Atari?

Discussion in 'Classics' started by SLTE, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. SLTE

    SLTE Member Registered

    Let me preface this by saying that I'm old. Like, 31. That's not super old, but it's old enough that I did own an Atari 2600 back when I was very young. My first gaming memories are of playing Mario Bros. and trying to puzzle out how to kill the crabs. Presumably I figured it out at some point. Also have vague memories of Adventure, Yar's Revenge, and Donkey Kong, as well as some game with a floating space beetle. (Atari games were always open to aesthetic interpretation, I found.)

    Has anyone else ever owned one of the Atari systems? Or at least played any Atari games?
     
    Stay Puft likes this.
  2. aboleth_lich

    aboleth_lich Member Registered

    If it makes you feel any better, I'm 33! Not super old either, but you're hardly the oldest person here!

    The Mario Bros cartridge for the Atari 2600 immediately strikes one as quite odd indeed, as one would not expect to see a Mario Bros title available on a console that wasn't also produced by Nintendo! But, of course, Nintendo didn't have a home console yet and hence the cartridge!

    The Atari 2600 played a critical role in the development of the home video game market that must be respected: it's the missing link between the Magnavox Odyssey and the NES! And as that missing link, it has a rather interesting character: extremely basic graphics, sound, and controls, for the most part very simple and highly repetitive but quite fun games accompanied by a few baffling cryptic games, a very open approach to third party developers that lead to a glut of questionable titles that even included very politically incorrect horror adaptations and weird porn games, and so on. Granted, its library of games eventually reached the point that it included so many infamously awful games that the entire home video game market crashed devastatingly in the early eighties--but thankfully the home video game market learned its lesson and recovered with the introduction of even greater systems with even stronger libraries of games like the NES!
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  3. Stay Puft

    Stay Puft Member Registered

    I owned an Atari was a kid, and I'm happy to say that I'm in the same age range as you two. Atari, on a personal level, is what starting my interest in gaming. From Pitfall! to Yars Revenge, Missile Command to Space Invaders, we had them all. I clearly remember playing Combat with my dad, and finally beating him when I got old enough. Great memories, and a great console. There are a few good documentaries on YouTube about Atari actually that are well worth watching.
     
  4. lamanlupa

    lamanlupa Member Registered

    My first experience in video gaming came in the form of the Atari game system. It was such a cool machine during those times. we owned a couple consoles when I was a little boy. I remember I favorite games were Yar's Revenge, Pac-man, Haunted House, River Raid, Battleship and my all time fave, Joust. I got highs just remembering that game and how fun it was to bump those enemy birds and turn them into eggs and eat them. Good old days. Oh yeah, I'm old too obviously.
     
  5. SLTE

    SLTE Member Registered

    I think I've probably watched those. Or at least I watched the one about E.T. the Extraterrestrial, and how it did / didn't ruin the video game industry at the time. Really neat movie, whether you're interested in E.T. or not. (Which I was. I owned that game. It's not as bad as some people would lead you to believe, though it does not explain itself at all, which is a big part of the problem.)

    @aboleth_lich: My household was blessed with not having too many of the awful games. Most of our collection consisted of the relatively well-made classics, like Space Invaders, Centipede, Adventure, Mario Bros., and the like. At the time I wasn't even really aware that the industry was going through a quality glut. (Granted, I was, like, three or four, so I wouldn't have known anyway, but...)
     
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  6. aboleth_lich

    aboleth_lich Member Registered

    It sounds like you come from a family with great taste in games SLTE!

    E.T. for the Atari 2600 is a very rushed, flawed, and cryptic game--but it is far, far from being the worst game ever made as so many claim! (Although it does have one of the worst legacies as one of the final straws before the great home video game market crash and having many of its returned and unsold cartridges buried in the desert!)

    The main problems with E.T. are essentially that people don't know how to actually play it, some of the pits are placed much too close to the screen's edge, and escaping from a pit is much too tedious with the odds of simply falling right back into it much too high. As the YouTube video below shows, it's not that difficult or terrible of a game if you know what you're doing:



    (I'm actually reminded of a better game on the NES with the many of same problems as E.T.: Deadly Towers! Just replace "pits" with "dungeons!")

    If Atari gave E.T. programmer and developer Howard Scott Warshaw (the days when a game was made by a single person) more time, he could have most probably worked out the kinks and produced a better game! In fact, there are fairly simple hacks available online to improve the game as is!

    E.T. is hardly alone as a surprisingly cryptic and complex Atari 2600 game either. Raiders of the Lost Art and Porky's also fall into the same category, and those were precisely the three games that I was thinking of earlier.

    The Atari 2600's library is also hardly alone when it comes to cryptic games with little information as to how to play. Just consider the NES. People to this day still complain about how one is supposed to know that you're supposed to kneel by the cliff with the red orb to summon a warp tornado in Simon's Quest! (And there's also a hacked version of that game where, among other things, the townsfolk give much better clues about what you're supposed to do!) And yet, at the same time: people never complain today about the equally cryptic and baffling moments in the classic The Legend of Zelda: just think the first few of its players burning every bush in the game looking for that one dungeon entrance or figuring out how to navigate the lost woods! We pardon that today only because the game is popular and lauded, the answers to those questions are now well known, and the game's strengths greatly outnumber its flaws! And while E.T. is a much worse game than those NES examples, imagine how many fewer people would complain about it if just what the player is supposed to do are as well known!
     

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