Atari 2600 New Discovery -
RealSports Basketball

RealSports Basketball Screen 1
Ok, now this is REALLY getting ridiculous! Here we are, in 1998 (that's over 14 years after the 2600's crash the first time around), and there has been three significant Atari-made 2600 prototypes found in the last six months. Of the three games, RealSports Basketball appears to be the most complete... and arguably the best.

RealSports Basketball Screen 2
Anyone who grew up playing the original VCS Basketball knows what a great game it was. Go ahead and scoff at the crude graphics and simple gameplay all you want; Alan Miller's creation was a successful - if not revolutionary - sports title with its trapezoidal side-view playfield that gave a sense of depth to the otherwise 2-dimensional layout. And in 1979, that was no small feat! But more than that, it was good fun and indicative of the simple yet addicting games that seemed to be the norm among Atari's first generation (and largely unheralded) titles of the time.

RealSports Basketball Screen 3
RealSports Basketball was to be the seventh (and final) title in the "RealSports" series. The others -- Baseball, Football, Volleyball, Tennis, Soccer and Boxing -- were all released and were generally highly regarded among the gaming public. RealSports Basketball was a departure from the original by offering two-on-two action (its predecessor was one player on each side) and a viewing angle that was higher up, allowing for better depth perception. The players are also more detailed and look similar to the human figures found in the other RealSports titles, although they're smaller than the ones found in the original. The action is slightly slower as well, but it gives the game a more realistic feel of Basketball. Control doesn't seem to be as tight as its predecessor, and making baskets isn't as automatic either.

It's a polished effort overall, but in its goal of trying to be more realistic, RealSports Basketball loses some of the high-flying, back-and-forth action that players loved in the original game. This game scores points for presentation and realism (by 2600 standards, of course) but we doubt that it would've had as lasting of an appeal as VCS Basketball, even if it were released.

Title RealSports Basketball (Prototype)
Publisher Atari
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 7
Sound 5
Gameplay 6
Overall 6
Reviewer Keita Iida

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