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Worst Atari 2600 Company ever?

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There was so, so many horrible companies for the Atari 2600. Some were only piraters (AKA Taiwan Cooper, CCE) Some made originals, but had trouble making a good original game (Sancho) Some ripped off their own games (Mythicon) , and some only made mediocre games (Apollo). But what's the absolute worst company, a company that couldn't make a single half-playable game, a company that no one can talk about without mentioning how bad they were, a company that nearly no one loved in the 80s... I'd say Froggo, but Sea Hawk, Sea Hunt, Cruise Missile and Spiderdroid are playable, at the very least. Maybe Zimag, but Tanks but No Tanks was a nice game. What's your opinion on the worst Atari 2600 (not 5200, not 7800) company of all time?

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It's hard to single out one company. Data Age released three absolutely terrible games (Sssnake, Bugs and Airlock) but redeemed themselves somewhat with a couple of mediocre games (Bermuda Triangle and Journey Escape) and one pretty good one (Frankenstein's Monster). Similarly, Apollo and U.S. Games put out some real stinkers but released some pretty good games as well. Mythicon sold $10 budget games, so it almost seems unfair to expect them to be on par with "full-price" games. Froggo, Panda and Zimag just repackaged games from other developers, so you can't fully blame them for the quality of the games, though you can blame them for trying to cash in by re-releasing games that maybe shouldn't have been released in the first place. For all the grief Mystique gets for Custer's Revenge, Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em is a solid Kaboom knockoff if you can get past the subject matter and a couple of the Playaround games are pretty good as well. Ultravision maybe? They only released two games (Condor Attack and Karate), but they're both pretty bad.

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I'm going to be edgy and say "Activision".   Sure, they dazzled us with their graphics, but so many of their early games were rip-offs of other games (Frogger, Space Invaders, Pong) , or just very simple concepts with limited replay value. (sky jinks, barnstorming)

 

Yes, their later 2600 games improved in complexity, but I have no desire to play most of their early stuff.

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7 minutes ago, zzip said:

I'm going to be edgy and say "Activision".   Sure, they dazzled us with their graphics, but so many of their early games were rip-offs of other games (Frogger, Space Invaders, Pong) , or just very simple concepts with limited replay value. (sky jinks, barnstorming)

 

Yes, their later 2600 games improved in complexity, but I have no desire to play most of their early stuff.

They were not rip off games. So your informed well activision guys worked for Atari and were sick of not being able to make the games they wanted as games were to be a single screen non multi leveled games. Those rip off games were what they had in mind and were not allowed to make while working for Atari so when they formed activision. They remade the games that were theirs to beguin with and made them better. Their early stuff probibly was less impressive because they had to start their company from scratch and had to get product out quick enough to get them enough money so they could take the time to truly devlop really good games.

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41 minutes ago, zzip said:

I'm going to be edgy and say "Activision".   Sure, they dazzled us with their graphics, but so many of their early games were rip-offs of other games (Frogger, Space Invaders, Pong) , or just very simple concepts with limited replay value. (sky jinks, barnstorming)

 

Yes, their later 2600 games improved in complexity, but I have no desire to play most of their early stuff.

There are a lot of Activision games I'm not a fan of (Barnstorming, Skiing, Dragster, Bridge, etc., etc) but they're all, purely objectively anyway, well-made games even if, subjectively, they don't appeal to me. I'd call Activision the most overrated developer, they made some great games but also a lot of mediocre at best games, but I'd save the title of worst for someone else.

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2 minutes ago, KaeruYojimbo said:

There are a lot of Activision games I'm not a fan of (Barnstorming, Skiing, Dragster, Bridge, etc., etc) but they're all, purely objectively anyway, well-made games even if, subjectively, they don't appeal to me. I'd call Activision the most overrated developer, they made some great games but also a lot of mediocre at best games, but I'd save the title of worst for someone else.

Like I said..  they dazzled us back in the day with things we've never seen before on the 2600.    Yes, they are technically competent,  but unfortunately that doesn't mean the games stand the test of time.

 

It's funny, I never even realized this until I bought my first "Activision Compilation" on the PC in the 90s,  but I found only one or two of the games to be still worth playing.

 

When I look at some of the fly-by-night companies like Games by Apollo, US Games, Xonox that were pumping out supposedly bad games-  I find some unique, if flawed, games worth revisiting.

 

So maybe it isn't fair to call Activision the worst,  but I will agree to "overrated"

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Here's some that I think made the WORST 2600 games;

21st Century Fox

Games by Apollo

US Games

Xonox

Whoever made that shitty Bobby game (Bit Corp?)

Zimag

Froggo

Telegames

Data Age

Mystique

Mythicon

Wizard Video Games

EVERY CHINESE/TAIWANESE BOOTLEGER EVER

 

How's that did I hit the Ball Park? Am I forgetting anyone else?

