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mikey.shake

What's your favorite "kind" of game?

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So I got a 2600 (well, a few, but that’s another story), and immediately started scooping up games within my meager budget this month. The past couple of weeks has been spent rounding up a few dozen carts wherever I can find them cheap, with a few key items ordered online.

After about 25 years away from the Atari world, I'm finding that the Activision games I’ve picked up have two things going for them. Firstly, they're ones that have the most personal nostalgic value as well as some of the most satisfying-to-adult-me gameplay. Kaboom, Megamania, and Pitfall (among others) were all some of my favorites when I was a kid, but also some of the ones I’m most enjoying replaying as an adult. Keystone Kapers and Enduro are better than I remembered (now that I’m a more capable gamer) and getting a ton of time in the deck. And I’m finding a ton of gems that I’d never played back in the day, like Starmaster, Seaquest, and Private Eye (which I think is amazing).
I like the way there seems to be an in-house aesthetic consistency and tone even among the variety of Activision designers and titles. They weren’t all winners, but the best games share a “feel”, even between disparate titles like River Raid and Megamania (although to be fair, those are both shooters). I enjoy that kind of consistency, similar to the way Nintendo’s core world in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s had a personality of its own that transferred from title to title. And I think Activision’s “personality” appeals to me almost as much as any particular game they released. It was colorful and kinetic, but still largely friendly and inviting. It just makes the Activision games I have a real blast to play.
But it also seems like the mere handful of "silver label"-era carts I have are getting almost as much playtime as the short stack of Activision carts. I realize that label color doesn’t have THAT much to do with quality among the wide number of developers, but it seems like once Activision and Imagic hit the ground running, it lit a fire under Atari to come up with better and better arcade ports like Ms. Pac Man, Dig Dug, Galaxian, Jungle Hunt, Joust, Stargate, Pole Position, and my beloved Mario Bros. now that technology was evolving. Yeah, sure, I chose to buy ones I like, so this isn’t an objective study of every silver label game. But I think it’s just because the technology had advanced by the time they started using silver labels, leading to a greater opportunity for games that matched “advanced” graphics with straightforward gameplay. Were those “as good” as the arcade versions? Probably not. But it’s been so long for me, I’m only just remembering how we used to trade off technical quality for immediate “free” accessibility to these games I.e., not having to pump three bucks in quarters into a machine to play Joust for an afternoon. And knowing more and more about the actual technology of the equipment as an adult, it’s impressive how much gameplay they’re wringing from their limitations.
The few Imagic games I own/have played all have a lot of charm, but I find myself reaching for something else before too long (unless I’m playing Cosmic Ark). I still have lots of fun playing the classic “early-era” VCS games like Missile Command, Space Invaders, Berzerk, and so on. Especially Berzerk. And it is a bit unfair to compare that handful to games that came out 5 years later -- a big five years in the development of games. But some people love Defender and Asteroids more than anything else. For me, it’s that colorful blast of that 1981-1983*, pre-crash era. The period has its own distinct feel -- brighter and much more advanced than the "Breakout Generation" in both look and gameplay, but yet not quite as technologically capable as the earliest NES titles. It’s kind of a sweet spot between the two for my taste. They still feel like nothing but 2600 games. As broad-stroke classifications, “Activision” and “Silver Label” both have the games that are getting the most play time in our house.
So, I know I’m talking about nebulously-defined stuff, but do you have a favorite “kind” of 2600 game? For example, my wife likes “mid-period puzzle games" like Frogger and Q*Bert the most. How about you? “Imagic shooters”? “Early quests” like Adventure and Haunted House? Parker Bros. games? How do you define what you like? What about that kind of game appeals to you?
[*I would have expanded this to 1984, but I don't have Pitfall II or H.E.R.O. yet, so I can't officially say so. ;) ]
Edited by mikey.shake
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Activision games are probably my favorite on the 2600. I do enjoy the early Atari titles though too; like combat, air sea battle, adventure, etc. There's a lot of good early Atari titles but some are hit and miss.

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For whatever reason I'm a big fan of arcade translations on the 2600. I usually find them fun to play, and I enjoy comparing the graphics and gameplay to the arcade version. Its fun to see what sacrifices and changes the programmer had to make in order to cram the game into what was usually 4k or 8k. I love a lot of the silver label Atari games (many of those actually made by GCC I believe).

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I would say single screen shooters. Some of my favorites are Phoenix, Galaxian, Centipede, Millipede, Megamania, Spider Fighter, Beamrider, Astroblast, Gorf and of course, Space Invaders.

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Any "travelling-through-space"-type games like Starmaster or Star Fire, but especially the ones where you visit different planets, like Cosmic Ark, Moonsweeper, and Solaris.

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I mostly like games that are different every time you play.

 

So I guess you'd say, you like games with "Random Terrain"? ;)

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While I generally suck at most games I like to play shooters. I have a short attention span for games, so I'm always happy when a "game" only lasts a few minutes.

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I would say single screen shooters. Some of my favorites are Phoenix, Galaxian, Centipede, Millipede, Megamania, Spider Fighter, Beamrider, Astroblast, Gorf and of course, Space Invaders.

 

Plus Demon Attack, River Raid, and Starmaster.

My favorite shooters are on the 2600 - classic and simple games.

