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Top 10 Worst Games on the 2600 (In my Opinion)

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1 hour ago, edladdin said:

Basic Math is not a game.  Its educational software.  It was MEANT to be arithmetic flash cards for practice and skill building.

 

Condemning Basic Math for being a terrible game is like condemning Excel for being the most boring game on your laptop.

Or criticizing a fish for being terrible at tree climbing.

Then why make such a game?

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3 minutes ago, Atariperson23 said:

Then why make such a game?

To influence parents to buy the console?  (look! it can help your kids with school!)

 

In 1977 when it was released, few had computers in the home, and there were lots of experimental things tried..   Atari even created a BASIC programming cartridge for the 2600

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5 minutes ago, Atariperson23 said:

Then why make such a game?

So parents will feel good that there kids can actually learn something with this high dollar purchase video game system.

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Just now, fdr4prez said:

So parents will feel good that there kids can actually learn something with this high dollar purchase video game system.

OK, point taken. But how much cartridges were sold?

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16 hours ago, cvga said:

7. Space War -... If I'm going to play a game with the spaceship from Asteroids, then I'm going to play Asteroids!

Ok. But just so you know it's actually the reverse, as it was the 2600 Space War spaceship that found its way into 2600 Asteroids. 😛

 

I didn't begrudge many games I played. But YES Swordquest Fireworld was one such game. To this day it still seems so obtuse and odd.. no wonder it flummoxed me as a kid.

 

re: Donkey Kong: I've said this so many times, but had they just put in a little "closure" of some type to finishing the 2nd stage, that at least indicated that you defeated Kong and rescued the girl... I think it would have improved my perception 100%. I would have accepted its 2 funky stages (which are playable after all), and played through them happily. Even just erasing the Kong graphic and putting Mario next to Pauline for 2 seconds while the sound played would have worked just fine. But alas.. it was an endless slog through both stages with zero closure.

 

Else I say Amidar.. really a piss poor port.

 

And I know this is not the worst but I LITERALLY just finally tried out Pressure Cooker this late in life and it is instantly one of my top 2600 games ever. Only took me nearly 4 decades to give it a fair shot. :lol:

 

 

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2 minutes ago, NE146 said:

 

 

And I know this is not the worst but I LITERALLY just finally tried out Pressure Cooker this late in life and it is instantly one of my top 2600 games ever. Only took me nearly 4 decades to give it a fair shot. :lol:

 

 

How do you play Pressure Cooker?

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Aha! Something I can contribute to!

 

I saw it mentioned before that PAL games should be ignored due to their obscurity but I won’t hold back because of that. I’m also a big fan of obscure somewhat unknown games that are floating in the videogame ether so I’ll be sure to mention some of those. I’m also excluding the launch titles because that’s really low hanging fruit, even compared to what I’m picking. Also no Mythicon for the same reasons as the launch titles.

 

1: I know this is cheating but Froggo in its entirety, otherwise almost half of the list would be taken up by their games alone, this also exempts much of Panda’s library unfortunately. Several of these games were originally released in PAL regions.

·         Spiderdroid is just Amidar with the difficulty jacked up.

·         Task Force is just Gangster Alley from Spectravision (not the most enjoyable of games in the first place) with nasty graphics.

·         Cruise Missile has some of the jankiest shooting mechanics ever constructed.

·         Sea Hawk is actually alright in short bursts.

·         Sea Hunt is painful on the eyes and ears and all too easy to cheese.

·         Karate – Karate.

 

2: I’m cheating again! ZiMAG. They licensed their games from Bit Corporation who had a large presence in Europe. Too bad they never got Pizza Chef out the door.

·         Cosmic Corridor is like if Chase the Chuckwagon was made into a shooter. Honorable mention to Chase the Chuckwagon

·         Dishaster is entirely pointless and is simply a mundane act of maintaining patterns.

·         I Want My Mommy is inferior to its European release lacking the voice sample, and is just Donkey Kong but janky.

·         Tanks but No Tanks it’s a guilty pleasure game for me so I’m very biased.

 

3: Imma cheat one more time! Bomb! Dismal, obscure, and rare, are the only three words this company should be associated with. Again... more common in PAL regions.

·         Z-Tack is just reverse Atlantis with stiff controls and an inhuman difficulty spike.

·         Great Escape is the ghost of Sinistar on crack.

·         Wall Defender… I’d prefer not to think about Wall Defender.

 

4: Skeet Shoot. It was a tech demo side project that was commercially released for whatever reason. There is almost no skill involved and your experience revolves entirely around where you’re placed on screen and the direction the skeet moves, which is random in the standard mode. Bland, lifeless, and lacking in fun.

