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Metal Jesus

Atari 2600 Buying Guide & Best Games [New]

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I realize I'm putting this here with some of the most knowledgable Atari 2600 fans on the planet, but this guide was designed for the new Atari 2600 owner! Learn about the hardware variations, how to connect to your TV, controller types and also some rockin’ game recommendations for day 1.

 

 

Games Shown:

Joust
Pitfall II
Millipede
River Raid
Warlords
Berzerk
Pac-Man Jr
HERO
Space Rocks
Atlantis
What other Atari 2600 games would you recommend to the brand new collector?
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Keep spreading that 2600 love!

 

Always my friend! Too many young gamers today think it's not worth collecting for...but I am out there fighting the good fight!

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Great job MJ! I love the titles you showcased and think it is important to show how amazing the homebrews scene is.

Keep spreading the word on the 2600! No boot times... no DRM... no networking... no bull$hit! :)

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One button

 

One kill

 

 

 

I'd recommend the Homebrew: Juno First

 

Phenomenal game!

Edited by BadHornet

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What other Atari 2600 games would you recommend to the brand new collector?

 

 

Decathlon

Track & Field

Beamrider

Road Runner

Polaris

Stargate

Tutankham

Fathom

Kung Fu Master

Smurf

Wizard of Wor

Dig Dug

Mr. Do!

Enduro

Keystone Kapers

Missile Command

Pole Position

Crystal Castles

Moon Patrol

Ghostbusters

Phoenix

 

post-19659-0-66920400-1441383405_thumb.jpg

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I think you did a great job with the guide, and the game recommendations! With a system like the 2600 it can be hard to choose which games to recommend to a new player, because sometimes the best games on the system aren't necessarily the games that defined the system and made everyone want to run out and buy one when it was current gen hardware. Space Invaders was the "killer app" of it's day when the 2600 came out, and while it might not be the best or most creative game ever released on the system, it was certainly the title that made everyone who could afford a 2600 go out and buy a one.

 

That said, here's my 10 game recommendations for a new Atari 2600 owner:

 

Ms. Pac-Man

Centipede

Space Invaders

Asteroids

Missile Command

Frogger

Pole Position

Super Breakout

River Raid

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns

 

 

I would have loved to put H.E.R.O. somewhere on that list, because I think it is definitely one of the best games on the system and a game that every Atari 2600 owner should have in their library. But, I decided to leave it out because I don't think there are many people who would be willing to run out and drop $30 or $40 on a game for an older and graphically primitive system that they don't know how much they'll like yet; especially when they can get most games on the system for $3 to $5. I think it's one of those games that is best purchased once you know that you really like the 2600 and want to start collecting for it, and as soon as that day comes then by all means rush out and make H.E.R.O. the first game you buy. :)

Edited by Jin
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What other Atari 2600 games would you recommend to the brand new collector?

 

 

Forgot to add:

 

Beamrider

Bump N Jump

California Games

Fast Eddie

Frogger / Frogger II / The Official Frogger (Starpath)

Juno First

Medieval Mayhem

Mario Bros

Pressure Cooker

Seaquest

Solar Fox

Summer Games

Track & Field

Turmoil

Winter Games

 

Perhaps you could make a follow up with more game titles and an "Activision Edition" as you mentioned in the video.

You might want to mention the Harmony cart as someone could just pick up a 2600 and then DL Roms to see which they like before purchasing them as a collector.

 

Kick ass Metal Jesus! \m/\m/

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I guess it depends on what the "new 2600 owner" is looking for.

 

If he's looking just to play games, It's hard to go against a 2600 and a Harmony Cart.

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I would say that the most fun I have had with my Atari 2600 is playing games with/against someone else. With that in mind, I would at least have the list of "best games" divided into best single player/multiplayer lists. Not only are these games fun, they have very different gameplay. (Assuming "best" means more fun, I didn't consider cost. As others point out, a Harmony cart is best if you just want to play games.)

 

1) Warlords: the best multiplayer game on the system. The most fun with 4 players you can have on the system, but not bad as a 2 player game either. A couple game variations (catch/deflect, fast/slow, doubles)

 

2) Combat: One of the first and best 2-player games on the system. Hundreds of game variations (pong/straight/curve shots, planes, barriers/clouds or none). Nothing is more satisfying than shooting an opponent forward while moving forward during their death-spin animation to set up the next shot, and nothing is more disheartening than shooting them through a wall so you cannot shoot them again.

 

3) Quick Step: gold trampolines and trying to make your color trampolines be the last color to exit the screen. Frantic action as you risked getting lower on the screen while avoiding a player with a freeze powerup.

 

4) Boxing: the computer AI is too easy to pin against the ropes. A human on the other hand is a balancing act of getting a clean combo in and dodging jabs.

 

5) Indy 500: best two player racing game on the system (too bad it requires even more hardware). Multiple tracks and grab the square.

 

6) Maze Craze: another 4-player laughfest. I prefer the slow/dazed mode to single touch elimination. Nothing is funnier than a cop squishing you and your opponent and when he returns you slowly duck into a side street.

