Memories of Atari 2600

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spanky
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Postby spanky » Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:04 am

this is where i was trained:
Image
made by atari sold by sears.

Cory Schmidt
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Postby Cory Schmidt » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:52 pm

My neighbor had a 2600 when I was growing up. We would play Berserk, Tennis, Defender and Combat (is that right? - the game where you would battle each other as tanks, planes, etc.).


I got a 7800 shortly after and spent more hours playing Xevious, Centipede, Pole Position, Solaris and Commando.


The 7800 is still hooked up at my folk's house. Occasionally when we are visiting over a holiday I will dust it off and play a bit.

Sadly it is never as cool as I remember it being.


Being born in 1976 I was more in the Nintendo generation. I still have a Super NES hooked up a home. I have a sweet cartridge that has the first four Mario Brothers games on it (MB 3 being my favorite). I also have a Tetris/Dr. Mario cartridge that's pretty fly yo!

I remember spending entre nights at sleepovers trying to "conquer" the latest Mega Man game. Good times.

Prof. Wagstaff
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:55 pm

Cory Schmidt wrote:Combat (is that right? - the game where you would battle each other as tanks, planes, etc.)


Yep ... but it couldn't hold a candle to Mattel's Armor Ambush!

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Postby Madcity Expat » Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:19 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Cory Schmidt wrote:Combat (is that right? - the game where you would battle each other as tanks, planes, etc.)


Yep ... but it couldn't hold a candle to Mattel's Armor Ambush!


I freeking loved Combat. It was the standard issue cartrage when I got my 2600.

Cooltapes
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Postby Cooltapes » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:16 pm

Let me know when the Intellevision party is happening.

Bugertime- Triple Action- Lock 'n' Chase- Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

Anyone remember?

Prof. Wagstaff
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:00 pm

Ah, yes ... Intellivision was actually my first love.
In my childhood home, we went straight from Pong (thanks for the pic, Spanky!) to Intellivision (for those of you too young to know, that stands for "Intelligent Television.")

A few years back (when I picked up my first Atari, in fact) I found an Intellivision and guess what? Not so cool now. Sure, it's still the superior machine, but I'm no longer as adept with those damn controller discs as I once was, so the games are less fun and it's a freakin' bear trying to track down those stupid overlay cards, making some guys virtually unplayable without spending an eternity relearning what does what. Essentially, I just don't have the patience to relearn a skill I'd mastered at age 10 and completely forgotten 6 years later (by then, we'd moved up to a Commodore 64.)

Atari, on the other hand, is simple to play, but still a challenge to master.
(And not just 'cuz the stupid joysticks react poorly! Remember: It's always the joystick's fault.)

supaunknown
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Postby supaunknown » Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:35 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Remember: It's always the joystick's fault.

Of course. My old joysticks lived in righteous fear of smashi de frustrato. Modern joysticks are so much better - ergonomic, accurate, and generally long-lasting.

Cooltapes
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Postby Cooltapes » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:51 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Ah, yes ... Intellivision was actually my first love.
In my childhood home, we went straight from Pong (thanks for the pic, Spanky!) to Intellivision (for those of you too young to know, that stands for "Intelligent Television.")

A few years back (when I picked up my first Atari, in fact) I found an Intellivision and guess what? Not so cool now. Sure, it's still the superior machine, but I'm no longer as adept with those damn controller discs as I once was, so the games are less fun and it's a freakin' bear trying to track down those stupid overlay cards, making some guys virtually unplayable without spending an eternity relearning what does what. Essentially, I just don't have the patience to relearn a skill I'd mastered at age 10 and completely forgotten 6 years later (by then, we'd moved up to a Commodore 64.)

Atari, on the other hand, is simple to play, but still a challenge to master.
(And not just 'cuz the stupid joysticks react poorly! Remember: It's always the joystick's fault.)



