Recommend me some Atari games

That’s right, the 2600. :cool:

I’ve still got mine from 27 years ago, and it still works. Last summer, I found a store in Traverse City, where we go for vacation, that has Atari Cartridges for sale. :slight_smile: We’re going there in a week, so I’m looking for recommendations for games to buy, and also ones to avoid.

What I already had:
Space Invaders
Missile Command
Haunted House
Breakout (not working)
Donkey Kong

What I bought last year:
Circus Atari
Breakout (replacement)
SwordQuest: Earthworld (Sucks)
Yar’s Revenge

Atari published Civilization 4, the only game you’ll ever need.

Battle Zone if you need the tank game.

Remember that the contacts on the game cartridges can be cleaned with a pencil eraser. It will make the contacts all nice and shinny again. It’s a lost art now-a-days.


I have to say I am pretty sure they haven’t made a version for the 2600 tho.

[aside] Visit Atari Age for a good site with lots of information on Atari games… you can look up rarity, instructions, screen shots, etc., allowing you to make a good wish list, know how much you should (or should not) pay for games, and how to play some of the more involved titles. And, when you get tired of the older titles, you can then take a look at the brand new titles people are programming today for the 2600… many of which are beyond what anyone in the 80s thought possible on the system. [/aside]

In general, you won’t go wrong with any titles from Imagic, Activision, CBS Games, or Parker Bros. Coleco and Mattel/M Network/INTV are toss-ups, with some good games, some bad. Of Atari-branded games, I find the majority of silver/grey label and red label games (look at the primary background color of the main label) are very good games… you’ve found one of the dogs (Swordquest: Earthworld), though, and ET is another bummer. Atari games with black labels can be more hit-and-miss, being older, less impressive titles.

Since vintage game shops aren’t guaranteed to have select games in stock, I’d recommend keeping an open mind and being willing to gamble a couple of bucks on titles you don’t recognize… even bad games can be fun when you only have spent a few bucks. That said, a few random, fun titles that should be relatively easy to find:

Solaris- graphically impressive late release from Atari, a space shooter/sim that is a semi-sequel to Star Raiders
Ms. Pac-Man and Jr. Pac-Man- unlike the major disappointment of the original Pac-Man, these are great Pac conversions
Midnight Magic- single-screen pinball; decent graphics, good physics, IMO better than the old Video Pinball
Video Olympics/Pong Sports- the same game, “Pong Sports” is the Sears title; every Pong variant known to man in one cartridge, and up to four players if you have two sets of paddles
Pitfall! and Pitfall II- the original jumping game and sequel from Activision; the first is plentiful and cheap, a basic twitch title, the second is harder to find and more expensive, and more of an exploration/adventure
Superman- built on the engine that drives Adventure, and to-date probably still the best video game based on Superman

Oh yeah-- a sticky topic in the 2600 forums on Atari Age list the “Top 100” games as determined by user voting, and the listing as of Nov. 2007 is printed in the first post… it might be handy to just print it out, so you’ll have a fairly full listing of the better titles, instead of the couple of dozen we might be able to remember here.

Thanks adam, that’ll save me a lot of wasted time looking! :wink:

Thanks all. I’m going to print out the Atari Age list of the “Top 100” from Student Driver’s link.

Aren’t these ROMs, for running on emulators? No one’s actually making new cartridges anymore, are they?

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is legendary. I don’t know if there will ever be a game quite like it again.

Never underestimate a nerd.

I remember enjoying **Pitfall! **back in the day.

My favorite game was Barnstorming, but I think I’m the only one that ever heard of it. No one else seems to remember it’s existence.

I remember Barnstorming!

My favorite was “Decathlon” though. The long distance race was super boring (not to mention somewhat painful) though, and you couldn’t skip it. Still, All hail Decathlon!

Mine still works, too.
The games I have:
Yar’s Revenge
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Non Working:
Star Raiders
Canyon bomber

Custer’s Revenge is a can’t-miss title…

OK, in all seriousness, Yar’s Revenge is one of the best games of all time, no matter what system. Phoenix is a fantastic port of the arcade game. Any games made by Imagic, Parker Brothers, and Activision are worth checking out, even the early Activision games like Dragster are worth playing. I also liked Taz, which was a variation on Astrix.

Last, if you can find a copy of Chase the Chuck Wagon in a bargain bin, buy it, in spite of the fact that it’s a lame-o game. It’s probably the most collectible game for the 2600, and if it’s in a bargain bin the owner knows not what he has.

dogbutler, do you like all those? Raiders of the Lost Ark would be timely, if they have it.

Thanks, everyone, I’ve made a list of all the games mentioned here, plus the list from Atari Age.

BTW, I realized I hadn’t actually played Joust yet. I was parsing out the games to give them all a try, rather than playing all of them for a little bit. I played it last night with my kids, and it was a lot of fun.

Interjecting my opinion here-- Raiders is a pretty difficult-to-play game IMO… like Swordquest: Earthworld it requires two joysticks, an obnoxious amount of inventory juggling, trial and error, and an ability to decipher often beyond-abstract graphics. Unlike the Swordquest titles, it doesn’t have little mini games. I recommend a lot of patience, an instruction booklet nearby, and a print-out of a walkthrough.

Oh-- watch out for Airman Doors’ suggestion on Custers Revenge… :slight_smile:

His suggestion on Chase the Chuckwagon’s a good one, though it’s since been surpassed in value and rarity by quite a few titles. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to use the Atari Age database and print out lists of the rarer cartridges, just in case you run across something worthwhile-- y’never know if there might be a rarity that could cover the costs of your vacation.

Swordquest requires two joysticks? I have two, just never thought to try using two. How does that work? I’ll have to download the Swordquest manual and give it another try.

Oh, and I’m aware of Custers Revenge. I’ve seen YouTube videos of someone playing it, so I don’t feel any need to buy it. :slight_smile:

Oops, sorry, that was bad writing on my part-- I added that in without noticing where I was putting it. It does need the comic book to interpret the numeric clues you get for dropping inventory in certain rooms, though.

Chase the Chuckwagon is so legendary that there’s a vintage video game auction site named after it.
I was able to pick up some rare 2600 games from someone at my company, including the games based on Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween. Sadly, I have no console. I do have an Intellivision…