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Favorite 2600 Hidden Gems?

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I consider the "Hidden Gems" to be the most underrated games released for the 2600. And there is a plethora of them. Some of my choices for my favorite Hidden Gems for the Atari 2600.

 

Fireball

Gravitar

King Kong

Wizard of Wor

defiantly love wizard of wor but haven't tried the other games.

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I kinda like all of the Telesys games, especially Fast Food and Demolition Herby. The Telesys games feel like someone actually put a little effort into making a nice game rather than a quick cash-in like some of the other smaller third parties.

I only own Fast Food, but seeing that numerous people have recommended other Telesys games I will have to lookout for more of those. Also shout outs to being a fellow Oregonian (the bike riding character as your profile pic is nice touch being familiar with Portland).

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For me it's the Xonox double ender: Ghosthouse Manor/Spikes Peak.

Both games can be complex and may be tough to play without reading the instructions.

Those Double ender's are enticing but would be annoying to put on a shelf with other 2600 carts. :D

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I totally dig Fast Food; had it when I was a kid- a favorite then and a favorite now. I have a fun (well, interesting, maybe?) story about the game. I work at a residential treatment center with teens that deal with an assortment of mental disorders. On occasion, I will bring in some of my retro video game systems for them to enjoy... unfortunately, I had to stop bringing in Fast Food as it was triggering to a few of the kids that deal with eating disorders. "You're getting fatter" just doesn't fly with that crowd, great gameplay or no.

 

Okay, that wasn't all that fun a story- so I'll add another: when I was a kid, our parents made us hook the Atari up to the black and white television... You want a challenge? Play this game in clack and white... you think avoiding purple pickles is hard? Try avoiding ALL pickles... talk about panic mode; or the risk and relief of risking eating a pickle and it not causing you to BURP.

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Turmoil is really good. has a nice "feel". I feel like dedicated collectors know most games anyway but your average 'person who remembers the tank game' would be surprised how good most of the later Activision titles are. The 2600 Montezuma's revenge is pretty good.

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Turmoil is really good. has a nice "feel".

 

I think Turmoil should have been made into an arcade game.

 

A few games I would add to the list:

 

Star Wars Death Star Battle

Spacemaster X7

Reactor

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Now, to address your topic more directly, some of my personal "hidden gems" include:

-Star Ship

-Sea Bomber (second game on Canyon Bomber cartridge)

-Stellar Track

-Warplock

-Stargunner

-Fast Eddie

-Miner 2049er

-Fantastic Voyage

Some additions after revisiting this almost two years later:

 

-Cross Force

-Montezuma's Revenge

-Rescue Terra 1

-Guardian

-GORF

-Name This Game

-Survival Run

-Submarine Commander

-Radar Lock

 

I gave Cross Force another whirl after several years when HighVoltage recently posted a thread about Spectravideo games, and I became pleasantly addicted to Game 2. I initially wanted to pick up Montezuma's just because it wasn't in my collection yet, expecting it to be nowhere close to the Atari 5200 or Coleco versions as far as gameplay goes (see: Miner 2049er); little did I know, this game is frickin' great. Rescue Terra 1 is a pretty rare one (mine's a repro), but a very solid shooter with distinctly different stages, although each stage runs a bit on the long side. Guardian's another rare one (I happened upon mine at a game shop randomly mixed with a pile of Combats and Pac-Mans and Space Invaders), and although its a somewhat imperfect paddle shooter, it's a paddle shooter; check it out on your Harmony Cart or emulator and be sure to experiment with game variations (there are a ton; maybe reference the manual to see what's what). GORF isn't "hidden" exactly, but it feels like nobody talks about this one; maybe "overlooked" is more appropriate. Name This Game is my kind of game--fun and kind of weird at the same time; the giant octopus looks like a dead-eyed Lego alien android sea creature from hell, and the guy in the boat looks like a speed-addled maniac, but the gameplay is far above what you'd expect for what would otherwise be a very generic game. Survival Run, as someone said, is indeed underrated, even if it gets a little tedious after a while. Submarine Commander looks a little on the garish side but is a good shooting gallery game. Radar Lock is an absolutely brilliant game, hampered only by the fact that it really needs a two- or three-button controller (as it is, it uses two joysticks; one to fly and fire, the other to select weaponry); it should have been a 7800 game, frankly, but at least it's a feather for the caps of 2600 lovers.

