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ChuckTeed

New Atari 400 User

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Finally got my Atari 400(s) up and running after purchasing a big computer lot last year. Really enjoying the cartridge games so far (hoping to enjoy the cassette games once I replace the belts). Any cart based games you'd recommend? I have quite a few standard arcade ports, but am hoping to eventually expand the collection.

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Do you know the memory of your 400? The stock machine had 16K which limits your options. What constitutes a good game is subjective, but some of my favorite 16K cartridge games:

Battlezone
Boulderdash
Centipede
Defender
Deluxe Invaders
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Jr.
Frogger
Gyruss
Joust
Miner 2049'er
Missile Command
Orc Attack
Pac-Man
Pitfall
Pole Position
Rally Speedway
River Raid
Robotron 2084
Spy Hunter
Star Raiders
Submarine Commander
Super Cobra
Up n' Down
Zaxxon
Zone Ranger

 

If you have 48K then you can explore some of the XE era cartridge games:

 

Airball

Ballblazer

Blue Max

Choplifter

David's Midnight Magic

Into the Eagle's Nest

Rescue on Fractalus

 

From memory all of the above will run with 48K.

 

I would suggest you consider getting an SIO2SD or similar device, or a programmable cartridge that you can download images to.

 

Have fun.

 

Graham

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Here's what I've played so far:

 

Donkey Kong - fiendishly difficult!
Joust - really decent port. Can't get past the first pterry stage, though.
Pac-Man - again, great port!

Blue Max - heard rumours that it's a tough game, but I didn't have a hard time figuring it out.

Pengo - didn't spend a lot of time with it, but I didn't mind it. Need to figure out the controls a bit better.

Atlantis - very enjoyable. Spent more time with this than any other game.

Beam Rider - my friends really like this one, but it didn't do much for me.

Submarine Commander - basically put it in long enough to test it. Not a big fan of this style of game, usually.

Final Orbit - again, a game my friends enjoy but didn't do much for me.

 

Still have to try Missile Command, but if it's anything like the 2600 version, I'll enjoy it.

 

Thanks for the recommendations thus far!

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Here's what I've played so far:

 

...

Joust - really decent port. Can't get past the first pterry stage, though.

Pac-Man - again, great port!

….

 

Still have to try Missile Command, but if it's anything like the 2600 version, I'll enjoy it.

 

 

Joust was one of the best ports of the day, though the later 7800 version is more accurate in terms of difficulty. The key to getting past the Pterry Waves, honestly, is just keep avoiding the bastard. :) My technique is to let it fly by and then sort of follow it as it flies, about half a game-screen behind it, picking off the enemy riders as I go. My high on the A8 port is about 170K, though it's only about 114K on the 7800 version.

 

And Pac-Man was one of the first three games I got when I bought my 400 as a teenager. It was, again, among the best of its day, though there are modern versions that add intermissions, improve the accuracy of the monsters to match the arcade version, etc. But it's still one of my best nostalgia fixes to plug it in and play.

 

As for Missile Command, it was the second of the first three games I got. If you can, track down a CX-22 Trak-Ball (the earlier brown version), preferably one with the sliding switch that alternates between Trak-Ball and Joystick mode. Put it in Trak-Ball mode, fire up Missile Command and press CTRL-T on the keyboard before you play. The screen will blink once. Congrats! You're now in Trak-Ball mode and the game will play just like the arcade! :)

 

Fun Fact: Missile Command by Atari and Slime! by Synapse Software are the *only* vintage titles for either the 2600, 7800 or A8 platforms that actually works with a Trak-Ball the way you'd expect! The other games like Centipede and Millipede, for instance, just use a joystick. Even when you plug in a Trak-Ball, the input has to be set to Joystick mode for the game to respond. Fortunately, there are a number of modern hacks and rewrites to make some classic games Trak-Ball compatible. There's a conversion from the 5200 version of Centipede, for example, that is great with a Trak-Ball, and a whole bunch of 2600 games that have been rewritten to use one - Centipede, Millipede, Reactor, and a few others. 7800 Centipede has also been rewritten to use a Trak-Ball and you can have Al make a cart for you from the AA Store (which I need to do some day soon!)

Edited by DrVenkman
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