 

7) Space War: Arguably the first video game (PDP-11), this game still holds up today.

 

8) Steeplechase: another 4-player paddle gem. You just control the height of your jump and when you jump, but mindless fun.

 

9) Slot Racers/Maze: multiple fun play modes (speed of cars/shots and also curve/straight shots. Difficulty A is the best where you have to retrieve your missed shot. It's very fun on slow car mode trying to outrun an opponents shot to a corner (and hoping you saw whether he shot forward or curved). Or blasting your opponent in circles, only to have him swing around behind to blast you.

 

10) Air-Sea Battle: a launch title with multiple variations. Two player turret shooter that is as fun when it came out as today.

 

 

 

Single Player

Enduro: arguably best 3rd person racer.

Ms Pacman: one of the best arcade to vcs conversion maze games.

Missile Command: would be better with a trackball like the arcade, but heart-pumping fun until the world blows up.

Space Invaders/Demon Attack: the killer app was a pack in a couple years after the system launched. It has tens of variations, including a dual 2-player simulations mode./the best looking and sounding turret game.

River Raid: endless rivers. A constant balancing act between keeping your fuel level high and going too fast to dodge enemies.

Yars Revenge: a unique title that wasn't ported to another system until 1999 (GBC).

Millipede/Centipede: fast paced turret game.

Kaboom/Circus Atari: frantic paddle game.

Adventure: never owned this game, but played the Atari 800 equivalent.

Seaquest: single screen shooter. Keep the enemy sharks/subs off the screen and manage your air supply.

Keystone Kapers: arguably one of the best platformers. Not as iconic as Pitfall!, but more fun.

Solar Fox: a different take on the dot collecting games.

Mountain King: great music that captures the pressure of racing to the top of the mountain.

Star Wars:Empire Strikes Back: one of the first games of this genre. Endless AT-AT walkers attack echo base, with just your landspeeder to stop them.

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Super Cobra, I loved Scramble, so this was as close it could get on VCS. Love it, and 3 difficult settings. I managed to finish the game on 'Fast' setting and collect the booty. Love the graphic style.

Mario Bros., 2 player version, play together, not against each other, it gives you hours of entertainment and you can roll over the score.

Edited by high voltage

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I would have loved to put H.E.R.O. somewhere on that list, because I think it is definitely one of the best games on the system and a game that every Atari 2600 owner should have in their library. But, I decided to leave it out because I don't think there are many people who would be willing to run out and drop $30 or $40 on a game for an older and graphically primitive system that they don't know how much they'll like yet; especially when they can get most games on the system for $3 to $5. I think it's one of those games that is best purchased once you know that you really like the 2600 and want to start collecting for it, and as soon as that day comes then by all means rush out and make H.E.R.O. the first game you buy. :)

 

I really hesitate in my videos to take price into consideration because 1) my audience is world wide and prices vary 2) playing games via a virtual console or Activision compilation is an option and 3) I found a loose H.E.R.O. for $2 at a local retro game store...because nobody ever looks at 2600 carts!

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Time to put your money where your mouth is, Sir. H.E.R.O. is the game of the week in AA's 2600 High Score Club:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242412-the-new-hsc-week-34-hero

 

I guess after what you said in the video (which I liked a lot, btw), you are obliged to post a score.

 

Thanks for the heads up! I will try to play through the game today and post my score.

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Thanks for the heads up! I will try to play through the game today and post my score.

 

Remember we are playing Game 5 (random levels).

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This is a great video -- thanks, Metal Jesus! Your vids were INCREDIBLY helpful when I was diving into the 2600, and this is just one more to add to the list. You guys really did a nice basic-but-wide overview of the Heavy/Light/4-Switch/Vader/Junior spectrum, talk about how to hook it up, the controllers, and some classic games. I feel like Berzerk, Warlords, and (to a lesser extent) Joust often get overlooked on lists like these and are therefore may be a bit under-appreciated, so it's nice to see them get some love! Great selection of games to feature-- a nice mix of stuff, and mostly bypassing the (admittedly great) usual "classic" suspects. Thanks for sharing, guys!

 

Oh, and for a new collector, I might also suggest Kaboom or Circus Atari because paddle games are awesome and those are two other great ones, Keystone Kapers and Megamania are a blast (gee, Activision fanboy much, Mikey?), and The Empire Strikes Back would fill out the "Defender-style" game, only because Stargate is really tough. Chopper Command would work there too. I love Mario Bros and Seaquest and Fast Food, but they're not essential 'til after you have other stuff, though they're great games and worth picking up if you know to keep an eye out for them.

 

And good lord, new VCS/2600 players -- get that Pac-Man 8K ROM. I know it's not on a physical cart. So forget all that other stuff I wrote above -- my suggestion for a new collector is get a Harmony Cart and download Pac-Man 8K. You don't even have to put anything else on the Harmony. Make it a weird Pac-Man 8K-only cart if you have to. Then go out and buy whatever else you want. Like Double Dragon.

 

(I'm just joking. Don't buy Double Dragon.)

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