I’m going to try to work on cleaning out my drafts folder in the new year, so here’s a list that I started a while back of nine Atari 2600 games that I remember fondly
Desert Falcon: While it didn’t look as good as the 7800 version, obviously, it was kind of impressive that the 2600 could pull off a diagonal shooter like this. It was one of the late-era 2600 games and a lot of fun.
Superman: This was SUCH a confusing game, especially for kids, but I remember watching my babysitter play it and be impressed with all of the different features that the game designers tried to cram into this title.
Spider-Man: Basic, sure, but Spider-Man actually delivered on the core concept of wall-climbing and web-shooting. A little imagination behind it, and it was a fun distraction.
E.T.: Everyone loves to dump on this game in the modern era, but I have a different perspective. First of all, it’s not like we could just return games or buy new ones; getting a new Atari game back in the early 1980s was a big deal, and so we played the heck out of whatever it was. And I actually liked the complex gameplay. Pulling off a successful run in this game felt like a good achievement.
Megamania: I won’t lie — I played this to totally pretend I was piloting the Enterprise. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. And it was a far better Space Invaders-style game than Space Invaders.
Tennis: Activision had ALL the good games on this system, I swear. Even Tennis was kind of addicting, and a good two-player game with great controls. I played my mom in this all the time.
Defender: One of the best things about the 2600 was that many of its games let you slip into this zen-like state of just playing without thinking about it too much. Defender was like that, and I spent many afternoons shooting aliens and rescuing falling people before they went splat.
Astroblast: A halfway decent shooter that had a wide range of colorful and bizarre shapes to blast.
Chopper Command: Who didn’t love that sunset? Oh, and those tight controls and highly engaging gameplay as you piloted the most lethal choppa in the world?