 

5:Death Trap. Frankly it’s a bit of a tossup which of Avalon Hills games are the worst but I’m picking Death trap because it commits the cardinal sin of boredom. It moves slow and even when it gets a bit of energy going it winds up being frustrating. The most lifeless space shooter on the 2600.

 

6: Word Zapper. I was considering Sneak ‘n’ Peek but this just barely edges out. It starts confusing and ends boring when you finally figure out what to do; there is just no fun to be had. It could be passed as education software but I think there is enough of a ‘game’ tucked away for it to be considered as one.

 

 7: Bugs. It’s a nasty little Paddle shooter that quickly grows unfairly difficult. Couple that with some of the most misleading packaging ever devised and you have a recipe for disappointment. Ties with Sssnake as the worst Data Age game.

 

8: Entombed. It’s a neat vertically scrolling mirrored maze tech demo that they turned into a game. You see everything it has to offer after the first level and all you wind up getting is a faster scrolling speed after each level until it is actually impossible to play. If there is a plateau in difficulty then it is located far past the realms of human reaction times.

 

9: Spike’s Peak. It’s a visual marvel but a confusing difficult mess to play. You need to manual to even have a basic understanding of what the heck is going on and how to get past it. It’s also the only game I know of where you can die on the ‘victory’ screen, how’s that for a slap in the nuts?

 

10: Walker/Schussel, der Polizistenschreck. Words don’t do it justice, you need to play it to believe it.

 

I could keep this list going on way longer if I wanted to but the title of the post said 10 and I’m already at 20 so I think I’ll stop there. I’d recommend playing all these games for yourself to see how my assessments stand.

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1 minute ago, DoctorSpuds said:

 

 

10: Walker/Schussel, der Polizistenschreck. Words don’t do it justice, you need to play it to believe it.

 

 

My god, that game is the most... the most... :(

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17 minutes ago, Atariperson23 said:

OK, point taken. But how much cartridges were sold?

don't know

 

:dontknow:

 

Maybe someone else knows, but not me

 

 

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3 minutes ago, DoctorSpuds said:

9: Spike’s Peak. It’s a visual marvel but a confusing difficult mess to play. You need to manual to even have a basic understanding of what the heck is going on and how to get past it. It’s also the only game I know of where you can die on the ‘victory’ screen, how’s that for a slap in the nuts?

I actually like this game!   Yes, the presentation is kinda messy, and it sometimes seems unfair the way it kills you.  But it's basically 3 stages of climbing a mountain.  Avoid the bears and hide from eagles in caves in the first stage,  avoid falling boulders and yeti in later stages.

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2 minutes ago, zzip said:

I actually like this game!   Yes, the presentation is kinda messy, and it sometimes seems unfair the way it kills you.  But it's basically 3 stages of climbing a mountain.  Avoid the bears and hide from eagles in caves in the first stage,  avoid falling boulders and yeti in later stages.

Well, at least it feels as torturous as climbing a mountain

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30 minutes ago, NE146 said:

Ok. But just so you know it's actually the reverse, as it was the 2600 Space War spaceship that found its way into 2600 Asteroids. 😛

 

I didn't begrudge many games I played. But YES Swordquest Fireworld was one such game. To this day it still seems so obtuse and odd.. no wonder it flummoxed me as a kid.

 

re: Donkey Kong: I've said this so many times, but had they just put in a little "closure" of some type to finishing the 2nd stage, that at least indicated that you defeated Kong and rescued the girl... I think it would have improved my perception 100%. I would have accepted its 2 funky stages (which are playable after all), and played through them happily. Even just erasing the Kong graphic and putting Mario next to Pauline for 2 seconds while the sound played would have worked just fine. But alas.. it was an endless slog through both stages with zero closure.

 

Else I say Amidar.. really a piss poor port.

 

And I know this is not the worst but I LITERALLY just finally tried out Pressure Cooker this late in life and it is instantly one of my top 2600 games ever. Only took me nearly 4 decades to give it a fair shot. :lol:

 

 

I'll totally agree with Amidar,...My main thought is that it was close to being fun.  If they could have just made the controls work and maybe sped up the player or whole game, even just a tiny bit, it might have worked.  It felt like with a little bit of polish it could have been a fun game.  I just imagine a programmer saying "Just give me another week", and a bean counter pointing to his watch with a look of disappointment on his face.

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17 hours ago, KaeruYojimbo said:

Carnival, Venture and Roc 'n Rope are all pretty solid ports. Mr. Do and Time Pilot aren't awful. The whole "Coleco made bad ports to make the Colecovision look better" myth revolves pretty much entirely on the Donkey Kong sprite looking like a gingerbread man.

And look at the recent Coleco prototypes that have seen the light of day, Looping and Cabbage Patch Kids.  Despite being hard as hell, they're extremely colorful, and the graphics are top notch.

