As I mentioned, I’ve been making videos on classic games for each platform for each year. I decided to start with 1977 as the launch year of the Atari VCS, even though it’s not really one of my own gaming memories – while I had a 2600 as a kid, these games came out the year before I was born.
The first things that strikes me is the lack of color. But don’t let that fool you – with a lot of these games, the color was part of the screen overlay and not the digital display.
The games are otherwise as simple as you’d expect, mechanically speaking. There’s usually one primary control scheme that serves as the focus of each game – something admirable, really, though implementation varies quite a bit.
Depth Charge and Destroyer are the most complex games, and the ones I found the most fun.
Now these games I was more familiar with. By the time I was old enough to understand even simple games, it was the mid-eighties and you could find most of these at garage sales for under a dollar… I remember the Atari 2600 – what the VCS was called after 1982 – being sold in stores for $25.
They were old even then, though – it wasn’t too long before the next generation games were coming. Air Sea Battle and Combat were the ones I recall best, though the others feel familiar enough that I’m sure I played them at least once or twice.
I find it difficult to really call any of these games a favorite, though if I had to I’d probably say “one of the games that can be played single-player.” Many of them can’t be, which is unsurprising but a consideration that doesn’t really have as much weight in 2019. Made them difficult to evaluate solo, which is the whole point of the Classic Games video series – content I can produce on my lonesome.