think are the best arcade games. There are lots of great ones and I tried not to include homebrews:

 

Frogger Official Version

Ms Pacman

Stargate

Missile Command

Warlords

Frogger

Space Invaders

Battlezone

Dig Dug

Galaxian

Joust

Indy 500

Spy Hunter

Jr Pacman

Pole Position

Phoenix

Millipede

Pong

Centipede

Berzerk

Jungle Hunt

Super Breakout

Q-Bert

Tapper

Moon Patrol

Pengo

Gravitar

Klax

Sprintmaster

Mario Bros

Crystal Castles

Popeye

Wizard of Wor

Donkey Kong

Vanguard

Mouse Trap

Mr Do

Star Wars Arcade

Gyrus

Time Pilot

Lock n Chase

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Thank you for all the suggestions, I really appreciate it :)

 

Super Cobra seems impressive, its only that there isn't much action? Enemies don't appear to fire at the helicopter or fly towards it- regardless, the terrain has me wondering how great Stargate would have been had the implemented a more 'rugged'/random terrain like the arcade- not that its' a poor game by any means

 

and as for crystal castles, it seems to be a game enjoyed by some but not others- honestly I think that with a trackball (regardless of whether there is true trackball support) crystal castles may be an enjoyable game to play on an afternoon

 

Oh and thanks for the great post BSA Starfire, I now have a clearer approach of which games to get

Super Cobra had shooting cannons and flying missiles from second level onwards, great game. I love the graphic style.

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No love for Carnival?

 

Space Invaders is a must have and better than the arcade. Asteroids is also great, but different from the arcade version.

 

Berzerk, Vanguard, Solar Fox, Venture, Ms. Pacman, Defender II, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, Phoenix, Warlords, Wizard of Wor, Bump n' Jump, Frogger, Mr. Do are all fun games as well.

 

I have to disagree on Defender, Double Dragon, Kung-Fu Master, and Rampage. Avoid!

 

For homebrews, Juno First, Space Rocks, and Ladybug are simply amazing. These are must owns.

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