Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Coleco Venture -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewColeco Venture for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Venture
Manufacturer: Coleco
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1982
Part #: ?
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Coleco Venture Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Coleco Venture Screenshot:
Coleco Venture for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

I never Played Venture in the arcades since I was much more of a FPS space-battle sort of player, but I loved the home version. Even Dragon's Lair didin't entice me although I later became an ardent laser-disc fan before DVD came along and ruined it. So, anyway... The arcade controls for Venture are identical to the 2600 - a joystick and fire button.

Currently, I'm embarrassed to admit how much fun I had with Coleco's home version of Venture for the Atari 2600. It wasn't a challenging game, nor difficult. It was actually pretty lame, but I think the allure was the idea of traveling from room-to-room and having each one fill the screen upon entry. Yeah, I'm as lame as this game :)

For unknown reasons I did like Atari's Adventure, despite a general hatred of RPG-ish titles. When I found Coleco's Venture, I assumed it would be of the same ilk and I'd dig it. Well, I did dig it, but it sucked ass by comparison. there were times when I'd have bought anything that was compatible with my beloved Atari 2600.

Venture's Story Arc

In the 4-room maze you are a dot (a pixel). You're dot's name is Winky and he's deep inside a dungeon trying to collect treasure without being overpowered by monsters. All good dungeons have monsters, right? Winky becomes a smiley-face when you enter a room and it fills the screen. Armed with a bow & Arrow, you can shoot the monsters in the rooms, but avoid contact - even with the dead ones - or lose a life.

Holy shit! Check this out...
The 1981 Venture arcade game by Exidy was ported to home consoles, including the Atari 2600, ColecoVision and Intellivision.
Exidy was one of the largest creators of arcade video games during the early period of video games, from 1974 until at least 1986. The name "Exidy" was a conjunction of the words "Excellence in Dynamics."

You begin by wandering the hallways as the erratic Hall Monsters close in. Actually, I'm not sure if they "close in" as much as scurry around in some sort of pattern. Drinking less prior to game-play should reveal the answer. Prior to entring a room, Winky can't shoot the Hall Monsters. His only option is to avoid them.

Inside each room your bow & arrow (coincidentally, represented by a dot) aims in the direction you're traveling. Shooting a monster kills him, but his carcass lingers and is deadly upon contact and oddly you can't shoot through a fallen monster. Anyone who sports a bow & arrow naturally wants to put it in full-auto mode and waste everything in sight, but shooting monsters before securing the treasure results in no points. Winky's high score rests in the ability to dodge the monsters until the treasure is scooped up. Once you get the treasure and leave a room, you can not go back into that room.

Venture's Difficulty Switch Settings

The four "A" and "B" combos give you 4 skill levels to choose from. They range from bordom to idiotic, but each one will push the challenge a bit farther.

Venture's Monsters

Hall Monsters exist in the "map view" of each of the 4 room scenarios and can't be shot at - which means they won't go away or die either. Monsters inside the rooms are fair game and should be shot after snagging the treasure (more points, remember?). Hanging out or chilling in a room will only attract more despair. If Winky stops to wonder why this game lacks any sort of real detail, a vicious Hall Monster will appear and head straight for Winky. Like Evil Otto, this monster can't be killed - RUN!!

In the Wall Room, electrified moving walls will try to do you in, but the path through them is ridiculously simple. this is where adding beer can make the challenge more interesting than fidgeting with the Difficulty Switches.

Once you have cleared treasure from the 4 rooms, you'll be presented with 4 more rooms. After this the scenario repeats with the 2 sets of 4 rooms. This game would be much more tolerable if there were more rooms.

Venture Hacks and Enhancements

Venture II hack for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Venture II was created by Tim Snider as a sequel to the classic game Venture. He added more wall and stashed treasure in more remote areas that makes you scramble to avoid the final Monster who rages right at you. Additionally, he changed the monsters which gives a nice face-lift to the Venture concept.


Venture 3 hack for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Batari's hack of Venture looks much like the original until you clear the 2nd lvel and discover that he has restored the missing 3rd level! Yay!


Wolfenstein Venture-hack for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Graphically similar to Wolfenstein, this is actually a hack of Venture. The underlaying concept of Venture has been altered to bring a uniquely new feel to what was Coleco's Venture.


I still can't explain why I liked this game so much as a kid or why it still makes me smile when I play it. Make no mistake - it's not a very good game and I wonder how well the arcade version fared quarter-wise. In fact, 2600 Venture sucks ass - but if you're into a giddy treasure-fest with smiling Winky, load this baby up and keep a stocked cooler nearby.

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

Atari Venture

never captured my interest in arcades, but I did like this game a lot on the 2600. The problem is it sucks ass. I can't explain why I liked this game so much. Considering all the available hacks, I guess I'm not the only one who liked it, but its an acquired taste.

Read about our Spaceship video game review rating system

« Return to Retro Video Game Reviews


Friends of 8-Bit Central Retro Gaming

Old School Junkie Australian Retro Gamer Retro Games Collector Retro Yak Lets Play with A3D Commodore Is Awesome DigiSpun Gamewise

More info about our Retro Gaming Friends & Link Exchange programs »


Printed: