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Albert

Activision Descriptions - Completed!

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The first game descriptions I'd like to tackle are Activision's. Most everyone is familiar with Activision's many great Atari 2600 games, so I figured this would be a good place to start. You can get a list of all of Activision's 2600 titles here:

 

Atari 2600 Games by Activision

 

Here is a list of Activision's 2600 games (not including most of the prototypes, which we already have descriptions for), and I will update this list as I accept contributions:

 

Descriptions Needed:

 

None!

 

Completed:

 

Activision Decathlon, The

Barnstorming

Beamrider

Boxing

Bridge

Checkers

Chopper Command

Commando

Cosmic Commuter

Crackpots

Dolphin

Dragster

Double Dragon

Enduro

Fighter Pilot

Fishing Derby

Freeway

Frostbite

Ghostbusters

Grand Prix

H.E.R.O.

Ice Hockey

Kabobber

Kaboom!

Kung Fu Master

Laser Blast

Keystone Kapers

Megamania

Oink!

Pitfall!

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns

Plaque Attack

Pressure Cooker

Private Eye

Rampage

River Raid

River Raid II

Robot Tank

Seaquest

Skiing

Sky Jinks

Space Shuttle

Spider Fighter

Stampede

Starmaster

Tennis

 

This list does include label variations, but we only need one description per unique game, so please ignore label variations. Some of these games may already have descriptions, but if you can improve upon them, by all means please do. Please read this post before writing up any descriptions, and please post them to this thread so I and others can comment on them and people can see which descriptions have already been written. When you post a description, please let me know how you would like your entry to be attributed in the database.

 

..Al

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Here's one I wrote for Grand Prix:

 

2600 Grand Prix

 

Grand Prix is a typical early Activision title: colorful graphics and solid, fun gameplay. In what is possibly the simplest racing game ever made, it is your job to race to the finish line in as little time as possible, all the while swooping in and around other cars on the track. If that wasn’t bad enough, oil spots litter the tracks final stretch, making the end of the race quite treacherous. Back when the game was released, Activision awarded players that could beat a certain score one of their highly sought after patches, which you could sew on your jean jacket and proudly rub it in your friends face that you were the Grand Prix master!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Matt

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Why are you not using the description from the back of the box?

893754[/snapback]

I'd prefer to have more "editorialized" descriptions rather than the straight marketing fluff that's often on the back of the box. Plus, the box descriptions don't place the game in historical context, nor do they often talk about the gameplay mechanics too much. While the box description can help form the basis of a description in our database, I'd much prefer original descriptions that contain a bit more than that. And if someone wants to read the box description, they can look at the box scan. :)

 

..Al

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Why are you not using the description from the back of the box?

893754[/snapback]

I'd prefer to have more "editorialized" descriptions rather than the straight marketing fluff that's often on the back of the box. Plus, the box descriptions don't place the game in historical context, nor do they often talk about the gameplay mechanics too much. While the box description can help form the basis of a description in our database, I'd much prefer original descriptions that contain a bit more than that. And if someone wants to read the box description, they can look at the box scan. :)

 

..Al

893761[/snapback]

Fair enough...your original post did not explain the intent the way this post did, so that helps a lot!

 

Troy

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Spider Fighter

 

Spider Fighter is a colorful and fast paced shooter in which you must protect your orchard from wave after wave of egg-laying, fruit stealing spiders. Each kind of spider you kill affects the game differently, shoot the spy pods and no more reinforcements come out, shoot the master nest and all the spiders start shooting you! Anyone scoring 40,000 points or more could send in a picture of their score and recieve the Spider Fighter patch!

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These are a couple of descriptions I wrote up. I wasn't sure if you wanted them like an editorial or more like something you might read on the back of the game box, so I took the editorial style for now (not trying to rip you off Lord Helmet) but I can change if necessary.

 

Commando

Commando is a fairly decent port of the arcade game of the same name, even though a lot of sacrifices had to be made in order to fit it into an Atari 2600 cartridge. You are an elite soldierm given the task of defeating an evil army by advancing through the different areas, using your rifle and your grenades to destroy any opposition which may try to stop you. At the end of each level you will encounter an enemy base, at which point you must defeat a certain number of soldiers before you will be able to enter the base and blow it up, advancing to the next level. The sounds and gameplay are standard, and the graphics are above average, but the challenge is truly up to par with the original game, which was pretty difficult as it was.

 

 

Kung-Fu Master

Kung-Fu Master is a fair port of the arcade game of the same name. You are, as the name implies, a Kung-Fu Master, and have been given the task of rescuing the fair Princess Victoria from the clutches of an evil wizard. Your only means of defense against the grippers, knife throwers, and other traps and enemies that you will encounter are your repetoire of Kung Fu maneuvers. The characters pretty much look the same with minor color differences, although a few have been given unique, albeit blocky, designs. The controls were modified to fit a one-button joystick, and as a result, a few moves were taken out. The core gameplay element remains, along with the challenge of the original, meaning that even expert game players may get a run for their money.

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Fair enough...your original post did not explain the intent the way this post did, so that helps a lot!

I've added that information to the original post describing what this is all about. Good question, and I'm glad you asked. :)

 

Thanks!

 

..Al

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Enduro

 

Atari's Pole Position was a hot arcade title back in the early 80's. Activision's take on the genre takes the idea of Pole Position and expands on it in many ways. In Enduro you try and pass as many cars as possible in a single "day." You will do this in sunshine, in the fog, at night, and also in the snow. Gameplay requires quick reflexes at high speeds as you fly by the other cars on the road. Like other Activision games of this era, a great performance would qualify you for a "Roadbuster" Activision patch.

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Robot Tank:

 

Robot Tank is Activision's attempt at the Atari arcade game Battlezone. This game, like many of Activisions games, is quite fast paced, and features gamplay that requires quick reflexes as you doge enemy fire while trying to squeeze off the perfet shot at the enemy tanks. An indirect hit will cause dammage to your tank, possibly causing your tanks to become slow and cumbersome, or even disrupting your sight or radar capabilities. Like another Acivision title, Enduro, Robot Tank requires you to play during different enviornmental conditions. Score high enough, and you can add another Activision patch to your colleciton. In this case there were 2 different "Tank Corps" patches, each one reflecting a different range of score.

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The first game descriptions I'd like to tackle are Activision's.  Most everyone is familiar with Activision's many great Atari 2600 games, so I figured this would be a good place to start.

 

Freeway: A game somewhat similar to Frogger, but with chickens. The game allows two people to play simultaneously, which is nice, but restricts motion of each player to a vertical line, which is not so nice. Being hit by a car does not cost a life, but merely knocks the player backward; rather than running until the player runs out of lives, the game runs for a fixed duration.

 

Stampede: Player moves a horse up and down to try to herd and lasso cattle. The game moves too fast for a player to lasso every cow when it first appears, so herding is essential. Even this, however, is tricky. One of few Activision titles to use the "venetian blinds" technique (used here on the horse's legs and on the lasso).

 

Laser Blast: Pow, pow, pow, scroll, repeat. Pow, pow, pow, scroll, repeat. Pow, pow, pow, scroll, repeat....

 

Starmaster: A first-person space shooter in the general style of"Star Ship" for the A2600 or or "Star Raiders" for the A400/A800, but much better done than the former and running on cheaper hardware than the latter. Features two screens that can be selected via either the color/BW switch or the difficulty switches [the latter feature, oddly enough, not being mentioned in the manual].

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Looks like we're off to a good start! At this rate it won't take too long to burn through the Activision games, and I can then choose another company (I'm leaning towards Imagic). As for the length of these descriptions, I'm generally looking for a good, full paragraph, which should not be too difficult to do for most of these titles (even the boring ones like Laser Blast).

 

I will update the first post of this thread periodically and mark off those games for which people have entered descriptions I choose to use, to make it a bit easier to keep tabs on which games still need descriptions. :)

 

..Al

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Oink!

 

Take the concept of Breakout and put it in reverse while mixing it in with the storyline of the Three Pigs and you have Oink!. You play the role of each of the Three Pigs trying to save his house from the attacking Wolf. The wolf will immediately begin breaking your blocks by shooting something out of his mouth that will destroy one brick at a time. As a pig you grab one brick at a time and you drop it down to a hole that the wolf has made in the wall. If the wolf breaks through the three layers of your wall and catches you, you're dead meat (literally).

 

---------------------

BTW- Al, do you mind if we make a description for something that someone else has already done? Just curious.

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian

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Laser Blast

 

Laser Blast has a bad reputation for being repetative and not challenging, but using the game select switch quickly fixes that! In David Crane's Laser Blast you are a spaceship blasting away at the enemy bases, in intervals of three, while they blast right back at you. This is a game that requires speed, accuracy and an attention span! Way back when you could send a picture of your score, if it was 100,000 points or higher, and recieve a Federation of Laser Blasters Patch! Score a million points and the screen turns into exclamation marks! Sending a picture of your !!!!!!! score gets you the orange !!!!!!! patch.

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BTW- Al, do you mind if we make a description for something that someone else has already done? Just curious.

893896[/snapback]

No, not at all, if you feel you can significantly improve on the description, and it is in your own words.

 

..Al

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Robot Tank:

 

Robot Tank is Activision's attempt at the Atari arcade game Battlezone. This game, like many of Activisions games, is quite fast paced, and features gamplay that requires quick reflexes as you doge enemy fire while trying to squeeze off the perfet shot at the enemy tanks. An indirect hit will cause dammage to your tank, possibly causing your tanks to become slow and cumbersome, or even disrupting your sight or radar capabilities. Like another Acivision title, Enduro, Robot Tank requires you to play during different enviornmental conditions. Score high enough, and you can add another Activision patch to your colleciton. In this case there were 2 different "Tank Corps" patches, each one reflecting a different range of score.

893841[/snapback]

Actually there were 3 different patches:

 

Medal of Merit - 48 tanks

Cross of Excellence - 60 tanks

Star of Honor - 72 tanks

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Pressure Cooker

 

Pressure Cooker seems to be a hidden gem in the 2600 library.

Pressure Cooker goes beyond the platform or shoot em up games, combining memory and speed in an addictive format.

The object is to prepare hamburgers by grabbing and bouncing condiments around the kitchen, then deliver the goods to their proper customers. It doesn't give you "lives" to lose in specific ways, instead it gives you a second set of points which are subtracted in various amounts depending on how badly you goof.

On a side note, Pressure Cooker's manual gives a little trivia based on the origins of our common hamburgers.

45,000 points are required to qualify for the Activision Short Order Squad and recieve a patch.

 

The Activision Decathlon:

 

This is one of the first Activision games that awarded multiple patches. It's also the only game I've encountered to adequately use the player's own endurance to simulate athletic performance.

Players are required to move their joysticks left and right to run, and hit the red button to perform actions such as vaulting or throwing the discus. Players compete in several events including the pole vault, discus throw, and a grueling 1500 meter race that takes several minutes to complete.

Oddly enough, a tip circulating on the internet says that you should keep hitting the red button during the pole vault for higher vaults. This was not a secret at all--in fact, designer David Crane suggested this in the game's instructions.

 

8,000 points gets you a bronze patch, 9,000 for silver, and 10,000 plus nets you the coveted gold.

 

Megamania:

 

This is a shoot em up a cross between Galaxian and Centipede. Aliens attack in formations that usually pass through the player's field of movement. Seven out of eight types of aliens even try to drop bombs on the oversized cannon the player controls.

Players can take good advantage of Megamania's bonus system by allowing a cannon to be lost just before reaching 10,000 points, then finishing off the remaining aliens from the current wave. This allows much more of the time remaining from that wave to be converted to points.

Megamania was re released for the PlayStation console as part of the Activision Classics collection, along with 28 other Activision and one Imagic title.

 

Achieveing 45,000 points qualifies you as a Megamaniac.

Achieving 999,999 points (or running out of cannon) ends the game.

Edited by shadow460

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Pitfall!

 

Experience real adventure as you take control of the legendary Pitfall Harry in one of the first 'platformer' games before Super Mario Bros. made the term commonplace. In Pitfall! it's your goal to collect items such as gold and silver bars and diamond rings while avoiding dangerous pitfalls, deep lakes, alligators, scorpions, open camp fires and rolling logs in an unforgiving jungle. And you have to collect as much as you can in a 20 minute time period! Fortunately there are many underground short-cuts to help you in your quest and you have 256 different screens to explore! Pitfall! provides great single player action and has great graphics to boot and is certainly a classic in the Atari 2600 library. It also will be available on the new Atari Flashback 2.

 

Pifall 2: The Lost Caverns

 

Pitfall Harry is back for another adventure on the Atari 2600! And this time not only does he not have to worry about a time limit and he can swim! Pitfall 2 improves on many aspects of the original Pitfall! in terms of graphics, gameplay and sound. Even in 1983 finding a 2600 game with music was a rarity, and Pitfall 2 features an amazing sound track that even changes according to your situation (if you pick up a piece of gold, you get an upbeat track, if you touch a bat and are sent back to a restore point, you get a depressing track). Also instead of having a set number of lives you have restore points that you will be sent back to if you touch an enemy. You will lose points on your trip back, but at least you can continue on from there. The caverns that you explore are vast and you goal is to reach a certain end (which ends up being a point below the ground right where you started) collecting as much gold and other items along the way. If you are looking for an excellent platforming game, get Pitfall 2.

