8-bit gaming forever!
March 25, 2003 10:44 PM   Subscribe

8-bit gaming forever! I've been thinking about the old days lately; back to when I was a young lad sitting in front of our families huge 19 inch TV and spending a good 10 hours or more with my trusty Atari 2600 playing Pong, Combat, Pac Man, and whatnot. I'd say I had a good 50 or more games for my 2600, and I played that thing until it just fried to death, begging for mercy as I whipped the joystick to and fro trying to find the chalice in Adventure.

So imagine my surprise when I head over to ThinkGeek and see a swanky little controller with 10 Atari games harcoded into it. Just, um, "Plug and Play". Heh heh... anyhow, they also have an Activision version as well. I love the idea of one of these. I think it'd be great if it could be upgraded to handle more games as well. I wouldn't mind playing some "E.T., the Extraterrestrial" right about now.
posted by crankydoodle (18 comments total)
What a great idea. But of course the best games for the Atari were two player games such as Air/Sea Battle and (perhaps the greatest game of all time) Combat.

Luckily, it's still fairly easy to find a real Atari if you frequent neighborhood tag sales. I got mine along with about 50 games for $3.
posted by boltman at 11:13 PM on March 25, 2003

On the atariage.com site, you can read reviews of the 10-in-1 unit (and you can buy it from them too).

But all the cool kids forgo the newer units and play the actual 2600 systems. Too bad you missed the recent Annual Atari Championship here in Seattle. (This year it was made part of the Obsolete Media Festival.)
posted by gluechunk at 11:14 PM on March 25, 2003

I have it. S'neat. But that joystick still sucks.
posted by destro at 11:31 PM on March 25, 2003

"salute your roots by playing such classic gaming titles as:

Yar's Revenge
Missile Command
Real Sports Volleyball
CIrcus Atari"

eh?!? what about pacman?? the atari version of pacman has to be the finest port of the game known to humanity. i'd love to have *that* perfectly particularly peculiar maze & speed & omp omp omp sound pop up on my screen right now.

& that joystick; you know i never could figure out those bloody sega & nintendo button pressing things that came along in later years: buttons were & are & (are you listening sony??) alwaaaaaaaays will be retrograde. give me a bloody joystick! ...ah, what a perfect name: 'joy stick': wonder where that came from? some japanese oyaji?? ahhhhh! does anybody know of any flash sites where we can all enjoy this fine atari porting of pacman?? jesus, i wonder if my mum can get up into the attic tonight & find my old atari. would the uk pal thing work on my japanese tv? it bloody wouldn't would it??

my god what have we come to? all this technology, and yet weve lost so much along the way, or is just me who hasn't played pacman in about 10 years??!? erm, well, yes it's just me, it would seem. but why doesn't this thing have pacman?

ahhhh! ataaaaaaaari! i'm off to do some atari googling. but again, does anybody know of any links to a fancy site where we could all joy joy joy! play pac man right this very minute now?

bit long this post isn't it?? sorry.
posted by n o i s e s at 12:19 AM on March 26, 2003

If the cravings get too bad, you can always get emulators for all this stuff. It's too late for me to start googling now, but I seem to remember MAME was the way to go...?

Personally, I find that at this point I enjoy the idea of these games a lot more than the actual games.
posted by muckster at 12:27 AM on March 26, 2003

or you can get emulators for many of the 8 bit classics for the handheld gp32 which does far far more besides.
posted by mopoke at 12:55 AM on March 26, 2003

Wait a sec... people singing the praises of ET, the video game, and the Atari port of Pac-Man? Am I in bizarro-world here?

Actually, I suppose the Atari Pac-Man probably wasn't all that bad, gameplay-wise. But why is our Mr. Pac a brownish roachclip, rather than a yellow circle?

In any case, I've still got my 2600 that I bought, with joysticks and games, for $10 at a Sally Ann. Didn't really play it much after the first couple weeks, most of the games for it are just too primitive for me. Although I could easily get into some C64 games--Paradroid, Elite, or the immortal Jumpman. But I'm sure the official Journey Escape Atari cartridge is of at least pop-culture-historical interest to somebody, even if I, as someone who regards Journey as merely another faceless one-word early 80's corporate rock has-been, am unable to grasp the appeal of twiddling about with a pixillated Steve Perry.
posted by arto at 3:00 AM on March 26, 2003

E.T. for the 2600 has to be one of the worst, most poorly-concieved, hastily produced games ever. I think I won it once, and I was never quite sure what I was doing. You can read a much better explanation of why it sucks here, where it won the coveted #1 spot for "Worst Game of All Time."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:24 AM on March 26, 2003

Oh, and any 10-in-1 Atari unit without Pitfall might as well be a paperweight.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:30 AM on March 26, 2003

I'm thinking of reviving corn husk dolls.
posted by sharksandwich at 6:31 AM on March 26, 2003

I've got the Atari 10-in-1 too. I second destro's comment about the joystick sucking. Sorry, but Centipede and Missle Command were made for trackballs. Pong and Circus Atari were for twisty knobs. Asteroids is pretty fun, tho. As an aside, when mine came in the mail, I noticed the packaging advertised "Play the games your parents enjoyed!" Oh, goodness.
posted by Gilbert at 9:18 AM on March 26, 2003

I bought one too. My brief review has a few pictures of the unit.

I found it fun and the kids still like to play it.
posted by Argyle at 9:22 AM on March 26, 2003

The Activision model has Pitfall.

Also, you can play a retro-flash version here.
posted by O9scar at 10:40 AM on March 26, 2003

n o i s e s reminded me of something: whenever I'm watching a TV show here in the states and a character is playing a generic video game, the sound effects are almost always from the 2600 port of Pac-Man. Does anyone know why this is? Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe I'm just all crazy and stuff...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:48 AM on March 26, 2003

I've played with one... the Atari deal that is. It's ok. One thing I didn't like about it was the inability to rip off the black cover sheath thing on the on the actual stick. We always played with just the inner white plastic joystick.
posted by Witty at 11:13 AM on March 26, 2003

I play them on my Palm with software from these guys.
posted by dobbs at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2003

"We always played with just the inner white plastic joystick."

yes, it's all coming back to me now! and do you know, my mum & dad used to worry so about my eyes: "you'll go blind playing that bloody thing" & "get back, lad! you're too close to the bloody tv."
posted by n o i s e s at 1:35 PM on March 26, 2003

I have Journey Escape and play it occasionally on my vintage 2600. A cheesy Atari-music version of "Don't Stop Believin'" warbles constantly.

Also fun: Fast Food, Burger Time, and Plak Attack.
posted by Vidiot at 7:19 PM on March 26, 2003

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