Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Activision's Skiing -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewActivision's Skiing for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Skiing
Manufacturer: Activision
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1980
Part #: AG-005
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Activision's Skiing Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Activision's Skiing Screenshot:
Activision's Skiing for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

I've never been a fan of the sports genre in video games. Coincidentally, I've never considered Activision's Skiing to be a sports game. I think I'm bending reality to suit my selfish needs.

Skiing is one of those games that is as simple as it looks, but is a lot of fun to play. You can run the gates in slalom mode or simply glide down the hill at your leisure. You are also free to shoot straight down like a bat outta hell. That's the fun of this game! The only things you can't do is ski up hill or run over trees.

This single-player game won't win any graphics awards, but it runs very smoothly - even at high speed with trees, gates and moguls in the mix. The only sounds are the swish as you carve a turn. Again - no awards here, but it serves the purpose.

There are 10 variations of Skiing split up into equal number of slalom and downhill slopes. Within each group there are novice, intermediate and expert options. 4 of the slalom and 4 of the downhill courses are fixed, meaning all the gates, trees, etc are in the same place each time you play. There is however one run in each group that is random each time you play. It's an expert level, but it's the most fun you can have on this virtual mountain.

Holy shit! Check this out...
Activisions's Skiing for the Atari 2600 was promoted via a TV ad at the time of its release. The 30-second spot featured a
guy play the game including crashing into a few obstacles. Skiing was made available on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Windows-based PCs in June 2010.

Activision's Skiing - Slalom

On the slalom course your goal is to navigate your skier through all the gates in the fastest time possible. The Fire Button acts as the Reset switch, so don't push it unless you want to start over!. You only need to steer your skier through the gates with the joystick.

For a tougher challenge, set the Difficulty Switch to "A". This will cause trees to appear in your path rather than being off to the sides. Missing a gate or falling will cost you time. At the finish, your elapsed time and missed gates will show at the top of the screen.

Activision's Skiing - Downhill

8 positions of the Activision skiier sprite

The object of the downhill race is to reach the bottom of the mountain as fast as possible. Choose the straightest path to maintain the highest speed. In Downhill you will encounter moguls which you will jump over automatically if the Difficulty switch is set to "B". If you switch it to "A" you must jump over moguls using the Fire Button.

Additionally, with the Difficulty Switch set to "B" you will stay on the trail and will reach the edge of the screen. In the "A" position, you can traverse the mountain to either side and even ski around it. Be careful - don't get lost.

Typical of many Activision titles was the notion that the programmer should be recognized for his/her efforts. This wasn't the standard treatment for programmers of this early era. The last page of the manual features Bob WhiteHead who designed Skiing among other titles. He shares a few tips and tricks.

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Activision's Skiing

cam be a relaxing ride to the bottom, a break-neck race against time or a skillful slalom run. Jump over moguls, avoid trees and try not to lose too much speed getting to each gate. This is a simple relaxing game that has just the right settings to make it manic!

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