 

Activision held a contest at the time where if you were able to surpass 99,000 points in the game, you could take a picture of the screen with your score and send it in to Activision to get a cool Pitfall patch.

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Just a quick note: please do not write game descriptions in the first person ("This is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games" or "I first saw this game in the 1978 Sears Wishbook"). I didn't think of this earlier, and I just added this clarification to my initial post talking about the descriptions.

 

Thanks!

 

..Al

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Just a quick note: please do not write game descriptions in the first person ("This is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games" or "I first saw this game in the 1978 Sears Wishbook").  I didn't think of this earlier, and I just added this clarification to my initial post talking about the descriptions.

 

Thanks!

 

..Al

893926[/snapback]

 

My bad...they are corrected now.

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Just a quick note: please do not write game descriptions in the first person ("This is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games" or "I first saw this game in the 1978 Sears Wishbook").  I didn't think of this earlier, and I just added this clarification to my initial post talking about the descriptions.

 

Thanks!

 

..Al

893926[/snapback]

 

My bad...they are corrected now.

893932[/snapback]

Thanks! Just glad I noticed it sooner than later, before you and others wrote more like that. :)

 

..Al

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I have added the first wave of descriptions to the database, and have updated the list at the top of this thread accordingly.

 

..Al

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It's good to see those up, this is a great idea. And thanks for correcting/adding a few things to my Pitfall reviews that I was missing (I knew I was leaving something out)

 

now for another:

 

Keystone Kapers

 

Ever want to be a "Kop"? Keystone Kapers gives you a chance at just that where you take control of Officer Kelly who is in hot pursuit of Harry Hooligan in this fun platform game from Activision. It will not be an easy quest as hazards like fast moving shopping carts, biplanes, cathedral radios and beachballs will attempt to hinder your progress as you try to catch up with the krook. A level ends after you catch the krook and as you progress further it gets harder to keep up with him. You also have a time limit in which to catch the krook and hazards such as the shooping carts and beachballs will dock 9 seconds from your time limit if you run into them! Run into the biplanes or run out of time and you will loose one of your kops! The graphics in Keystone Kapers are colorful and fluid and the sounds are decent enough to get along. By pressing the button your character jumps and the control handles well for this type of game. If you broke 35,000 points in the game you could become part of The "Billy Club" and you would receive a cool 'Billy Club' patch. Like with other Activision manuals, the Keystone Kapers manual gives some interesting details on the history of policeman and includes some gameplay tips from the game designer.

 

River Raid

River Raid is the grandfather of all vertical shooter games and is a great classic for the Atari 2600. You control a fighter plane going down the River of No Return and it is your goal to destroy enemy tankers, helicopters and jets and rack up as many points as possible. Avoid touching the sides of the river as that will crash your plane and watch your fuel while you are at it. Fortunately there are many fuel tanks along the river, but they will become scarce the farther along you fly. There are two types of river terrain you will encounter, light green and dark green. When the river is going through light green terrain it will go straight through without any land obstacles in the middle. Dark green terrain forces you to choose a side as the river will split in two and you cannot fly straight over the land. These terrains will change after a bridge at the end that you must destroy. One very impressive aspect of River Raid is that the dark green terrain is quite varied, which breaks any monotony the game could hold. The graphics are well designed and the playfield scrolls fluidly during the gameplay. The sounds consist of your planes engines, the shots you fire and explosions. And finally the control is dead on. You can speed up or slow down your plane by pushing up or down on the joystick. River Raid also marks the first time a female designed a console game. By reaching a score of 15,000 or more you could join the River Raiders and receive a River Raider patch. The maximum score that can be reached in the game is 1 million points.

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian

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Just added the descriptions for Keystone Kapers and River Raid (thanks!) and also updated the profile page (the page with all of a game's information) so the game descriptions are properly credited. :)

 

..Al

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Ice Hockey

 

Ice Hockey consists of a 1 vs 1 or 1 vs computer. There are 2 players each team and you control both of them. You can either go green and gold or blue and red. You have 3 minutes to play and the highest score at the end of the time is the winner. The player in your team that is closer to the puck is the one that you control, the other player becomes inactive until the puck is closest to him again. There are 32 separate shot angles and you can check an opponent. Passing or shooting quickly is not always the best, as timing and well placed shots plays a main factor in this game.

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