July, 2017
Air-Sea Battle (Atari 2600) was one of the nine launch titels of the Atari 2600 (earlier known as Atari VCS), Atari's first cartridge based game console system that was released in 1977. Sears also released the game under the title Target Fun. Air-Sea Battle is probably the most colorful of all Atari 2600 launch titles, thanks to the 'blue sky' background. Your mission is to control a cannon on the ground and shoot aircraft (and other objects) out of the sky. There's a single player mode, but most fun can be had in two player mode.
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Combat (Atari 2600) is played by most Atari 2600 owners, since it was a pack-in game with the system. The game is also known as Tank Plus (published by Sears). Nowadays some games only support multiplayer modes and Atari was far ahead of its time, because Combat is two player only! Both players take control of a little tank (or jet) in an attempt to shoot its rival as quickly as possible.
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Indy 500 (Atari 2600) is a racing game that supports a single-player mode, but is also most fun with two players. The game came with a special paddle controller for precise controls. Sears also published the game under the simple title Race.
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Surround (Atari 2600) (which was also published by Sears as Chase) is one of those early takes on the game of Snake, a game that became well-known when Nokia preloaded it on their cell phones in 1998. This Atari 2600 version is decent, especially in two-player mode. The single-player is a bit lacking due to a pretty bad AI though.
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Video Olympics (Atari 2600) is a misleading title, because it does not really feature any sport games. Instead, it's a bundle with numerous variations of Pong, linked to a sport. Think Soccer Pong, Hockey Pong, Volleyball Ping and so on. The games are controlled by the paddle controller and can be played in single or multi-player mode. Once more, most fun in multiplayer.
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Checkmate (Bally Astrocade) was one of the built-in games of the Bally Astrocade. The Bally Astrocade was also a cartridge base game console released in 1977 and a competitor for the Atari 2600. Just like Surround this is one of the first console versions of Snake. The multiplayer can be fun, but once more the computer AI is lacking in single player mode.
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Gun Fight (Bally Astrocade) was the second game that was built-in into the Bally Astrocade, and is a port of Taito's arcade game of 1975. The game is two-player and both players take part as a cowboy that has to shoot his opponent as quickly as possible. For its time it was a pretty impressive arcade port, with a very colorful setting and large animated characters.
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Breakout (Apple II). In 1977 also the first wave of real home computers saw the light of day with the release of the Commodore PET, the Tandy TRS-80 and the Apple II. One of the most famous games of the time is Breakout. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak originally created the game as hardware for Atari, but also wanted to write it in software. But because Wozniak designed Breakout as hardware also a lot of technological features of the hardware went into the Apple II hardware he designed. The game also came on demo cassette for the Apple II in 1977. The game is in color and the playfied is rotated 90 degrees in comparison to the original arcade game due to the horizontal orientation of the Apple II monitor. The paddle is on the left, bricks are on the right. I like the original vertical orientation more, but still a fun game.
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Atari 2600 VCS: released in 1977