10. Solaris

    Amazing what a clever programmer can do with a 2600. Then again, this was written by the creator of the original Star Raiders, so what did I expect?
9. Combat
    The dreaded pack-in. Lame in most situations, but a blast at parties (it still is), because you can pass the controls around and take turns. A great example of why "short" games can be a lot of fun.
8. Tower Toppler
    I first saw this game in beta when a version of it was being produced at Epyx for some forgotten platform, and I reviewed a Game Boy port of it called Castelian (I believe). The goal: lead your...what the heck WAS that critter, anyway?...creature, and scale each tower by hopping from platform to platform. Reach the top, and destroy the tower. Enemies abound. Wish I still had it and my 7800...but it would be even more fun using a joypad instead of a stick. Neat rotating tower graphics. A good example of how the 7800 hardware was superior to the NES. Too bad Atari never knew how to get enough games out for it or how to market the thing correctly.
7. Qix
    One of those weird "concept" video games which, sadly, we don't see any more. Clever, frustrating, and a lot of fun. Best played with those neat little guides you'd snap onto the 5200 controllers to ensure the stick could only hit the four cardinal directions. I believe there was an 800 version, but I never saw it.
6. Miner 2049er
(8-bit Computers, 5200/Big Five)
    (I swear I played this on the 5200...if not, so sue me.) I just love this game. An early platformer, and one I wished for some years would see a comeback in the era of more powerful game systems. The sequel was even nastier. I always hated getting too close to one of the radioactive mutants and getting nastily "melted"...the sound would make me jump!
5. Centipede
    Awesome. Forget Missile Command, this was THE reason to own a trackball. Sure, you could use a trackball on the 2600 and home computer versions of the game, but the 5200's analog trackball delivered the best feel and response of them all. My only quibbles was that they didn't even make an attempt to replicate the arcade game's vertical screen dimensions, and that the Fleas stopped dropping after a time, making it possible to thin the mushrooms out too much.
4. Ballblazer
(8-bit Computers/Atari)
    Never got to try the 5200 version (did it actually ever ship?), but I loved the computer version and always wished to have it on my 5200. A programming tour-de-force. Fast, furious, with great music. A must-have two-player game. Sadly, the computer A.I. wasn't as good as it could be. Once I figured out that I could totally block my foe when I had the ball simply by watching his screen and steering right in front of him...ah well!
3. Tempest 2000
    The only Jag game which merits inclusion. Great, great, great. Only a few quibbles: the player should be able to shut off the panning around on the web in any zoom mode, the shattering scores and stuff are just a little TOO distracting, and a few of the webs are waaaay too hard, requiring more luck than skill to conquer. Still, a shining moment in home gaming and a picture-perfect example of how classic games can be upgraded. Too bad Defender 2000 didn't accomplish this same feat.
2. Warlords
    As close to perfection as a multi-player "twitch" game came come. Best played in four-player mode, but, to be fair, trade positions from game to game because a few bugs made a certain castle all too easily destroyed if you lob the fireball just right.
1. Star Raiders
    A classic in more ways than one. Although three versions of this game exist (800/2600/5200...the ST abomination notwithstanding), the 5200 version is hands-down the best. The main reason for this is the 5200's normally annoying controller, which was perfectly suited to this game. The variable turning rate of the analog stick made Starcruiser 7 a hell of a lot easier to control, making it possible to finely home in on a distant target and also to slam hard a starboard to avoid incoming fire. Furthermore, the keypad on the controller made it possible, once you learned how, to thumb controls in the middle of a firefight, without ever looking away from the screen, something next to impossible in other versions. One other minor improvement: the long-range scan is altered so that you can tell asteroids from ships (which could happen on the 800).

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