Tag Archives: Atari

Asteroids (Arcade & Various Consoles)

Developer(s) – Atari Inc.

Publisher(s) – Atari Inc.

Designer(s) – Lyle Rains & Ed Logg

Rating – N/A

Being one of the standout titles of the second generation of gaming, Asteroids became an instant success, garnishing units sales of over $150,000,000, and $500,000,000 in coin drops at arcades. It is still re-released on many different home consoles to this day and remains a very strong cult classic among fans with an appreciation for their routes, and newer gamers looking to experience the previous generation of gaming. Though I was born during the third generation of gaming, I have recently made more of effort to delve into earlier gaming generations, and so far, Asteroids has been one of my favorite games of the second generation; up there with the likes of Bosconian, Pac-Man and Yars’ Revenge.

Graphics – 6/10

The visuals depend largely on what version of the game one may be playing. The arcade cabinet version of the game was simply black and white, and the home console version had a black background with colored asteroids since home consoles relied heavily on the use of different colors. In this instance, I am going by the home console version, since in my opinion, it’s the superior version of the two. I think that although the game’s sprites pretty basic, the developers did incorporate very effective use of color compared to many other games at the time, I also think they did have the facility to add a little more design to the ship, and they didn’t.

Gameplay – 9/10

The concept of Asteroids is simple; move around the screen shooting as many asteroids as possible before losing all lives. The more asteroids destroyed, the higher the player’s score. Insanely addictive and enjoyable to play, Asteroids embodies the pinnacle of what a great video game could have ever expected to be at the time, and still largely holds up to this day, in my opinion.

Controls – 10/10

There are no issues with the controls whatsoever. How well the game plays out depends entirely on player’s skill and attention to what is going on in the game, which was fairly difficult to do at the time, since I have found some issues concerning things like hit detection and general movement in a fair few games of the era.

Originality – 7/10

There were many different shooting games around at the time, and even more, games revolving around racking up the highest score possible. But very few games were laid out as this one was, or as addictive or engrossing as this.

Happii

Happii

In Summation, Asteroids to me is a timeless classic; a shining example of exceptional video game design during the late 70s and early 80s. Truly, a wonderful and immersing early gaming experience.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Adventure (Atari 2600)

Developer – Atari Inc.

Publisher – Atari Inc.

Designer – Warren Robinett

Rating – N/A

Developed in 1979 by Atari and Warren Robinett, Adventure provided the catalyst needed for developers to create some of the greatest video game series ever made, including the Legend of Zelda and The Elder Scrolls. However, regardless of how much influence it has had on modern developers, I did not get any enjoyment or satisfaction out of playing it. Perhaps I’m being biased, since this game was before my time and I was introduced to the medium when there were much higher standards in place, but I found flaws that I believe could have been addressed at the time and they weren’t.

Graphics – 3/10

There is some small basis in visual diversity, as most areas in the game are colour-coded, which was commonplace for home consoles of the day. But my biggest grip with how the game looks is in the main character, which is simply a square. I’ve always thought that if the developers could get the dragon sprites to look vaguely like dragons, then they could have gotten the player character, who was presumably a human, to look even vaguely like a human. I realize that imagination played a much more significant role in gaming due to the technological limits of the day, but this is ridiculous. Games like Berserk and pitfall had much better looking character sprites than this. An interesting thing about the visuals in the game, however, is that there is one of the first examples of a video game Easter egg included; a border in the black castle stage saying “Created by Warren Robinett”. This was a particularly risky thing to do, since at the time, Atari didn’t credit developers with the making of their games, but Robinett left Atari before they were able to discover it.

Gameplay – 2/10

Even for the time, I found this game to be far too dull and unimaginative to be enjoyable. The combat system is extremely primitive, and I also found a good number of game-breaking glitches whilst playing. Keys must be collected in order to unlock each area of the game, but it is possible for keys to accidentally merge into walls, and the player will not be able to retrieve them again, making the game unplayable upon this happening.

Controls – 6/10

Though the controls scheme is simple enough to grasp, the main button the Atari 2600 is made to be completely redundant, since it has the same effect on an item as what would happen if the player were to simply come in contact with it using the directional stick. To me, it doesn’t bode at all well that the developers couldn’t find an alternative use for the main button in a game, whereby there were plenty of options open to them, even for the time; its especially daunting, since the button was used in many other games at the time to attack, and this game’s combat system is largely unrefined.

Originality – 7/10

Despite the fact that game is extremely unimaginative and boring to play, it is still owed respect to any fan of modern open-world adventure gaming, since it has inspired the creation of so many classics over the years. Without Adventure, there would be no Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, or Shadow of the Colossus. Though I did not enjoy this game in the slightest, I can at least express appreciation for what would be released in the future as a result.

Angrii

Angrii

In summary, though the likes of Legend of Zelda were born from the ashes of Adventure, I did not enjoy playing this early Atari 2600 game at all. It was Ed Koch who once stated “in action, be primitive; in foresight, a strategist”, and to me, that sums up the approach that Warren Robinett took towards developing it.

Score

18/40

4.5/10 (Mediocre)