Home Retro Gaming Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Review

Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Review

Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Review


Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration



  • Wonderful presentation all through
  • Handy save states for all featured video games
  • Unlockable titles will attraction to achievement hunters


  • The historical past may go a little bit deeper in locations
  • Not all arcade video games translate nicely to analogue sticks

Join us as we rejoice 50 years of Atari and dive into the official Retro Dodo Atari 50 evaluate!

Retro-game compilations are two a penny on up to date consoles and residential computer systems, however sometimes an distinctive instance breaks freed from the slew of throwback sights and sounds to symbolize a should for gamers younger and previous. 

Atari 50: The Anniversary Collection is one such launch, its makers at Digital Eclipse not content material with assembling a set of Atari video games from the enduring gaming model’s earliest arcade success with Pong via to 6 all-new productions, as an alternative arranging this set’s contents as a totally interactive museum full of new interviews, design sketches and promotional artwork, insightful quotes and far more. 

Players can dive straight into any of Atari 50’s 98 ready-to-go video games – 5 unlockable titles take the overall right here to 103.

But the inspired strategy is to start in the beginning and comply with a timeline from the corporate’s earliest days (full with some fascinating footage of Pong machines in manufacturing and Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell talking concerning the potential for these digital playthings to change into a dominant leisure medium) via to the Jaguar console and a light-weight sprinkling of extra up to date data on the model.

This 21st century content material, highlighting the current VCS console and the 2600 homebrew scene alongside some reflective feedback from Bushnell and Ready Player One writer Ernest Cline, is unlikely to be a big draw for a lot of although.

And it’s no shock that the overwhelming majority of playable points of interest are drawn from the Seventies and ‘80s. 

But what video games are included within the compendium, and the way do they match into a contemporary world? Let’s kickstart this official Atari 50 evaluate and discover out!

Atari 50 Review: An Interactive Museum Well Worth The Entry Fee

Pong is the primary playable title – not the primary online game ever made after all, however the recreation with which Atari made its title.

It’s additionally the sport that actually underpinned the corporate’s coin-op success to comply with within the ‘70s.

“The game that launched an industry,” is Atari 50’s abstract of this iconic bat-and-ball ‘em up, a recreation so easy that it was playable with only one hand (leaving the opposite free to carry your pint or cigarette), and a recreation that was solely made as a check run for one thing greater by Atari engineer Al Alcorn.

Little did he know at Pong’s second of creation what he’d birthed. But beside the choice to play the sport is the legendary story of the Andy Capp’s-installed Pong cupboard that was reported damaged solely to be discovered over-stuffed with quarters by Alcorn himself, as advised by Alcorn himself, thus proving that this was a machine with large attraction.

Soon after Al come extra massively essential figures not solely in Atari’s story, however that of video gaming’s evolution, all featured in new interview materials.

Eugene Jarvis, as soon as of Atari’s pinball division however higher identified for creating DefenderRobotron 2084 and Smash TV at Williams, recounts how Atari would distribute marijuana by way of manilla envelopes, and the way somebody was virtually employed there because the in-house vendor.

Tim Schafer, of LucasArts and Double Fine fame, talks positively concerning the handheld Lynx console; and engineer Jerry Jessop is much less variety about Atari’s follow-up to its breakthrough VCS/2600 house console, the bloated and poorly manufactured 5200, calling it “a tragedy” and “a good idea gone horribly wrong”.

Initial Reactions

What’s refreshing about this type of take is that it’s indicative of a wider tone throughout Atari 50’s array of interviewees and written snippets. The tough is recounted together with the graceful, which it needs to be given Atari’s industrial collapse within the Nineties.

But it wasn’t a certainty given that is foremost a celebration of what that title has meant to gaming, and tens of millions of gamers worldwide.

If there’s a disappointment to be levelled on the on-camera anecdotes and archive imagery, it’s that that is all pretty Atari 101 stuff.

Which is ok, and anticipated – it’s largely a floor retelling of tales you may already know, delivered by a starry solid that this assortment’s makers needs to be pleased with assembling.

Very Netflix’s ‘My First Retro Game Show’ type of vibes.

But there are omissions that actually do deserve a point out, resembling how the Lynx was the Epyx Handy earlier than Atari purchased it and slapped its personal branding on the hand held system, a full-colour different to Nintendo’s Game Boy and SEGA’s Game Gear within the late Eighties and early Nineties.

The twin 32-bit chips contained in the Jaguar, Tom and Jerry, are given a quick highlight however with none additional context on how their presence allowed Atari to market the console as a 64-bit system.

There’s no point out in anyway of the cancelled Panther {hardware}, a platform developed alongside the Jaguar till it was , regardless of there being house afforded to different deserted tasks just like the Jaguar’s VR headset and the Cosmos, a mains-powered handheld console supposed for launch within the early Eighties.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

But to dwell upon what isn’t right here is probably unfair given the unbelievable bounty of what is. Because the great things comes fast, and it simply retains on coming.