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1 minute ago, Inky said:

And look at the recent Coleco prototypes that have seen the light of day, Looping and Cabbage Patch Kids.  Despite being hard as hell, they're extremely colorful, and the graphics are top notch.

Smurf was also good, despite not being an arcade port.

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I'm not sure I am too qualified to specify any here. I think i played some of the best in my short stint with the machine, Missile Command, Joust and a couple of others that were good.

I don't think bunging what looks to be an educational title for little kids into the mix makes much sense, for one thing it isn't a game and for another you're trying to compare apples with onions.

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Just now, ∞ Vince ∞ said:

I'm not sure I am too qualified to specify any here. I think i played some of the best in my short stint with the machine, Missile Command, Joust and a couple of others that were good.

I don't think bunging what looks to be an educational title for little kids into the mix makes much sense, for one thing it isn't a game and for another you're trying to compare apples with onions.

OK. But you should try to make an educational game fun, so little kids will like it. For example, Math Gran Prix tries to be fun, and it almost succeeds. Just because a game is educational doesn't mean it can't be fun.

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Just now, Atariperson23 said:

OK. But you should try to make an educational game fun, so little kids will like it. For example, Math Gran Prix tries to be fun, and it almost succeeds. Just because a game is educational doesn't mean it can't be fun.

No, that is true but I'd compare educational games together and 'action' or non educational ones against each other. Can you think of a replacement that would fit ? Might make it a better discussion because I can't be the only one thinking this.

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5 minutes ago, Atariperson23 said:

OK. But you should try to make an educational game fun, so little kids will like it. For example, Math Gran Prix tries to be fun, and it almost succeeds. Just because a game is educational doesn't mean it can't be fun.

Consider the era it came out in (1977) look at other games from that era, all were very basic.   For us kids back then, just being able to interact with the TV at all was novel and fun.

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7 minutes ago, Atariperson23 said:

OK. But you should try to make an educational game fun, so little kids will like it. For example, Math Gran Prix tries to be fun, and it almost succeeds. Just because a game is educational doesn't mean it can't be fun.

ok but as other have said we're talking circa 1976-1978ish here with almost no precedent. No one knew that stuff.. they're still figuring it out, experimenting, etc.  And look at the rest of the games.. Street Racer, Star Ship, Black Jack, Surround, Air Sea Battle etc.  They were just getting their legs.  Heck they thought it was a good idea to make Space War have a green background. :lol:

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10 minutes ago, NE146 said:

ok but as other have said we're talking circa 1976-1978ish here with almost no precedent. No one knew that stuff.. they're still figuring it out, experimenting, etc.  And look at the rest of the games.. Street Racer, Star Ship, Black Jack, Surround, Air Sea Battle etc.  They were just getting their legs.  Heck they thought it was a good idea to make Space War have a green background. :lol:

I don't think it was until the late 80s before Education Titles became in any way fun. The Fun School and games featuring famous cartoon characters spring to mind. That was no game it was an 'educational product' It was one of the excuses computer users used 'Oh I want a computer, it can help with homework and study and home learning'.

 

Feels a little unfair to include it.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, zzip said:

Consider the era it came out in (1977) look at other games from that era, all were very basic.   For us kids back then, just being able to interact with the TV at all was novel and fun.

Alright, then do a "shooting gallery" type of game. Simply shoot numbers greater then the number displayed at the top. Have an occasionally appearing number boss you fight (sort of like Galaga) Finally, add/subtract/multiply/divide two random numbers you didn't shoot. There! Mildly entertaining and basic enough, and still an educational game.

Edited by Atariperson23

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3 minutes ago, Atariperson23 said:

Alright, then do a "shooting gallery" type of game. Simply shoot numbers greater then the number displayed at the top. Have an occasionally appearing number boss you fight (sort of like Galaga) Finally, add/subtract/multiply/divide two random numbers you didn't shoot. There! Mildly entertaining and basic enough, and still an educational game.

That kind of stuff came later.   Look at the 2600 Educational games Atari put out in the 80s-  licensed Sesame Street characters and what-not.   Something like "Basic Math" was not out of place in the late 70s.  You should see the simple games my friends and I played on the Channel F.  And we liked it!  :) 

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7 minutes ago, zzip said:

That kind of stuff came later.   Look at the 2600 Educational games Atari put out in the 80s-  licensed Sesame Street characters and what-not.   Something like "Basic Math" was not out of place in the late 70s.  You should see the simple games my friends and I played on the Channel F.  And we liked it!  :)

OK, I give. Considering BASIC Math came out when image.thumb.png.fded27a138db917d28bd3b1ad01fb66c.pngwas still kind of popular, I guess I can't be too harsh about it.

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