Edited by BassGuitari

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Overlooked Gems:

 

Room of Doom: As you progress to the higher levels it gets pretty hectic

Adventures of Tron: The hit detection is a little wonky, but I keep coming back to this one over and over again.

Reactor: It's like playing bumper cars with mosquitos inside a giant bug zapper

Wizard of Wor: Great with 2 players

Blueprint: primarily a memory game combined with some shooting and maze/creature dodging...

Solar Fox: Its like playing pac-man/qbert inside a bullet hell

Stampede: So much more depth than meets the eye, lots of strategy to the bumping and clearing of lanes

Beamrider: Fantastic shooter. Looks and plays great.

Dolphin: reminds me of the laser gates and hypno orb racing levels from Battletoads, meets the Ecco the dolphin

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You want a challenge? Play this game in clack and white... you think avoiding purple pickles is hard? Try avoiding ALL pickles... talk about panic mode; or the risk and relief of risking eating a pickle and it not causing you to BURP.

 

This was a challenge for me as well, I had the old b/w tv in my room and still managed get pretty good at Pressure Cooker. It very deflating when you managed to do the hard work to put a burger together and then you lost it because you dropped in the wrong colored slot (medium grey vs light medium grey or dark medium grey). By the way, Pressure Cooker would probably qualify as hidden gem. Also much more fun in color!

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Like others have said, Pressure Cooker is SEVERELY underrated. It's actually my favorite game on the entire system, not counting homebrew games and hacks. I also think Dark Chambers is pretty underrated. It's basically just a poor man's Gauntlet, but I say that as a compliment, considering how much I love Gauntlet and the fact that it's really the only thing that comes close to it on the VCS.

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I really like Sky Skipper, weird little Nintendo game, but I played the hell out of it.

Just played Sky Skipper, and yeah, it's actually pretty fun. I can't believe I hadn't heard about this one before. Thanks for the heads up! I find it strange though that a really obscure Nintendo game that apparently wasn't that popular got a port on the 2600.

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Two for me.

 

Cosmic Creeps(Telesys) What I like about this game is that you cannot build up a large reserve of lives or anything like that which leaves you with a feeling of safety. At any time you could slip up and end the game. I also like how it looks - pretty solid looking game. The two phases of play also mix things up and I admire the way the first phase dictates how much time you have to be successful in the second. Sure - like most 2600 games - once you get in the groove you can keep playing even at the highest speed - but one mistake and it all comes crashing down. The sound is probably the weakest aspect of it, but it does the job. Liked the packaging too.

 

Solar Storm(Imagic) It's a vertical shmup - but with paddle control. A lot dismiss it since it doesn't feel fair as the enemy fire is instantaneous and you have no chance of dodging but once you realise that an enemy can only fire once it becomes an exercise in risk management - and the accuracy of paddle control means you can position yourself correctly below enemies - at least at the lower levels. It looks and sounds great too with that typical Imagic use of colour and those superb sounds. I particularly like the 2 player mode as it alternates between players after a life loss OR after a level is complete. So no-one is sitting too long waiting on their turn. Overall a very polished game.

Edited by davyK

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I have to second Dark Cavern (one of my all time favorites), Turmoil, Coconuts, and Solar Storm. All very nice games.

 

I know it's dismissed quite a bit, but Word Zapper is a lot of fun. The advanced level variation (letter combinations but not words) with difficulty levels set to A can be pretty challenging. Of course I also liked Sneak N Peak so your mileage may vary.

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