BRUCE BISHOP'S TOP TEN ATARI CONSOLE AND COMPUTER GAMES|
I stumbled across your site while trying to find a place that would
sell "AtariWriter Plus" for the 800XL (know of any?). I like your
layout, and the information contained shows a deep love for what Atari
was which I can fully understand (When I was about 13 I was talking with
an Atari Customer Service lady on the phone, and she asked me which
carts I had for the 2600; I apologized for breaking faith with Atari
after I revealed I had a couple of Activision games. She forgave me!
:). My family was devoted to Atari: We had the Atari SuperPong in
1976, the 2600 in 1979, an Atari console called "Motorcross" with bike
handlebars for controllers in 1981, the 400 in 1982, the 5200 in 1984,
the 800XL 1986, and the 7800 in 1988.
This game was fantastic: you had to find 6 bad guys, protect
Lois Lane, rebuild a bridge, suffer the press hounding you in a
helicoptor, avoid Kryptonite satellites, and the playing field was
enormous! Without cheating, my best time was 1:02, although there
were times that a game would last 30+ minutes if the crooks were
hiding extremely well. And let us never forget that it was this game
that first introduced the concept that is now taken for granted: the
ability to "pause".
9. Street Racer
I haven't seen this one mentioned in other top ten lists,
which I find peculiar. There were an incredible number of games,
different games for up to 4 players, and all around an incredible
amount of fun to be had at 2:16 per match.
8. Space Dungeon
I never saw the arcade version (was there one?), but this
game kept your attention and taught exceptional hands-eye
coordination. The graphics were stunning for its day, the sound blew
you away, and the ever changing floor designs kept you interested.
And damn that thief!
7. Indy 500
Always play it with the difficulty switches on "A" for more
speed and enjoy the fun! No one who played the racing on ice games
will ever forget the joy of sliding around a corner and using your
opponent to bounce you in the direction you want to go while
sending them to a meeting with a wall!
6. Ms. Pac-Man
This game held its own with against the coin-op original,
showed just how much you could get out of the 2600, and demonstrated
why people were so disappointed with the 2600 version of Pac-Man.
This lady even had her beauty mark!
5. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Far superior to Defender, this let you do your best to thwart
the Empire while you knew you were doomed to failure. And when you
had "The Power of the Force" how many of us sung along to the tune?
Smart bombs, being able to be repaired when damaged, and going in for
a kamakazee run... That was when the games were fun!
Sure, the sequels had more to offer, but they also lost your
attention. This game kept you coming back for more -- always trying
to out perform your best while trying to reach the elusive perfect
score of 120,000.
The game confused my brother & father, and then I figured it
out: the ducks were actually dragons, the arrow was your sword, and
the gates of the castles could be opened by packing the key in front
of the square! I found the hallowed "secret dot" as I couldn't
understand why the screen would blink in the Black Castle's catacombs
with only 2 objects. When I found the first easter egg, I called
Atari's 1-800 number, explained what I had found, and asked what the
message meant. The customer service rep asked me to hold the phone
for a minute then came back and said that Warren Robinette was busy
in a meeting but I should try calling back later to talk with him!
That was an awesome touch back when customer service was only a free
phone call away.
2. River Raid
This had everything: strategy, arcade action, and desperation
for fuel. You truly needed another set of eyes to act as navigator in
the upper levels to help you see everything.
1. Star Raiders
The 2600 was a fair port, but the 5200 version actually
improved on the original 400/800 game (it showed why the much hated
analog joysticks were a good idea). Even today this game is awesome
(especially the little touches like being able to blow up your own
While this Top Ten list is supposed to be for carts, I've seen other
lists that had disk-based games listed as well. Here's a couple of
8-bit disk games that should never be forgetten:
(Atari 8-bit Computers/Electronic Arts)
- M.U.L.E. -
I almost regretted buying this game when I first got it, but
endless hours later I understood why it was heralded as such a great
game. The computer opponents were smart, tricky, and they cheated
blatently! Best played as a human with a partner so you could go
into collusion and watch your silicon-based opponents starve. No
game has ever incorporated the need for cooperation as this game, and
you even learn something about economics while you play.
- Star Fleet -
(Atari 8-bit Computers/Interstel)
The best game ever released on any 8-bit computer. Your strategy,
tactics, insight, and luck competing against overwhelming odds,
communication black-outs, cloaked enemy, and enemy spies. Awesome!