Were the games really that hard to play? I thought most were just move the guy around with the disk and fire with the side buttons. Simple compared to to-day's controllers which have about 47 buttons and the games which are too complex to deliver the simple satisfaction of action/reaction (they probably do if you're willing to spend 3 hours learning them.) I just remember I think Mortal Combat was where I drew the line because I wasn't really playing it, I was half hitting things at random really fast and was still hanging in there. I got into Mario Cart for a while though. It's possible I'd be bored now with Intellevision games like Astroblast, Popyeye, Beauty and the Beast but probably not because they were too complicated. Tron, however- I had that for like 2 years and never figured out what the hell was going on.

Commodore 64: that was the greatest, in part because I could get games free from my friends, and program simple-yet-almost-fun games from the monthly C-64 magazine (pathetic geek.) I still have all of them, and someday will have another C-64 and 1541 drive. There's a lot those emulators don't have.

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Postby Learned » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:52 pm

And Colecovision was the only way to play Donkey Kong, right?

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:05 pm

Atari Update:

Thanks to dave esmond (thanks, Dave Esmond!) my setup now features the awesome power of the Atari 7800. And thanks to atariage.com, I now have a bright, clear, non-static-filled picture. And you can, too! For those who were asking how to hook up an Atari, throw away that primitive old switchbox and pick up one of these fantastic adapters (or, as I did, since Radio Shack didn't have that particular adapter, just get a male RF to female coax adapter and attach it to a double male coax adapter and voila!, you've got the same exact thing. Just don't listen to the guy at Radio Shack who assures you that it will not work. It will - trust me!) And you needn't take my word for it - minicat, Chuck_Schick and auntgoodness can all attest to the awesome picture quality I have now achieved (and a special shout out to mini for achieving the house high score on Activision's Spider Fighter, perhaps the most insanely fast shoot'em-up I've ever witnessed.)

I've already scored new games at both the east and west side Video Game Exchanges, both of which have pretty massive piles of Atari cartridges, as well as both Pre Played locations. I also did some business with the good folks at Atari2600.com, but does anybody know any other local stores that carry games? (I've already checked St. Vinnie's on the beltline and on Willy St., but to no avail.) I still haven't scored a working River Raid yet!

Cooltapes, re: the Intellivision -
Sure, some of the games have a pretty simple learning curve, but that disc really does require practice and since there were never all that many games to begin with (compared to the well over 500 available for the Atari) it just never seemed worth the time. The Video Game Critic does a pretty good job of explaining the system's shortcomings:
The cartridge slot is located under the right side, and inserting a game requires lifting the console up and pushing fairly hard. The controllers are connected via very short coiled wires that force you to sit right next to the console while playing. The second incarnation of the system resembles a small white box, with a single button serving both the power and reset functions (hold down to power off). Although this version has detachable controllers, for some reason they are noticeably less comfortable to use... The Intellivision controllers are the worst aspect of the system. Instead of a joystick, a 16-direction round pad is situated on the bottom of the controller, and it's hard on your thumb during extended play. Each side of the controller has two buttons that are tight and hard to press. The keypad on the front of the controller allows for sophisticated gameplay, but it's hard to locate a specific button without looking down at the controller. In general, Intellivision controllers are extremely uncomfortable and poorly suited to long play sessions... While the Intellivision was capable of better graphics than the Atari 2600, its games ran noticeably slower and the animation tended to be less smooth... The early games are easy to find and inexpensive, but some of the best titles, released late in the system's lifetime by INTV, can run into some money...

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many of the best Intellivision games were two player ONLY - as was the case for most of their excellent sports titles, and I generally have a pretty hard time rounding up someone who wants to go head-to-head.

Cooltapes
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Postby Cooltapes » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:09 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Atari Update:

