Thursday, June 26

CDP's Top 30 Atari Games Of All-Time (30-16).


Finally, the first half of the CDP's list of the Top 30 Atari 2600 games of all-time. This is my own personal list based on games that I've been fortunate enough to play over the last 22 years, and by no means is a complete document of well-researched Atari 2600 history. Please enjoy.


30. Air Raid

Air Raid is one of only two games on this list that I haven't actually played. I did, however, feel the need to include it for the sheer rarity and mystery that it conjures. The shape of the cartridge. The fact that it's worth thousands. The artwork on the game itself. This all perfectly represents the nostalgia and wide-eyed wonder of the Atari Age.


29. Star Raiders

Star Raiders utilized a computer keyboard that I didn't have the instructions for in 1986, so for the first year that I owned the game, it was essentially impossible to play. Once I located the manual and keypad directions, it became significantly more fun, as you would imagine.


28. Bobby Is Going Home

Sure, Bobby Is Going Home was a bit of a Pitfall!-style ripoff, but at least they picked a decent game to cannibalize. I played (and enjoyed the hell out of) this game when I was in the 4th Grade; it belonged to an old friend named Dave. Judging by how rare the game appears to be now, I certainly hope he held onto it.


27. Atlantis

Combining elements of Space Invaders and Missile Command, Atlantis is a game that holds up just as well as the afformentioned classics (Just to be sure, I played it again last weekend). The only thing I don't like about it is the generic cover art for the cartridge. It's almost as if they knew it was the generic equivalent to Missile Command, so they packaged it as accordingly.


26. Grand Prix

I hate Grand Prix. Loathe it with the blazing intensity of a thousand suns. A few months ago, I almost broke the game over my knee. Why? Because Grand Prix reminds me that I'm an idiot. With just a tiny bit of memorization and pattern recognition, you can blaze through racetracks like a man possessed. Hell, you could probably train a chimp to play this game better than me. I on the other hand, have yet to get a mere 70-second track devoted to memory. This is, presumably, because I'm an idiot, and Grand Prix sucks for reminding me of that.


25. Haunted House

Without Haunted House, there might not have been a Resident Evil. Seriously. The survival horror genre hadn't been invented before Haunted House forced you to walk through a dark mansion in an attempt to retrieve an urn from the ghost of the former owner. On long-term influence alone, Haunted House deserves recognition.


24. Escape From The Mindmaster

This was the other game on this list that I actually haven't played for myself. I did, however, watch someone play it for hours on end (I didn't own the cassette add-on required to play it), and it was positively groundbreaking and expansive for its time and primitive technology. And while it looks to be nothing more than an early example of that maze Screen Saver that comes pre-loaded in Windows 95, the mini-games and twists were more than enough to keep you interested for weeks.


23. Galaxian

This would be a good time to explain some nuts and bolts that went into this Top 30 countdown. I'm trying to rank my favorite Atari 2600 games of all-time, not 'arcade games in general.' This needs to be taken into consideration when you see that games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Q-Bert have been omitted from the list. The reason being is that while these were timeless and classic arcade games, they more or less sucked a boatload of ass when reformatted for the 2600. Galaxian is a little bit of both; not graphic-intensive enough to suffer when re-packaged, and not memorable enough to sit alongside of multi-format classics like Asteroids and Space Invaders.


22. Yar's Revenge

Much like Star Raiders, Yar's Revenge was not a 'jump right in' sort of game if you were lacking the instruction booklet. However, once you understood the missions at hand, it became a strategy masterpiece for the 2600; perhaps overrated in 2008 but underrated at the time of release. Also, the sound effects for this game were fairly epic, and I just read that in 2005, a sequel was created. Rad.


21. Joust

Joust holds a bittersweet place in my heart for being the final Atari 2600 game that I purchased new as a kid. I think it cost me $35, which is absolutely hilarious to me now that I can find used copies for a quarter at the Video Game X-Change at the East Towne Mall.


20. Adventure

The main thing I want to mention about Adventure is the same thing that everyone likes to mention concerning Adventure. Apart from the fact that it's a groundbreaking-er, adventure game, it's the first instance of an 'easter egg' in a video cartridge. By following a secret area, a hidden screen reveals the name of the game's creator, thus paving the way for disgruntled developers to implant messages into their games for decades to come.


19. Defender

Boy, I loved Defender, but did I suck at it. In fact, this game is constantly referred to as one of the most difficult of all-time. I haven't played it on the 2600 or at an arcade for years, and with good reason. I'm too old to get sodomized so violently by a 30 year old game that I look back upon so fondly. It would sort of like imagining your grandmother in hell.


18. Burgertime

Burgertime was one of those great arcade games that transferred less-than-beautifully onto the 2600, but I still included it because it was still endlessly replayable and just as fun. Also, I'd say that this was a precursor to Tetris in getting my Obsessive-Compulsive disorder on the right track.


