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Atari 2600 "Classics" that you don't particularly like

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Out of curiosity - what are some of the Atari 2600 "classics" that everyone says are great games, but you don't actually find enjoyable to play?

 

Here are some of mine:

 

Asteroids

I was familiar with the Arcade game, so I was surprised when I booted up the 2600 version; Seeing all asteroids move in the same direction made me think my ROM was broken or something. Having looked up reviews of the game, I realized that this is how it's supposed to work. This makes it feel like a very crucial part of the game is missing and removes a lot of the challenge from the game, making it quite dull to play. Yet despite this, the title keeps popping up in a lot of "Atari 2600 favourites" list for some reason. Thank god for Space Rocks.

 

Berzerk

I don't get Berzerk. Often touted as the best Atari 2600 game and also the best arcade port and I just don't get it. To me, Berzerk feels more like a demo in which the developer still needs to figure out what the actual gameplay is. Just walking from room to room and shooting robots feels very lackluster and not very challenging - it's like there is a core game mechanic missing... The only challenge the game is able to throw at you is spawning robots in an inconvenient way when you enter a room. Oh, and the movement of the character is frustrating. I don't understand why the player moves and fires at a 30 degree angle, instead of 45 as one would expect. The slower vertical movement as opposed to horizontal I also find annoying. I got used to the movement after a couple of hours, but it still feels wrong.

 

Yars' Revenge

Just like the other two games, this one is also many peoples' favourite 2600 game - but unlike the other two games, I can at least understand the appeal. My main issue with this game is that given how simple it is - it is unnecessarily cryptic and completely unintuitive. The other issue is that the game wants you to play carefully and slowly (luring the bullet away takes ages), making it not very enjoyable.

 

 

So, what are some of your "classics" that you just don't get?

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At least some agree on Yar's. 

 

Most of the time I hear people criticize Asteroids because they don't try the various difficulty options.

 

Berserk aged VERY fast. It was an amazing adventure that taunted you when it was in the arcade.  Then it was kinda dumbed down for the 2600 and then just quickly surpassed.  A sci-fi hack of Adventure would have probably been a better "home" game.  Night Stalker for instance has aged better.

 

I usually will criticize Freeway and Keystone Capers when this topic comes up.  Atlantis is another that people view with a bit too much nostalgia.

 

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BERZERK: I hated the fact that it wasn't a legitimate maze where you exit one way and don't appear in a logic place in the next room (where you can return to the previous room). Bothered me like crazy as a kid. And I felt there was no point other than to stay alive. You aren't going anywhere, you never escape, pointless.

 

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Yes, it looked cool, but there was no reactor to protect depitcted and the ending was just your death. It was repetitive. So repetitive. Repetitive. Repetitive...

 

YAR'S REVENGE: I agree with everything you said.

 

PITFALL: never liked it. Yes, it looked nice, but it was not my type of game.

 

 

 

 

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Pitfall!  While I can appreciate the creativity of it, I always found it boring. 
 

Breakout:  I also get bored with this one very quickly. 

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Definitely Yars' Revenge and Pitfall for me. Both get kinda boring & repetitive to me once you can play them with some skill, which makes them feel like 'busy work', like when Pitfall! the goal goes from 'survive' to 'get a map and a route so you can get all the treasure'

 

Conversely, I love Pitfall II. A little more variety and a soundtrack helps a lot. :)

 

Keystone Kapers I don't like too much, as it gets more annoying as it gets harder.

 

I can see the issues with Asteroids, which is why I play my 'Arcade' hack version with the 'fast/Sadistroids' asteroid motion and UFOs right out of the gate on game #1.

 

 

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For asteroids and berserk, you'll have to look up instruction manuals (there here on Atari Age) you can adjust the difficulty switches to get the asteroids to be more horizontal, and the uof to appear, making the game !more challenging /fun imo. And berserk has a invincible ball (otto) that can be toggled.

 

Yars is a bit more nonsensical, but it ramps up in speed and difficulty quickly as you play.

