Jump to content

Arcade classics on Atari 2600 helping to get the world through self-isolation

Recommended Posts

I am ashamed to say that my Atari collected dust for over 20 years and I didn’t think I would go back to it. That was until I discovered this scene and got hold of the best games that I never had as a kid and the amazing new homebrew releases. We are currently self isolating with the rest of the world and are really enjoying competing for hi-scores as a family in the same room like it was 1982. I would never dreamed the Atari would become the premier arcade machine in my household. I will list the arcade games we are enjoying but my question is, what next? Which well-loved favourites have not been ported that would be good choices for the Atari 2600?? My first choice would have been Zookeeper but Champs Games are doing an amazing job with that and it is providing endless fun. I can’t put a measure on how thankful we have been able to enjoy the following:



Pacman 8k - superb and can’t wait for it to release 

Donkey Kong VCS - looks great and plays really well, like having the cabinet in your own home, the opening is up there for best animation

Space Invaders - enough said

Aardvark - love this game and a great surprise I was only vaguely aware of the original, perfectly suited to the Atari

Galaga - an outstanding achievement that just sparks so many nostalgic, happy memories, play this with a sense of disbelief that it is real and actually happening

Zookeeper - I would like to know if the original cabinet even made it to Australia as I never saw. Discovered it on a PS2 compilation and it became my favourite arcade game of all time. Then Champ Games brought it to Atari and it is just ‘Wow!!!’ Plays just as well as the one on PS2 - love it!!

Mappy. - Another game where I never played the original. First experienced it on the Wii and thought it was okay. Fell in love with the Atari 2600 port as I improved my skills. It is incredibly satisfying when you take out a whole heap of cats with a laser beam as they follow you all in a line (similar feeling to the boulders in Dig Dug). I don’t think I ‘got’ Mappy but I do now and I learnt to appreciate it with the Atari version.

Draconian - Great arcade port with impressive graphics. It is like being the Millenium Falcon up against the Death Star trying to hit the weak point.

Frogger Official - best original arcade port along with Stargate but wish it was available on cartridge 

Space Rocks (Asteroids) - Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe all in one. Everything about this one is quality and the 2 player options are a lot of fun.

Medieval Mayhem - a raucous good time, particularly while in isolation, I rate this up with Bomberman, Towerfall and Windjammers as one of the all time classic multiplayers

Video Olympics - choose 2 or 4 player soccer or ice hockey and you can’t go wrong, anyone giving this an average review didn’t play these options

Chaotic Grill (Burgertime) - what an improvement over the original and similar levels of satisfaction to Dig Dug

Super Cobra - blows away the original as well and a great arcade experience 

Wizard of Wor - awesome multiplayer experience and the Jaws / Alien soundtrack that gets faster scared my 5 year old so he stopped playing. That is atmosphere for you!!

Scramble - another top arcade shooter that very closes matches the source material. Great challenge!!

Juno First - Great graphics and a very accurate port of a fun game. Love how much control you have

Thrust - really well made and satisfying because of the challenge, controls superbly 

Ladybug - top port that is well suited to the Atari and plays like a dream

Stargate - one of the best of the original ports

Galaxian Arcade Homebrew - the colours pop and it is just a great port and a fun game

Missile Command - has aged well and still great fun

Dig Dug - is it possible to have textured soil and rounded boulders?? Otherwise this is just as fun as it ever was. Will still be fun in a hundred years 

Centipede - Despite the square mushrooms, I still love this game

Millipede - an even more intense version

Phoenix - variety and a boss, timeless classic

Demon Attack - love that snapping graphic effect and this challenging

Joust - great multiplayer fun

Ms Pacman - great at the time and still fun but blown away by Pacman 8k, maybe it can get the same treatment

Jr Pacman - great but so hard, I struggle to beat the first level. The ghosts are like heat seeking missiles

Hack Em (Pacman) - love the speed and rhythm of this

Squish Em - a pleasant surprise and a fun game

Star Castle - solid port that is really challenging

Sea Wolf - good version of the arcade

Bump n Jump - love this original port and had a go at the original arcade for the first time a few weeks ago. It just confirmed how good this is.

Berzerk - old classic that is still a lot of fun

Solar Fox - thank you to those who recommend this on here (Atari Leaf was one of a number I think) I agree, simple to look at but a top game

Battle Zone - a fantastic interpretation of the original, love dodging 

Pengo - quite easy but really satisfying, like gold dust to get on cartridge, anyone have PAL version of this??

Kungfu Master - very impressive port

Moon Patrol - fun game but the PAL colours don’t look as good as NTSC

Tapper - a good port but not one of my fave arcade games

LEM Lander - like this one as it really rewards skill

Reactor - mixed reviews for this one but I like it

Starfire - play Star Wars on Atari!!

Pole Position - a great time but can obstacles be added and better cars?? Still a lot of fun to play 

Jungle Hunt - a decent port

Mr Do - I love Dig Dug so I like this too. Shape of the screen doesn’t work as well for this (maybe the size needs shrinking)

Mario Bros - still fun with 2 players 


I am thankful to be able to play such fantastic games on my Atari 2600, particularly while in isolation in 2020, a year that will always be remembered for the terrible coronavirus. Anyway, my question is, what is missing?? Who has an arcade favourite that hasn’t been ported that you think would be great on the Atari 2600?? I have heard Champ Games have Gorf in the pipeline which we all know will be great as they have set the bar so high.


What else would people like to see?? Be hoping for?? I am lucky as Zookeeper would have been mine but that is now here.


Stay safe everyone and look after each other.

  • Like 8

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

So spot on!  Nice overview of the games. I never would have thought after all these years so many TALENTED people would still be working on new projects / homebrews / hacks for the Atari 2600.  It is truly a testament to the design and versatility of the hardware and its ability to capture our imagination.  

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am only commenting on the ROMs for those two games but they are both essential purchases. Two demos have been released for Zookeeper and it is already superb, who knows how good it will be when officially released?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey there. I love Space Rocks and L. E. M.  I've wanted an Atari since, well, for ages. And this week I bought a junior off ebay. It's in the post, with Asteroids. I've also ordered a Flashback 9 so I can play L. E. M. And Space Rocks with an Atari joystick. In hd. Getting back into Atari 2600 has put me back in touch with the origins of gaming... High scores!!!! I think I'm gonna make a high score board with graphics for each game. Wasn't the artwork fabulous back in the day. I've got such nostalgia for it I ordered four posters of box set for my rumpus room\man child cave (Asteroids, Outlaw, Space Invaders and Basketball). Nostalgia nirvana

Edited by Leepy

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...