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I have genre sub directories for easily playing/finding games of the same kind:

 

Breakout, Video Olympics and Fireball are some of the games in my Pong directory.

Pacman folder includes jawbreaker and alien.

Qbert folder has Rabbit Transit and Boing!

Zazzon folder includes Beamrider and Buck Rogers.

Defender folder has Killer Satellites and Choplifter.

Space Invaders folder includes games like Spider Fighter and Communist Mutants from space.

And I have a wildcard folder for amazing games that fit no genre, like Kool-Aid man.

 

I add new homebrews to these genre categories as well, there's so many games it can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

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I like timed games such as skiing, grand prix. sky jinks, and barnstorming. Although I hate dragster. I can't break 6.10 on that game.

But my favorite game is Kaboom! so I also like eggomania and games like that.

Edited by Atarian7
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For me it's the big name arcade ports that see the most play in my VCS. Centipede, Millipede, Missile Command, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaxian, Super Breakout, Frogger, Venture, Pole Position, Crystal Castles, GORF, Defender, Donkey Kong, etc. It may be a little generalized to just say "Arcade Games", but I think that's probably the best way to categorize my favorite Atari 2600 titles.

Edited by Jin
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The kind that work. A lot of my games (I'm looking at you, Activision) glitch out or just produce a blank screen. Oh well, sometimes they are more fun that way. Sometimes.

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Guys, longtime lurker and 1st time poster. Thank you all for keeping the spirit of Atari live. 30 years + in the military and my 2600 (4 Switch Wood Grain) traveled with me everywhere around the world and country. I broke it out about 2 years ago (with about a 28 year lapse) after we did some re flooring in the house and have been playing ever since. I finally won Halo 2600 the other day...about the same time my son got his X Box 1 - MC Collection. I was hollering throughout the house (my reflexes aren't as good as they were 34 years ago) and told my kid, TOP THAT! Lol...

 

However, I always loved the Adventure/Haunted House type of games. Again, thanks guys for all that you do.

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Guys, longtime lurker and 1st time poster. Thank you all for keeping the spirit of Atari live. 30 years + in the military and my 2600 (4 Switch Wood Grain) traveled with me everywhere around the world and country. I broke it out about 2 years ago (with about a 28 year lapse) after we did some re flooring in the house and have been playing ever since. I finally won Halo 2600 the other day...about the same time my son got his X Box 1 - MC Collection. I was hollering throughout the house (my reflexes aren't as good as they were 34 years ago) and told my kid, TOP THAT! Lol...

 

However, I always loved the Adventure/Haunted House type of games. Again, thanks guys for all that you do.

Most of all. Thank You for your service. I respect and admire anyone that serves in the military and protects our freedom. And also welcome aboard!! :-)

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Most of all. Thank You for your service. I respect and admire anyone that serves in the military and protects our freedom. And also welcome aboard!! :-)

Seconded... thank you for your service! So glad to read about people finding some joy from these crazy old games. It's funny how many people are here for the same kind of reason, whatever brought us here. Here's to finding whatever happiness you can wherever you can. Here's to Atari and vintage video games and whatever else bringing some fun into people's lives, even after all this time.

 

If you don't mind my asking -- what is it about the Adventure / Haunted House type games that appeals to you? I've always envied the people who love games like that because I want to get the same enjoyment, but they haven't hooked me yet and I'm not sure why. What might I be missing that could help me fall in love with those "quest"-type games?

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I love the weird and wonderful games:

Sneak n peek

Spike's Peak

Raft Rider

X Man

Master Builder

Amidar

Lost Luggage

Pooyan

Blueprint

Frostbite

Kangaroo

and many many more

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I have to say on my Atari 2600 I prefer the maze games such as Ms. Pac Man then shooters such as Space Invaders.

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Seconded... thank you for your service! So glad to read about people finding some joy from these crazy old games. It's funny how many people are here for the same kind of reason, whatever brought us here. Here's to finding whatever happiness you can wherever you can. Here's to Atari and vintage video games and whatever else bringing some fun into people's lives, even after all this time.

 

If you don't mind my asking -- what is it about the Adventure / Haunted House type games that appeals to you? I've always envied the people who love games like that because I want to get the same enjoyment, but they haven't hooked me yet and I'm not sure why. What might I be missing that could help me fall in love with those "quest"-type games?

 

 

 

It was my pleasure and it was very rewarding with a nation supporting.

 

For me, it was the "next step", "next conquest", "what's coming up on the next screen?" and just the rush and urgency of trying to stay alive as long as possible. I enjoyed the randomness of those game and obviously imagination played a large part of that too. Trying to imagine being a Knight (a white square) and slaying dragons, running around a kingdom and ultimately saving it - that was a big deal in 1980. Although primitive by today's standards, it was quite advanced. Also uncovering clues and mysteries as well played a part. For example, finding that dot (Easter Egg) in Adventure. I had no idea what that was - I thought it would make me invisible...NOT! Fortunately I was one of the millions of subscribers to AtariAge Mag and in the 1st Run, it had a letter in it that solved that mystery.

 

http://www.atariage....1&CurrentPage=9

 

It was about the time I got my Apple II GS in 1987 along with some "Kings Quest Series" games, is when I hung up the 2600. However, I do understand the gamers that didn't get those types of games...most of my friends though it was insane...lol But I do enjoy the shooters and chasers as well.

Edited by Zoltar

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