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I don't remember any one company making only bad games.  The smaller companies tended to make simple games that could be played without manuals thus good times ensued.  Things like the Space Shuttle were technically impressive but impossible to play.

 

Guess what I'm saying is that stinkers and stunners were a grab bag no matter what the company (for me).  It's only when I got to the NES generation that companies had a clear, bone deep instinct for making poopy titles.

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4 hours ago, ventrra said:

It interesting that no one has mentioned UltraVision who made Karate. 

It's mentioned in the second post.

I would say Ultravision as well (although Karate is somewhat of a programming achievement with it's large character graphics, I guess?).

8)

 

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9 hours ago, ZippyRedPlumber said:

Here's some that I think made the WORST 2600 games;

21st Century Fox

Games by Apollo

US Games

Xonox

Whoever made that shitty Bobby game (Bit Corp?)

Zimag

Froggo

Telegames

Data Age

Mystique

Mythicon

Wizard Video Games

EVERY CHINESE/TAIWANESE BOOTLEGER EVER

 

How's that did I hit the Ball Park? Am I forgetting anyone else?

Xonox great games: Ghost Manor, Spikes Peak, Sir Lancelot, Robin Hood, Artillery Duel

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1 hour ago, high voltage said:

Xonox great games: Ghost Manor, Spikes Peak, Sir Lancelot, Robin Hood, Artillery Duel

Yeah, but I'm mainly talking about Tomarc the Barbarian & Chuck Norris Superkicks. Not saying they were a bad company, just two bad games on their belt...

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Another vote for Mythicon, what with their triple threat of terribleness! Intended budget releases (which was pretty damn cheesy in itself) or not, 0 for 3 is just terrible. Terrible I say!

 

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20 hours ago, zzip said:

I'm going to be edgy and say "Activision".   Sure, they dazzled us with their graphics, but so many of their early games were rip-offs of other games (Frogger, Space Invaders, Pong) , or just very simple concepts with limited replay value. (sky jinks, barnstorming)

 

Yes, their later 2600 games improved in complexity, but I have no desire to play most of their early stuff.

Activision games were at or near the top of Atari 2600 companies.  The fact that they sold well because of Pitfall speaks for itself.  How you can put them at the worst on the list is beyond comprehension! 😜  I'll take Robot Tank over Battlezone, and Enduro over Pole Position any day.

 

I'll say Mystique was the worst because of their poor choice for content.  I've got no desire to play garbage games like that on the Atari 2600, which was meant for more tasteful gaming.  Enough said!

Edited by atarifan88
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Post-1984 Atari Corp was pretty bad. Rather than fighting for the future, they propped up the past, long past the freshness date of the 2600, dooming themselves to be little more than a brand custodian, while modern companies stole their customers and mindshare. Sounds a lot like modern "Atari," when I think about it. 

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how about the original lineup of games from Atari themselves?   besides the few playable titles, when is the last time you knocked the dust off of your Fun with Numbers or Surround cartridges?  what about their first version of Football, perhaps the worst looking sports game EVER....?  Human Cannonball, Sky Diver, Slot Racers, Air-Sea Battle, those were all stinkers to us back then....(of course, as kids we didn't realize the programming achievements made on a simple system only designed to make Pong clones!)

 

U.S. Games and Mythicon were by FAR the worst in the 1980's....they were usually the brands you would find in small town drug stores and five and dime stores (what you younguns call Dollar stores now!) and we knew they sucked before opening the box...but looking back now, there were a couple of playable titles from U.S. Games even though overall, their offerings sucked....back then you couldn't GIVE away copies of Space Jockey and Word Zapper....ugh!

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19 minutes ago, Flojomojo said:

Post-1984 Atari Corp was pretty bad. Rather than fighting for the future, they propped up the past, long past the freshness date of the 2600, dooming themselves to be little more than a brand custodian, while modern companies stole their customers and mindshare. Sounds a lot like modern "Atari," when I think about it. 

In-between Tramiel Atari, and modern Atari,  there was the Hasbro/early Infrogrames Atari that was publishing still relevant games, like Roller Coaster Tycoon, Sid Meier's Pirates, Test Drive Unlimited, Neverwinter Nights.   Too bad they blew it. 

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not one person mentioned the Coleco "arcade translations"......I don't think many of their carts ever spent more than 10 minutes plugged in....Everyone I knew was pissed that Donkey Kong only had two shitty levels and a gingerbread looking Kong....People bought the damn thing ANYWAY knowing in advance that it only had two levels....Venture was about the only one close to the arcade version....

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1 hour ago, atarifan88 said:

Activision games were at or near the top of Atari 2600 companies.  The fact that they sold well because of Pitfall speaks for itself.

again Pitfall was another boring, repetitive game that dazzled us with its graphics.   I think "Pitfall II" was a much more interesting game.   But that doesn't change my observation that most of the early (81-82) Activision games are dull and lack replayability. 

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