Starting with the never-before-seen, anybody who performed a Swordquest title within the early Eighties might be over the moon that Digital Eclipse have discovered a strategy to end off the journey sequence, as Swordquest: Airworld is without doubt one of the six new video games on present right here.

Amongst the opposite recent delights is Haunted Houses, a modernised tackle the 2600’s Haunted House which is able to delivering an honest bounce scare (search for a classroom on the tutorial stage, because it’ll unlock a type of hidden video games); Neo Breakout, a time-bending blast of block-busting goodness; and VCTR-SCTR, which remixes AsteroidsLunar Lander and Tempest right into a testing mixture of precision capturing and even-more demanding descending. 

Quadratank (primarily based on Tank) and Yar’s Revenge Reimagined make up the sextet of fantastically realised trendy revivals. 

The anticipated arcade classics line up as you’d count on them to: after Pong there’s BreakoutAsteroidsMissile CommandCentipede. Then there’s the distinctive Quantum (a brand new favorite for me with its looping traces and trapped stars), Crystal Castles with Bentley Bear leaping concerning the place (lengthy earlier than he slipped into the driving force’s seat for Atari Karts on the Jaguar – which exhibits up later), the polygonal pioneer of I, RobotCloak and DaggerFood Fight and extra.

Every recreation comes full with a single save state, display and filter choices, border choice, and a flyer to stare upon when not taking part in,

And this save performance continues over to the console and residential pc titles too, though there’s no rewind possibility in any respect, a function that’s pretty ubiquitous throughout different retro collections. 

Introducing the Atari 2600

After this race via Atari’s arcade highs, 50 shifts from going outdoors to take pleasure in its wares to staying in with the VCS – later rebranded the 2600.

Howard Scott Warshaw, programmer of Yar’s Revenge, calls the console “the thing that made video games a worldwide phenomenon,”.

And he’s not flawed – this machine, throughout its numerous fashions, offered in extra of 30 million items from 1977 via to its early Nineties discontinuation.

That determine ranks it increased than the GameDice, the unique Xbox, SEGA’s Master System, Saturn and Dreamcast within the all-time highest-selling consoles chart.

Its rivals within the late Seventies and early ‘80s, the likes of the Intellivision and Colecovision, couldn’t get close to the VCS commercially, even whereas providing gamers superior {hardware}.

The greatest Atari 2600 video games right here embody Combat, the landmark fantasy of AdventureRealSports Soccer and Tennis, and conversions of Atari’s arcade hits like Crystal CastlesMissile Command and Asteroids.

Enter the Atari 5200, 7200, Lynx, and Jaguar

Only 5 video games for the 5200 are playable on Atari 50, seven from the greatest ATARI 7800 video games, and 5 from the Lynx. That’s slim pickings certainly, however maybe comprehensible on condition that Atari was far much less of a pressure when that final two of those programs had been out there, overshadowed by the may of SEGA and Nintendo.

The 8-bit Atari 800 pc and its accompanying XE console are represented by 4 previous video games, together with the downward-scrolling shooter Caverns of Mars, in addition to the 2007-made ‘tunnel jumper’ Yoomp!, illustrative of how these platforms had been playgrounds for designers lengthy after their retail availability.

Nine Jaguar video games make the minimize, together with three of the console’s 4 launch video games: the 3D shooter Cybermorph (supposedly a carry-over from the cancelled Panther), Evolution: Dino Dudes (aka The Humans, a Lemmings-like puzzler), and the sideways-scrolling shooter Trevor McFur within the Crescent Galaxy.

Only Cybermorph actually seems like a recreation for a then-next-gen system, and the Jaguar quickly discovered itself house to various 16-bit ports that didn’t benefit from these Tom and Jerry innards.

Digital Eclipse’s Attention to element is impeccable on a set that includes previous favourites and all-new remixes

For its large variety of playable video games and total presentation, Atari 50 units a brand new excessive normal for this sort of assortment.

Digital Eclipse had already set a excessive bar with The Cowabunga Collection earlier in 2022, Compiling previous Konami-made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video games alongside a raft of extras.

But this launch completely goes the additional dozen miles or so. Granted there are so-called killer apps lacking, however the licensed likes of Pac-Man for the 2600 (a foul model, however a notable one nonetheless) and the Jaguar’s Alien vs Predator had been at all times unlikely to flee the pink tape and present up right here.

The extra you discover – watch, learn and play – the upper your completion share goes up in Atari 50 – and sure, there’s a reward for hitting 100%.

So dig in, take pleasure in, despair, snort, and take into consideration how gaming at the moment is likely to be had Atari not been a significant early participant. As whereas it’s one factor to get your video video games historical past from YouTube and Wikipedia, taking part in it’s so significantly better, and Atari 50 needs to be a obligatory expertise for anybody trying again at this medium’s formative and foundational years.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch with code supplied by the writer.



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