17. Tempest

A 3-D vector game with no ending that was created when the main developer had a nightmare about monsters crawling out of holes in the ground to kill him. You know what; I don't even care that the Atari 2600 port of Tempest never got past the prototype stage; this game ruled.


16. Kaboom!

This paddle-based game relied on you catching and defusing bombs with buckets of water. Kaboom! was yet another of the 'catching things before they hit other things' game, but a high score of 3,000 points or more got you access into the Activision 'Bucket Brigade;' an exclusive club that I have yet to be invited into.

The conclusion to the Top 30 will arrive tomorrow and round out the week. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Related Goodness: The CDP's Top 15 NES Games Of All-Time.

BurgerTime and Tempest!! Holy crap...hours and hours of my youth spent on those...::sniffle::
You're telling me!

I'm lucky enough to still have most of the games that made my Top 30 list, and I'm itching to play them again. Especially....that one game that I can't talk about until Friday.
Looks like the CDP is getting a little bogged down this morning, so please be patient if some images and whatnot don't pop up right away. Sankoo.
Sweet! Looks like Fast Food made it into the top 15 :)
I don't know whether to envy or pity the magnitude of you geekiness.
I don't know whether to envy or pity the magnitude of you geekiness.

I envy it.

As I said earlier, I can't participate too much in an Atari discussion, but I can link to some interesting Odyssey2 vs Atari trivia. BTW, KC's Crazy Chase rocked!

Did you get any mixes yesterday? I've been listening to the one I sent out over and over the past couple of weeks and I still think it rocks. If I do say so myself.
BTW, Mike, your mix is currently in the hands of the US postal service and on its way to you! :)

Caveman, hot your mix yesterday but haven't got a chance to listen to it. Looks great...I did, however, eat part of the "bribe." haha.
Well, evenm though my computer is still teetering on the edge of death, I have found a reputable and cheap repair guy. Surprisingly enough, he's a bartender.

I promise to get my mix in the mail ASAP when she's back up and running. For now, using the roommate's system for email and daily CDP goodness.
I suggest that you get a Mac :)
HATHERY - You're going to be seriously disappointed come Friday.

HILBELINK - I'm all about the Nerd Life Word Life, as it were.

HOSS - Got your mix yesterday, along with Cargirl's; Thank you both very much! I plan on listening to all of them once the Trade dies down a little.

JT - Welcome back, man. Good luck getting the computer fixed. The Missus is totally right.
I think I have actually played Galaxian. I want to check out some of the Atari games my husband owns, except he refuses to whip out the Atari until the video game room is finished.
Let me get this straight. You have a video game room, a library and a room where nothing touches the floor.

Is your husband Willy fricking Wonka?
You must have a lot of rooms.
Well...the video game room is in the basement, as is the space with all the shelves. My library is one of the spare bed rooms. It is really not as glamorous as it sounds. (Except for the room where everything is edible.)
I have a room where everything is edible; the KITCHEN!


This sounded so much funnier in my head.
That room would rot very quickly. It's a bad idea overall.
Well, the room is mostly candy, so the big problem is ants.
Don't forget...we also have the bunny room. That is where the bunnies live. I am not even joking about that. They get their own room to run around and poop all over. I think they amuse themselves by pooping as much as they can so they can watch me clean it up and snicker behind my back.
Bunnies are pretty much poop-machines, aren't they?

And I've never played a single one of these games, to the best of my recollection.

Where does Frogger land on the list?

*I counter your WockaWockaWocka with a Bork Bork and a Meep*
MAUS - While I cannot spoil the stunning conclusion to the Countdown, I can assure you that Frogger is somewhere in the Top 15.
I never was much of an Atari girl. My cousin had a few games, but only like Space Invaders and Pong.

Anyway, sorry I didn't catch up with you last night, CDP. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until almost 12.
CDP/HATHERY - Even a mighty Mac would have fallen prey to a power surge.
JT - iMacs give the Power Company surges. They're the Chuck Norris of computers.

CARGIRL - I didn't take you for an Atari girl, especially since they were completely obsolete about two years before you were born. I can assure you that you didn't miss much, and the Nintendo Era was far better.

It's okay you fell asleep. The Slackmistress and Betheboy kept me company while I finished this post.
I loved Kaboom just as much as I hated it. It was addictive. But at the same time, the paddles would react to every little impulse running through your fingers.

I'd stare at the screen, and see the buckets of water twitching on screen. For the longest time, I'd stare at that, and fear I had major neurological problems. Which would make the paddle twitch even more.

It was a vicious cycle I couldn't break ... since I loved Kaboom too much.

BTW, didn't the guy on Kaboom always look like some cross between the crook on the Cookie Crisp cereal box and the Mad Magazine dude?
Kaboom Guy always reminded me of Coooookie Crisp.

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