Retro Game Guy

It's the 1980's again!


1 Comment

Atari 7800 missing classics…

The Atari 7800 was planned for release in 1984, but was not actually released until 1986.  By then Atari had lost the momentum to Nintendo and only about sixty games were originally released for the Pro System.  Also, many third party publishers moved on and developed games for the NES.   In the past decade, an active homebrew community has developed and released more than twenty additional games for the 7800, but there are still a lot of holes in the 7800 library.  I think it is interesting to consider the games that should have been developed for the 7800.  Here are my top ten missing classics for the 7800:

Battlezone-Atari made a great version of this game for the  2600 and Activision developed a similar game (Robot Tank) for the 2600 as well.  It would have been awesome to see a simulated vector graphics version developed for the 7800, but a version in the style of either of the 2600 games would have been fine as well.

Defender-Atari made awesome versions of this game for both the 2600 and the 5200.  In fact, the also made Stargate (or Defender II) for the 2600 as well.  Bob DeCrescenzo hacked Defender II to make an almost perfect version of Defender for the 2600 (Defender Arcade) and the Atari 5200 version is widely respected as one of the best games made for the Super System.  Seriously Atari…what were you thinking…where is Defender for the 7800?  At least we can play Bob’s great 2600 game on our 7800’s!

Galaxian-Atari made Galaga for the 7800, so I guess they figured that they didn’t need to make Galaxian as well.  The 2600 version has been hacked and updated into a pretty good game and we can play that version, but it would have been nice to have an official Galaxian for the 7800.

Kangaroo-Atari developed great versions of Kangaroo for both the 2600 and the 5200.  In fact, the 5200 version is almost arcade perfect.  Kangaroo is clearly inspired by Donkey Kong and, maybe since Atari was able to produce Donkey Kong for the 7800, they felt that they didn’t need to develop Kangaroo as well?  Too bad as the 7800 would rock this game!

Millipede-the 7800 version of Centipede is pretty awesome and is a blast to play in the two player cooperative mode.  Millipede is an Atari classic and it is surprising that they never developed a version for the Pro System.  The 7800 was designed to be able to display up to one hundred objects without flicker…Millipede would have been a showcase game for the Pro System.

Missile Command– Given that General Computer Corporation developed the 7800 and they got their start as a company by making upgrade kits for the Missile Command Arcade units, this is one of the most stunning omissions from the 7800 library.  You can certainly play the 2600 version on your 7800, but imagine updated graphics and all three missile bases!

Pitfall-Activision developed two games for the 7800 (Double Dragon & Rampage), but never updated their 2600 classic.  It would be cool to see what could have been done with the 7800’s improved graphic capabilities.  David Crane, we know you are still out there…show us 7800 fans some love…return to your roots and give us an updated version of Pitfall for the Pro System!

Star Raiders-this was an awesome game on both the 2600 and 5200 consoles.  Atari, already had the keypad for the 2600 version which could have been reused for a 7800 version.  A 7800 version of this game would be a blast and could have been a big seller for Atari.

Tempest-it took thirty years, but Tempest was finally completed for the 5200.  One homebrew developer started on a 7800 version, but never completed it.  With the ability to add Pokey chips to the 7800 cartridges, it should have been possible to develop a near arcade perfect port for the Pro System!

Zaxxon-back in the day, I was jealous of Colecovision owners as they had great home versions of both Donkey Kong and Zaxxon.  Atari develop a similar game for the 7800, called Desert Falcon, that is actually pretty good, but not Zaxxon.  Zaxxon is a true ‘80’s arcade classic that should have found its way to the Pro System!

Honorable mention…

One game that I would have included in my top ten would have been Frogger…who played video games in the ‘80’s and didn’t play Frogger?  Up until now, 7800 owners have had to be content playing the Parker Brothers 2600 version of the game.  Fortunately, a near arcade perfect version of Frogger (called Froggie) has recently been developed for the 7800 and should be released later this year.

Froggie 7800

As for the rest of my list…any of you 7800 homebrew developers reading my blog?

Follow me on twitter @Atarigameguy

Advertisements


Leave a comment

My top Homebrews and Hacks for the Atari 2600…

I thought that this was going to be easier than it turned out to be, but there are so many great homebrews and hacks for the 2600.  I am sure that I have missed some great games, but here is my current list…

Berzerk VE–  An extensive hack of Berzerk to improve some of the graphics and add voice similar to the arcade.  It is a blast to start this game and hear “intruder alert!”.  Mike Mika did a masterful job in taking a great game and making it even better!

Chetiry– An original game just released for the 2600.  Finally, there is a Tetris like game for Atari!  This game takes advantage of a special edition of the Melody board.   Chris Walton, Zach Matley, Nathan Scrum, and Fred Quimby teamed up for a really cool game with outstanding graphics, music, and, believe it or not, high score keeping.  Don’t miss this one!

Defender Arcade– An extensive hack of Stargate to create the version of defender that Atari should have done from the outset.  This game is so good that you will forget that you are playing it on a 2600.   Another must have from Bob ‘PacManPlus’ DeCrescenzo.  Grab a friend to manage the special features controlled by the second joystick!

Juno First– An awesome game by Chris Walton.  Juno First pushes the limits of the 2600 and has awesome graphics and outstanding gameplay.  Not an easy game, but a blast to play.  If you like space shooters, this is another must have for your 2600 collection!

Galaxian Arcade–  An extensive hack of Galaxian to improve the graphics and eliminate the crazy yellow borders.  Jess Ragan did a nice job of making a good game into a great game.  I really enjoy playing Galaxian Arcade for the 2600!

Medieval  Mayhem–  If you like Warlords, you are going to love Medieval Mayhem.  This game by Darrell Spice Jr. features a great graphics, great sound, and menu selection for game options.  All you need to do is watch the start of this game and you will know that it is something special!

Pac-man Arcade– Rob Kudla did an extensive hack of Ms. Pac-man to create a much improved version of Pac-man for the 2600.  Rob’s version is what Atari should have been able to release for the 2600 and should not be missed.  If you are a Pac-man fan, you might also want to try the new Pac-man 4K.  I haven’t played 4K yet, but it looks to be even better than Arcade.

Space Invaders Arcade– Rob Kudla is back at it with a hack of Space Invaders to make the already good 2600 version even better.  Rob improved the sound, colors, and graphics to make this version closer to the real deal.  If you like Space Invaders, give Rob’s version a try…you will not be disappointed!

Seawolf– Similar to the arcade game with the same name, Seawolf is a blast to play.  The game play is simple, but it is so much fun.  Manuel Rotschkar did an awesome job with the graphics and game play.  This game belongs in every 2600 collection!

Thrust+ PE– Considered by many to be the best homebrew for the 2600, this is the latest version of Thomas Jentzsch’s masterpiece of programming.  Thrust has been updated to be able to use a variety of controllers.  Thrust features great game play and graphics.  It is not an easy game, but it will keep you coming back for more!

And here is a bonus game that will be released soon…

Space Rocks–  An awesome new game from Darrell Spice Jr.  The best way to describe this game is Asteroids Deluxe for the 2600.  Space Rocks takes full advantage of the ARM CPU and memory on the Melody board to create one of the most advanced games ever for the 2600.  Be sure to keep an eye out at AtariAge for the release of this awesome new game!

Of all of these great games, I really have to call out Chetiry and Space Rocks as they push the 2600 in ways that could not have been imagined until now.  They both take advantage of the capabilities of the Melody board, in different ways, to produce games that would have been impossible just a couple of years ago.

Check out all of these great homebrews and hacks at AtariAge as well as many others!