Cooltapes, re: the Intellivision -
Sure, some of the games have a pretty simple learning curve, but that disc really does require practice and since there were never all that many games to begin with (compared to the well over 500 available for the Atari) it just never seemed worth the time. The Video Game Critic does a pretty good job of explaining the system's shortcomings:
The cartridge slot is located under the right side, and inserting a game requires lifting the console up and pushing fairly hard. The controllers are connected via very short coiled wires that force you to sit right next to the console while playing. The second incarnation of the system resembles a small white box, with a single button serving both the power and reset functions (hold down to power off). Although this version has detachable controllers, for some reason they are noticeably less comfortable to use... The Intellivision controllers are the worst aspect of the system. Instead of a joystick, a 16-direction round pad is situated on the bottom of the controller, and it's hard on your thumb during extended play. Each side of the controller has two buttons that are tight and hard to press. The keypad on the front of the controller allows for sophisticated gameplay, but it's hard to locate a specific button without looking down at the controller. In general, Intellivision controllers are extremely uncomfortable and poorly suited to long play sessions... While the Intellivision was capable of better graphics than the Atari 2600, its games ran noticeably slower and the animation tended to be less smooth... The early games are easy to find and inexpensive, but some of the best titles, released late in the system's lifetime by INTV, can run into some money...

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many of the best Intellivision games were two player ONLY - as was the case for most of their excellent sports titles, and I generally have a pretty hard time rounding up someone who wants to go head-to-head.


Wow, the Video Game critic is a wuss. He does a better job of explaining his own shortcomings. The disc was hard on my thumb! The buttons were hard to push, and inserting a game requires pushing really hard. I had to sit really close to the TV and it hurt my eyes. It was "exteremely uncomfortable." Too bad he hurt his soft little hands on the brutal Intellevision. Maybe if he ever worked a day in his life instead of getting paid to play video games. I never remember having the sort of problems this guy whines about, for me it was hours of fun. Yes the disc is not as good as a joystick but once you got used to it the gaming was far better than Atari. I don't know what he's talking about about the animation not running as smooth. Atari animation was a sick joke, and there was nothing smooth about it. Like I said, let me know when the Intellevision party is.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:33 pm

Heh. I certainly enjoyed your review of the Critic as much as any of the Critic's reviews. (Interestingly, at least one contributor to Wikipedia agrees with the above assessment, saying that "Fans of the game console recall that an overuse injury was possible when playing for extended periods of time due to the pressure needed to use the keypad and especially the side buttons.")

All I can say is, it wasn't much fun for me the last time I got my hands on one (6-7 years ago, I'd guess.) If all you have is fond memories, I'd suggest you leave it at that and not risk discovering what a pain in the ass those damn controllers really are.

Cooltapes wrote:Atari animation was a sick joke ...

Blasphemy!
Let us not forget that Atari animation was state-of-the-art once! Intellivision was better initially, to be sure, but a) that gap closed by the early '80s until the two were fairly comparable graphics-wise and b) they both paled in comparison to Colecovision and every subsequent system.

All that said, the real reason for preferring Atari to Intellivision these days is the vast difference in size of their game libraries. Intellivision has maybe 125 games. Atari clocks in at well over 500. Quantity counts when the games only hold your interest for 10-20 minutes each.

barney
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Postby barney » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:54 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Atari Update:

(I've already checked St. Vinnie's on the beltline and on Willy St., but to no avail.) I still haven't scored a working River Raid yet!



I've scored most of my harder to find A2600 and NES titles on Ebay. Usually, pretty cheap.

You may also want to post on freecycle. Maybe somebody's mom or ex has some carts in their basement they forgot they had...

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Postby MadMind » Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:09 pm

supaunknown wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:And the 5200 can suck my ass.

If I remember right they had shitty controllers that didn't "stop" when centered, so you were in a state of perpetual motion.

I still have my 5200. The most unreliable controllers in the history of home video game consoles.

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Postby droidsattack » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:41 pm

Ah, the 2600. The mother of all systems. Many of my first memories revolve around that machine. From the victory of beating Activision's high score challenge on River Raid (you took a picture of the TV screen, sent it in and got some kick ass patches to put on your jacket), to my deep dissapointment with their translation of Donkey Kong... and Pac-man, although I must admit I was pacified with it due to my impressionable age at the time of it's release.

I've been saving a special little controller I found for my son once he got old enough to play game systems. He's four now, so it's way past time I bust it out.

I've played pleanty of the games out there. Some of my favorites are Berserk, Keystone Capers, Chopper Command, River Raid, Superman, Spiderman, Combat, Target Fun, Missle Command, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Pitfall, Pitfall 2, Artillery Duel, and Venture.


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