The Atari 2600 was one of the first home video game systems to be owned by millions of households across the globe during the early 1980’s. The 2600 catalog contains a great mix of dreadful disasters and high-caliber classics. This is a select list in no order of just ten of the classics worth mentioning.
The 2600 version of Mario Bros. was addictive and enjoyable. While not the best adaptation (The NES version holds that honour), it was easy to pick up and play.
Another arcade classic ported perfectly for a home system. As kids it was quite a reward to get to any of the next levels in this game. As things sped up and more obstacles were introduced, your coordination had to speed up.
Combat was one of the first video games I remember playing. We treated it like we were playing sports. Only so much time to blast your opponent away. We had home tournaments for this, best 3 of 5 sorts of series. The variations like Tank Pong and Plane Battles offered up a nice mix of game setups. Two good players could end up with very low scores.
You can just say Asteroids and most people over a certain age will think you are referring to the game. A treasured arcade hit that made an easy transition to the home system.
The year is 2020, and Midnight Magic remains one of the best versions of home pinball ever produced. User-friendly and fast-paced, it brought flipper ball home for countless hours of enjoyment for many.
Activision produced two memorable racing titles for the 2600. Grand Prix offered several levels of racing insanity. You raced to pass other cars and beat a set of recommended times listed in the manual. The second you hit another car, the cracking sound would feel like the televisions speaker was going to blow out.
Another arcade classic perfect for the home system. The Williams Corporation were already master game makers and pinball machine builders by the time Defender was released. This game holds a personal place in my heart because it was the favourite of a late cousin. The 2600 version was a very positively received close reading of the arcade game.
The other Activision racing game worth a mention happens to be one of my personal all-time favourites. 1983’s Enduro is a reminiscent of Sega’s 1981 arcade race classic Turbo. With the same sound effects as Grand Prix it was fast-paced racing where passing was key to winning. Enduro could not compete with Namco’s classic Pole Position which was released the same year .
In putting together this list, it became impossible to ignore another fun Activision title that kept me up late at night as I worked through it. Keystone Kapers was a continually challenging game of cops and robbers through multiple floor levels. The game also had escalators which for some reason I was fascinated with as a kid.
2 on 2 hockey with absolutely no goaltender. Sounds like a fun way to waste time. Ice Hockey was another game we organized into tournaments as kids. The sounds and graphics that went into a player being tripped/slashed cracked us up every time. High scoring was frequent given the lack of a goalie.
There are so many other worth mentioning that they just cannot all be filled in to this one page. In time, I might visit some of the absolute dreadful disasters that ended up being made for this classic game system.