 

But don't worry about it if you don't like some, or all these games, everybody likes different flavors and those game may just not be your style.

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17 hours ago, wongojack said:

At least some agree on Yar's. 

 

Most of the time I hear people criticize Asteroids because they don't try the various difficulty options.

 

Berserk aged VERY fast. It was an amazing adventure that taunted you when it was in the arcade.  Then it was kinda dumbed down for the 2600 and then just quickly surpassed.  A sci-fi hack of Adventure would have probably been a better "home" game.  Night Stalker for instance has aged better.

 

I usually will criticize Freeway and Keystone Capers when this topic comes up.  Atlantis is another that people view with a bit too much nostalgia.

 

I completely agree on Asteroids. Flip the difficulty switch to A and play one of the even numbered games. If you think the extra ships come too fast play games 6, 8, 14, 16, 22, 24, 30, or 32 for the one player games. If you simply start game one with the difficulty switch in the B position then it is almost like a children's version.

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Here's my most overrated by publisher...

 

Atari - Combat - some people love it but I never got into it.

 

Activision - Sea Quest - I like it but there's nothing special about it. I gave Freeway and Laser Blast a free pass since they were so early in the Atari lifecycle.

 

Parker Brothers - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - I've played a fair amount of this but it is way too repetitive and gets boring quickly.

 

Imagic - Atlantis - Beautiful graphics but tired gameplay. I considered Fire Fighter but not sure that it's rated highly enough to be overrated.

 

Coleco - Donkey Kong Jr. - I'll give it credit for 3 screens but wow is this game ugly. Donkey Kong is not only better looking but way more fun to play.

 

MNetwork - Burgertime - Maybe they should get credit for what they were able to do but it's disappointing, especially considering how good most of their other ports are.

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"Fast" asteroids makes some rocks move at 45 degrees once you start breaking them up - you don't get horizontal movement but it makes a big difference.

You also need diff A on and have extra lives set to 10K at least.

You can also disable hyperspace or replace it with shield or flip - or nothing at all.

 

We used to play with fast asteroids, 1up at 20K, hyperspace, diff A. Played that variation on 2P - was our favourite.

 

Popular games I didn't really like :

Pitfall - once you mastered croc head jumping - which wasn't that hard to do - the game became a bit of a drudge.

Pitfall 2 - more of the same - only with awful music.

Phoenix - was just too watered down from the arcade.

Superman - just far too flickery

Galaxian - the arcade game isn't that great and this isn't as good as that. Just a bit boring and was released too late.

Dig Dug - only because I don't like the arcade game so maybe this is me being a bit unfair as it is a good port.

Spider Fighter - just too damn easy.

 

 

Edited by davyK

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ESB is also often a problem of not using the game variations.  Try with smart bombs.  Otherwise, all these games are about score and repetition.  Besides, there's no way the rebellion ever wins that battle.

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If you asked me back in the day...it would be not many, if any...but I played the majority of my Atari at a very young age, pretty much everything was cool. Now the list would be pretty long but that's because I'm a cranky old man and everything sucks

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Asteroids- fun at the time, doesn't hold up.

Pitfall-  yeah gets old fast,  I did like Pitfall 2 though.

 

I'll add a couple I haven't seen mentioned:

 

H.E.R.O. - I tried to like this, but it's very repetative, I don't understand why it makes so many "best of" lists.

 

River Raid-  it was fun for the first weekend I got it, but like the other, way too repetitive and I have no interest in replaying it now.

 

I find many of the early Activision 2600 games to be overrated.  Nice graphics, weak gameplay,  there are some exceptions though.

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On 9/6/2020 at 12:29 PM, cvga said:

Parker Brothers - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - I've played a fair amount of this but it is way too repetitive and gets boring quickly.

I also never liked PB's Frogger much.   The Starpath one is much better

 

On 9/5/2020 at 10:59 PM, Feralstorm said:

Keystone Kapers I don't like too much, as it gets more annoying as it gets harder.

I will give this one points for being pretty innovative for 2600 though..  

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